Some people have always known what they wanted to do for a living, straight out of the womb. Maybe they started dance classes at the age of three, or piano lessons at the age of six, and never strayed. Something tugged at their heart strings when they were young, and they were lucky enough to find their passion at a young age. Others choose careers based on the family business. Sons take on the role of their fathers, and daughters choose to walk in their mother’s footsteps. For these people, their destination may have always been known, and it’s more about the journey they take to get there.
For others, the destination is one huge question mark. The pressure of deciding “what they want to be when they grow up” can be overwhelming — more so as they grow older and watch their friends around them choose career paths. It’s common to feel lost or feel that choosing something just for the sake of choosing it is a waste of time. If you’re currently struggling with this — trying to find your passion, your purpose in life, trying to decide what it is that will make you happy, here are five straightforward and important questions you must ask yourself to start piecing together the puzzle.
1. Have you ever been passionate about something?
Take it back to when you were a kid, playing make-believe and creating whole cities on your parent’s driveway with chalk. What was it that you loved to do? While my sister was playing school teacher with her stuffed animals, I was writing — fun, silly short stories where anything could happen. It’s easy to forget the things that you loved when you were a child, but that can often help lead you in the right direction. What was your passion as a child? Is it something that you’re still passionate about today?
2. If you had all the time in the world — no job, no responsibilities, what would you do each day?
I’m not talking about a Netflix binge on a lazy Sunday. If you had to get out of the house each day and pursue something, what would it be? Would you travel to the park to take photographs of the blooming flowers? Would you walk to somewhere inspiring and break out your paint and canvas? Write down what you would do if you had all of the hours in the day to fill.
3. When you get lost in your own world, what are you doing?
When you’re doing something that you’re passionate about, it’s easy to lose track of time and block out the world around you. Maybe you can play an instrument for hours before realizing that it’s dark outside. Or maybe you can wander through an interior design store all day, fantasizing about the rooms you’d create. What makes you forget about the outside world?
4. What is truly important to you?
Are you passionate about politics, the environment, women’s studies… What do you hold close to your heart? Maybe you have an entire library of cookbooks and you’re constantly trying new recipes. What is that thing that you love to do, that you can’t get enough of?
5. What is on your bucket list?
If you haven’t created a bucket list, now is the time to get started. No matter how old, everyone has dreams that they want to come true some day. Write down everything you want to accomplish in your lifetime, and you’ll find out what truly matters to you. Realizing exactly what your goals and aspirations are can give you the kick-start you need to begin working toward them.