Even though I write about successfully sharing your dream online and how doing so can put you in the right place to connect with people who can help you achieve your dream, I also study what it takes to be a successful dreamer and I have found that the secret lies in finding the right passion in life.
I am not surprised by the people who are confused about what they want to do with “the rest of their life”–most of us don’t know how to find our passions in life so choosing a dream to go after based on this information seems unattainable and unrealistic–or even impossible.
And I think this is because in order to know your passion in life you must be willing to take the journey into getting to know yourself–not through the lenses of your parents or teachers who told you who you are, or by society at large that gave you the impression that your gender wasn’t qualified to do anything beyond traditional expectations.
When people unknowingly interfere with your play choices as a child or push you in a certain direction that you did not choose for yourself, then your passion compass becomes blurred as you live out a persona that was given to you.
Many don’t even realize it until they hit mid-life and wake up one morning wondering what happened to their life.
I feel so much unhappiness is created by people living a life based on expectations placed on them growing up instead of living a life on purpose–going against the norm and doing what warms your heart.
But what do you do if you’ve lost touch with your passion in life and can’t figure out what you want to do? Luckily, there are some really great books out there on the subject, but you must be open to completing the exercises no matter how silly they might seem. To get back to the core of who you once were is a process and the exercises outlined in these books are a guide back to that person, that child, who really did once have a dream.
8 Great Books for How to Find Passion in Life:
1. Vital Signs — by Gregg Levoy
Gregg Levoy is a former adjunct professor of journalism at the University of New Mexico, former columnist and reporter for USA Today and the Cincinnati Enquirer, and author of This Business of Writing (Writer’s Digest Books), he has written for the New York Times Magazine, Washington Post, Omni, Psychology Today, Christian Science Monitor, Reader’s Digest, and many others, as well as for corporate, promotional and television projects. He is a former “behavioral specialist” at USA Today, and a regular blogger for Psychology Today. He typically travels to lecture so take in one of his fantastic workshops if he comes to your area!
2. I Could Do Anything If I Only Knew What It Was — by Barbara Sher
Barbara Sher is a business owner, career counselor, and best-selling author of seven books, each of which provides a down-to-earth, nuts-and-bolts method for uncovering natural talent, pinpointing goals and turning dreams into reality. She has often been named the “godmother of life coaching” by the media and her many fans. Barbara has presented seminars and workshops throughout the world to universities, professional organizations, Fortune 100 corporations, and federal and state government agencies. She has been called “a standup comic with a message” and “the best speaker we have ever seen,” in evaluations. Joining forces with public television, she has also created five hour-long special PBS programs that continue to air in cities around the U.S.
3. Callings — by Gregg Michael Levoy
Another great book by Gregg Levoy, written in 1998 and still resonates today. Gregg is a former adjunct professor of journalism at the University of New Mexico, former columnist and reporter for USA Today and the Cincinnati Enquirer, and author of This Business of Writing (Writer’s Digest Books), he has written for the New York Times Magazine, Washington Post, Omni, Psychology Today, Christian Science Monitor, Reader’s Digest, and many others, as well as for corporate, promotional and television projects. He is a former “behavioral specialist” at USA Today, and a regular blogger for Psychology Today. He typically travels to lecture so take in one of his fantastic workshops if he comes to your area!
4. Do What You Are — by Paul D. Tieger
Paul D. Tieger is an internationally recognized expert in Personality Type. The Founder and first Director of The New England Type Institute, Paul has personally trained thousands of managers, team leaders, HR professionals, career consultants, psychologists, attorneys, and educators. Paul pioneered the application of Personality Type as a tool to assist trial attorneys in selecting and communicating with jurors, and has worked on dozens of high-profile civil and criminal cases. Paul holds degrees in Psychology and Organizational Behavior.
5. The Passion Test — by Janet & Chris Attwood
Can a simple test change a person’s life? Through their New York Times bestseller The Passion Test, Janet Bray Attwood and Chris Attwood have inspired thousands to shape their lives by discovering their passions and living according to what matters most to them. Readers can identify their top five passions by taking the Test, and then learn exactly how to align their lives with their priorities by following the Attwoods’ easy-to-follow step-by-step program of action.
6. Finding Your Element — by Ken Robinson
Sir Ken Robinson’s TED talk is one of my all-time favorite lectures on TED. His first groundbreaking book, The Element, introduced readers to a new concept of self-fulfillment through the convergence of natural talents and personal passions, as outlined in his TED speech. Robinson writes in his introduction to Finding Your Element: wherever you are, whatever you do, and no matter how old you are, if you’re searching for your Element, this book is for you. This book has exercises that you need to complete to find its value.
7. Soul-Purpose by Mark Thurston
Mark Thurston, Ph.D. is Director of Educational Programs at George Mason University’s Center for the Advancement of Well-Being in the northern Virginia suburbs of Washington D.C. With an academic background in psychology, Mark is author of nineteen books about personal spirituality, holistic living, and the dimensions of consciousness, including The Essential Edgar Cayce (2004) and Willing to Change: The Journey of Personal Transformation (2005). For 36 years Mark worked in various capacities for Atlantic University and the Association for Research and Enlightenment in Virginia Beach, Virginia, including co-executive director of ARE (1995-1998) and Director of Academic Affairs for Atlantic University (2000-2008). Mark is also co-founder and course leader for the Personal Transformation and Courage Institute.
8. Find Your Dream by Catherine Hughes
I put together a small pdf guide with tests on how to find your dream or your passion. This is a collection of everything I’ve learned on pinning down what it is that you love to do in a simple format for you to work through. Sort of a passion workbook so to speak. It needs to be printed out to work through the steps in the process.
People will argue that you can’t find your life passions in a book and I beg to differ. Finding your passion entails the same process as embarking on a dream journey.
First, you need to gather information and then you need to put that information to work. If you are not willing to work through the tests and inquiries in most of these ebooks mentioned above, then you won’t take the necessary steps to try something new and get out of your comfort zone.
Doing something you love will make you feel good while taking the first step may make you feel miserable.
It’s because people hate change and any new way of being is going to bring up resistance from you. The same is true of going after your dream–there are times you will question your insanity and dislike certain parts of it. The real test is whether you can live without it for very long.
Making yourself work through the processes outlined in any one of these books takes your thoughts out of your head and just thinking about what you might want to do and gets it out on paper where you may gain understanding into why you are holding yourself back. Fear is going to be the first emotion that comes up until you try your hand at your dream.
Finding your passion may be the easiest pert of it if you are willing to play archaeologist with your life, but the real test is getting up and going out your door and doing it.
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