After my Joyfully Jobless News went out this week, I promptly received a number of messages. Instead of replying to the question I’d asked in the mailing (What is the most fun you ever had earning money?), these folks had a question of their own.

The gist of all those messages was, “What should I do?” A couple of them said, “I really don’t have any passions.”

Too many people, it seems to me, get trapped in their own version of Life Limbo. They know something’s missing, but continue to drag themselves through their days doing the same things at the same times with the same people.

That is not a recipe for personal growth. It’s only when we begin to question the less than satisfying choices we’ve made (as the writers of those e-mails did) that we can begin to move out of that limbo.

I wrote back to everyone and gave them a few suggestions for finding their own answers. Then I realized that they probably aren’t the only ones with those questions so I’ve added some things to the list and decided to pass it along here.

Start where you are. Often our greatest opportunities are hiding in plain sight because we have gifts that come so naturally to us that we fail to realize they could be valuable to others.

An honest and ruthless inventory of your likes, dislikes, talents and forgotten pleasures is a necessary starting point. As Agatha Christie reminds us, “The secret of getting ahead is getting started.”

Read this book. Barbara Sher is the master at helping people reconnect with their dreams. Her book, I Could Do Anything If I Only Knew What it Was is a terrific tool to get things moving.

Go for essence. Sadly, we’ve been conditioned to focus on form and that gets us in big trouble.

Learning the difference between essence and form was one of the most liberating things to ever happen to my own goal setting efforts. Here’s a brief explanation from the book Creating Money:

The essence of something is the function you want this item to perform, the purposes you will use it for, or what you think it will give you. Many things other than what you picture might give you the essence of what you want, so be open to letting it come in whatever way, size, shape or form is most appropriate.

In other words, if you focus on the essence of what would bring you joy, you may find it arriving in a surprise package.

Ask this question. A couple of years ago I tried a little experiment that has now become a regular part of my life. It begins with the simple question, “How can I make it better?”

This isn’t about changing the world; it’s about taking action on the things right in front of you that you can do something about. Robert Pirzig explains it this way: “The place to improve the world is first in one’s own head and heart and hands and then work outward from there.”

Once you get in the habit of looking for opportunities to make things better, you’ll dazzle yourself with all the ways you can make life sweeter.

Create a Passion Quest project. Give yourself 90 days (or more) to simply explore with an open mind and heart. Take notes. Notice when you are so engaged you have no sense of time passing.

Try new things that catch your fancy. Revisit neglected pleasures. Cross things off the list that no longer fit.

Invest in yourself and your dreams. A wonderful starting place for that is to add the Making Dreams Happen Audio Program. This program was recorded during the four days that Barbara Sher, Valerie Young and I spent in Boulder, CO sharing what we know about bringing dreams to life.

You can have the benefit of this terrific event for less than $100. I relisten to it regularly and never fail to find new insights and ideas.

Say thank you. When you ask for—and receive—help, it’s perfectly acceptable to acknowledge that with some sincere gratitude. Apparently,  not everyone knows that.

One Response to “What To Do When You Don’t Know What To Do”

  1. Anna Barlowe

    Finding my passion is definitely my goal for this year, big time. I’ve been writing and blogging a lot all of a sudden, which is something I never considered before, but has actually turned out to be quite enjoyable. But only when I’m writing on topics I’m personally interested in!

    They say you should take note of the things you do for fun – what you tend to read about, or do on weekends, etc., and I have found that to be excellent advice. What would you do if it didn’t matter whether it made you any money or not? Start doing that thing, not worrying about whether it DOES make you money or not, and then just see what happens.

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