Happy Friday! I bet this Friday is a serious TGIF for most of you. The full week back at work after the holidays is a definite doozy, but you’re nearly there! Here’s a high five for ya!
So, today I’m wrapping up the erasing negativity theme with a post about something I’m very, well, passionate about: Getting passionate!
For years, I’ve been hearing people say to me, “Erin, just do something you’re passionate about.”
Or, asking me “What are your passions?”
How easy is it for you to answer that question? And if you can answer that question, how long did it take you to do — or at least know — what your passions are?
It’s really a tough question for so many people to answer.
When I was in high school, I had a good group of friends and I can’t say that I had an unsatisfactory childhood by any means. As a part of a minority, I came from a family with both parents still married and living together under the same roof. I wasn’t in any AP classes, had mediocre grades, and I pretty much gave up on everything I was the slightest bit good at because I had next to no confidence.
In fact, I once let a girl claim she won a tennis match against me that determined which one of us would make the varsity team because she basically convinced me that it was more important for her to be on that team than me. Even though I could have cleaned the ground with her ability wise (and she knew it), I agreed to let her take the victory, without even trying.
To be honest, that exchange became a very normal dynamic in my life for nearly two decades after it happened.
Somewhere along the way, I started to write a story about myself that could have easily been titled, “I don’t think I’m good enough, so neither should you.” Not thinking I was “good enough” became such a versatile mantra as it could talk me out of just about anything.
Even though I loved and excelled at being an athlete, I quit every sport I was involved in because I felt I didn’t belong on the team. As a result, I started to gain weight and not apply myself in other areas of my life.
I think that was when I lost sight of not only what I was passionate about but what it even meant to feel passionate in general.
Which is why I made so many poor choices until I was 31 years old.
So what changed?
I got tired of feeling like shit and wanted to change my story.
So, I decided to get passionate about my life again.
How I Started To Change My Story
If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you know that after the death of my father, I decided that it was time for me to clean up my act and get healthy again. (If you’re interested in reading more about my decision to get healthy you can find out all about it here.)
I wouldn’t say that I woke up on January 1st, 2012 and all of a sudden everything became clear to me. I think we all know that sort of stuff only happens in the movies. However, what I did know was that I started to feel better about myself and my life within the first week of eating better and exercising regularly. From that first week, I started to fall in love with fitness and healthy eating again. Maybe it was the athlete that I had shut out of my consciousness coming back to greet me, but whatever the reason, I knew that I didn’t want to go back to how I felt just days before. Ever.
Little did I know that making that one decision would lead me towards the path I believe I was meant to be on, the person I was always meant to be, or preparing for the career I was always meant to have.
Does my story sound familiar to yours? Are you going through something similar?
If so, you’re most likely not just lacking your passion, you’re lacking the ability to become passionate about anything full stop.
How To Get and Unlock Your Passions
You don’t have to keep living a passionless life. As I stated before, I was stuck in one for about 18 years. It can feel hopeless, make life seem empty, and can force us to focus more on what we don’t have to work with rather than working with what we do have.
But, enough about me, let’s talk about you and how you can get passionate about your life right now.
You have the tools to become passionate about your life again — they are within you — and they want to come out.
- Acknowledge what and who it is that you really love. Who do you love? What do you love? What do you love to do? Regardless of whether you think it’s a healthy or unhealthy love, write it down and acknowledge it. Knowing who and what’s important to you will allow your mind to start appreciating it and going after it.
- Filter your experiences and keep score. Look back at what you’ve done professionally or recreationally over the years. What did you like about it? What were your strengths at your last several jobs? What did you like about what you were doing? What didn’t you like? If you make a list of all of these things that you liked and didn’t like, you’re on your way to uncovering what makes you “tick”.
- Do something for somebody else. It’s undeniable that doing something for somebody else makes us feel better. Especially when it’s for somebody less fortunate or that really needs a helping hand. When we find the spirit to give, it makes us feel incredible. Start with small acts of kindness (random if you so choose). The spirit of giving helps us feel like we’re serving something greater than ourselves. In fact, one of my goals for 2016 is to do one kind thing for somebody each day!
- Stop focusing on what you think can’t do. How do you do this? Stop saying things like “I can’t”, ” I should”, “I shouldn’t”, or “I’ll never”. Your mind believes every single word you say (to yourself and out loud). If this is something you’re currently doing, you need to do two things right now. First, you need to get out of your comfort zone by doing something you wouldn’t normally do. This doesn’t have to be monumental (just yet) but the quickest way to show yourself you’re bigger than your fears is to do something that you normally wouldn’t. Second, you need to raise your standards for yourself. If you want to get out of the mindset that you can’t do something you’ve been wanting to try, you need to start raising the standards of every aspect of your life. If you are surrounded by negative people who keep you stagnant, decide if it might be best to go your separate ways. You need to start taking care of yourself in more ways than in just the physical sense. Tell yourself you are capable and can do whatever you tell yourself you can. Once you decide to change your standards, you will want to keep it up, and you’ll take actions to keep yourself on track. Remember, if you’re letting your struggles define you and your ability to be passionate about your life, you’ll believe whatever story you write for yourself. Whether it’s good or bad. If you speak like you “can”, your mind will make it so.
- Get physical. It doesn’t matter if you join CrossFit or if you just start walking to work each day, but you need to move your body in order for your mind to be healthy, focused, and driven. I’m not just saying this because it worked for me and I’m not just saying this because I’m a personal trainer. I’m saying this because it’s a scientific fact. The body and the brain are inextricably intertwined. Endorphins trigger a positive feeling in the body and positive feelings lead to constructive actions!
You can also hire a life coach to help you find more passion and direction in your life. I happen to know one. 😉 Though seriously, often times, having someone ask the right questions at the right time can bring all the clarity and motivation you’re needing.
Life can be heavy for so many of us, but often times we make things bigger than they need to be because we are living inside of a story that makes us believe that we’re lost or living without purpose. We all have purpose and passion and our stories can change whenever we choose to change them.
You don’t have to figure this all out in one day and you don’t have to apologize for your story. It’s a treasure and it’s still being written.
Have you ever struggled with finding your passion or being passionate about something? Are you living with passion right now?
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