Three Exercises to understand your passion

The advice to follow your passion is often repeated.  But what are your passions?  For some it may be easy to know their passion for others it is more difficult.  I’ve compiled several exercises to help discover the things you may be passionate about.

Make sure you’ll have some quiet uninterrupted time to think and write out your responses.  I have found it useful to reflect upon my answers and go through these exercises multiple times.  

Exercise 1 - 28 Probing Questions:  

  1. What am I passionate about?  
  2. What things bring me highest levels of joy?  
  3. What really excites me?  
  4. What fires me up?
  5. In what things do I like to spend my free time?  
  6. In what things do I get lost in and don’t notice time passing?  
  7. Where do I find joyful engagement?  
  8. What are my hobbies?  
  9. What things did I do when I was 10 years old?  
  10. What have I always wanted to try?
  11. What have I always wanted to do?
  12. What do I like to talk about?  
  13. What do I learn about naturally?  
  14. What do I find very interesting?  
  15. What am I very curious about?
  16. What do I like to do with my free time?
  17. Who do I want to be like?  
  18. Who do I really admire?
  19. What is something you believe that others around you don’t agree on?
  20. When I remove all fears like failure, rejection, or lack of money what do I really want to do?
  21. If I was assured of 100% success what activity would I get involved in?
  22. What is something I still love doing even when I’m tired?  
  23. What work do I or could I enjoy even if I wasn’t getting paid?
  24. What activities would I spend my time on if money didn't matter?  
  25. What am I doing when I feel most like myself?
  26. What am I doing when I feel most beautiful?  
  27. When do I feel most alive?
  28. What makes my heart sing?

Exercise 2 - Work with the end in mind

Imagine yourself at the end of your life.  Reflex upon your life and write down what you want to see as you look back upon your life.  What things did you accomplish?  What mark did you leave?  What were your relationships like?  Who is by your side in these final moments?  What kind of person were you?  What legacy are you leaving?  What will you be remembered for?  What things mattered most?

Exercise 3 - Dig deeper (Whys, themes, and ranking)

  1. Whys.  At this point you probably have a good list of many different items.  To dig deeper into some of these answers by asking “Why.”  For instance, you answer might be “I like going for walks.”  Why?  What is it about walking that you like?  Is the fresh air?  Is it getting exercise?  Is it that I get to contemplate things?  Is it that I get to walk with my dog and seem him run around?  This exercise will help you find more core values and deeper passions.  
  2. Themes - look for common themes or patterns that show in your answers.  Are there certain things that are common or coming up frequently?  
  3. Ranking - which things are the most powerful to you?  Which things feel more core to you?  

For PDF download: three-exercises-to-understand-your-passion