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How to Pursue Your Passion: Understand the Essence of Your Passion

Posted Sep 23 2009 10:00pm

Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Celestine Chua of The Personal Excellence Blog. Thanks Celes!

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(If you haven’t discovered your passion yet, you might want to read Finding a Purpose and Passion in Life first.)

Whenever my friends or my coachees talk to me about the topic of passion, they would often resign that their passions can only remain as a hobby. When I probe into the reason why, some of the most common comments I hear are “My passion can’t earn (much) money”, “It’s not feasible in this world” or “There are no avenues for me to pursue my passion”.

When I hear that, an internal alarm in me will go off. As someone who has walked the conventional path of corporate employment for years and subsequently branched off to successfully pursue my real passion in helping others live their best life, I have come to realize those obstacles are just a result of self-limiting beliefs.

What do I mean? A year ago, I was still in my corporate job, but was looking out for avenues where I could pursue my passion. I was checking out job directories for jobs in social corporate enterprises or organizations supporting humanitarian causes. At this time, I was already all prepared to make certain trade offs in the new job, such as relocating myself to United States or Europe (I live in Singapore), getting a 50% pay cut, starting from an entry position and so on. Despite that, I was still unable to find any job which matched my extremely loosened up criteria. It was very disheartening.

I began to relook into my passion and rethink into how I could bring it into life. At that point, I realized what the problem was – I was restricting my passion to a certain form of expression and a certain medium. I realized that pursuing my passion didn’t have to be done in just that way and there were other ways of doing it.

For the rest of the article, I will share the five simple, yet powerful and timeless steps I used which enabled me to successfully create a feasible career for my passion.

1) Identify the essence of your passion

With everything that we do, there is an essence we are trying to deliver and there is the medium we are delivering it through. For example, if you are passionate about dancing, the essence of your passion may be excellence, elegance and freedom and the medium you express them is through dancing.

The first step is to identify the essence of your passion. Identify what it is you are passionate about doing. Then, identify the essence of this passion. What is it you are trying to seek/achieve? Do you want to inspire people? Help people? Entertain people? Express your creativity? To achieve excellence? This is actually the most important step out of the 5 steps, because this is where you look beyond a certain fixed way of pursuing your passion and start looking at the underlying message you are trying to achieve.

When I looked into the essence of my passion beyond working in a social corporate enterprise, a non-governmental organization or company, or a humanitarian cause, it was really to raise the consciousness of others. Everything else were just the mediums I could express them in.

2) Identify your preferred form of expression

In the second step, nail down the ways you will like to express your passion. Some examples can be: singing, drawing, dancing, sports, writing, educating, designing, constructing, cooking, speaking, acting, producing, and so on. Some people may have preferences towards certain manners of expression, such as singing or drawing, while some people may have no specific inclinations at all. Perhaps you like to pick out forms of expression where you already have strengths in, which is fine too. The most important thing is it has to be an expression you feel passionate about.

In my case, I didn’t have any specific preference towards a particular way. However, I was (and still am) a very efficiency-driven person, so I selected the forms of expressions which I felt I could best use to reach out to people. These were (a) writing (b) in-person coaching and (c) speaking.

3) Brainstorm on the mediums

Based on your passion and your preferred forms of expressions, start brainstorming on all the different mediums you can use to pursue your passion. Mediums refer to the channels which lets you reach out to others. This is where you get really creative and start listing everything possible. If you picked singing in step-2, different mediums include: a stage performer, a wedding singer, a backup singer, a lounge/pub singer, forming a band, being a solo artist, releasing an album, sharing your songs through the internet (your site/YouTube/Itunes, just to name a few), and so on.

Keep listing all types of different mediums and don’t stop until you have listed everything. One way to get new ideas is to look at the people who are already achieving success in the area you want to move in and study the different mediums they use to express themselves. The most important thing is not to limit the pursuit of your passion to certain fixed mediums. Expand to everything possible and imaginable.

Some of the mediums I listed included being a blogger, an author (book), a school teacher, a coach, a speaker, a trainer, a lecturer, a broadcaster, among others.

4) Pick the mediums you are most passionate about

Based on the whole list of mediums, circle the mediums which you are most passionate about. There is no need to limit it to just one medium – you can have more than one. These would be the mediums you want to bring your passion to life.

The mediums I selected were being (a) a blogger (b) a coach (c) a speaker. While I was open to the other mediums too, I wanted to use those 3 mediums as the core channels to reach out to others.

5) Create your plan to bring your passion to life

Now that you have clarity on the mediums to pursue your passion, create your plan to bring your passion to life! Crystallize your long-term vision, break them down into short-term goals, design your strategy and create your action plan. (You may want to check out my 7-part goal achievement series on how to achieve goals successfully.)

Side note: As you work on your plan, it is important to build in a transition phase where you work simultaneously on your passion while inside your day job. When you feel you are ready, you can make the leap toward your passion.

For me, after realizing I could pursue my passion via other mediums, it became clear that it was extremely possible to embark on my dreams immediately. With that, I started building proper plans (with the new mediums in mind) toward my passion. In 2008 last year, I left my corporate job and started working full force on helping others.

Today, I help many achieve personal excellence through my blog, coaching and speeches and it feels totally amazing! :D Life has never been better and I’ve never looked back at corporate life since. This is just the beginning too – I have other plans (such as publishing my book and setting up my personal excellence school) which are already in the works and I can’t wait to bring them to life.

How about you? What’s the essence of your passion, and what are the mediums you can bring it to life via? Try out the steps for yourself and start to create the career of your dreams. I’d love to hear how they work out for you :)

About The Author

Celestine Chua is a personal excellence coach who writes at her popular The Personal Excellence Blog to help others like you achieve excellence. She has been featured frequently in the press and is a highly sought-after coach.


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