Discovering Your Passion: Part 1

PassionI try to choose the road that I have the most passion on because then you can never really blame yourself for making the wrong choices. You can always say you’re following your passion.” — Darren Aronofsky, Award-Winning Director, Screenwriter and Producer

Whether or not your passion is enveloped into your career, discovering and enjoying your passion is what makes life work living. What’s important is that you find your passion and live it out — it may be something you recognize early on, you rediscover or you take a lifetime to unearth.

Here are three stories of how friends in the online community discovered their passions:

Passion in a Lifetime Career: Larry Samuels, Retired Social Worker, BC Children’s Hospital

I found my passion early in life. It is helping others. Even as a teen, my friends would come to me in times of crisis. Family problems, peer problems, relationship problems, anxiety, depression. My role was clearly defined and I loved helping them solve their problems. It was probably that involvement that led me to an interest in completing a Bachelor’s of Arts Degree in Psychology. I was very curious as to how the mind worked and how personal and family relationships were constructed and functioned.

It all culminated in a career of 37 years on the Inpatient Child Psychiatry Unit at the British Columbia Children’s Hospital during which I returned to university to complete a Master’s Degree in Social Work. Even in retirement, I still spend a very significant amount of time informally counseling my friends with personal and parental difficulties. It has and always will provide me with great satisfaction.

Passion as a Lifestyle: Kathy Carano, Blogger, Carano’s Cucina

I have several passions. Men. Punk rock music. Cooking. Maybe all three at the same time! I’ve written about the first two on my own blog, so I’ll focus this time on cooking. It was something that came kind of naturally from watching my mom and my grandma in action. But discovering cooking as my own passion didn’t really come right away. I took home economics in high school for 3 years and aced all the cooking challenges, but it wasn’t something I cared too much about then. Even when I moved out on my own and cooked more for myself, it wasn’t really a passion.

The passion began about 15 years ago when I started to grow my own vegetables and herbs. I had tomatoes, zucchini, beans, onions, garlic and all kinds of different herbs growing in my yard. Having those things, my own things, changed everything. I could go to a store and buy them but they would never be as good. And when I discovered heirloom tomatoes? Forget it! I was in love — in love with ingredients and what they could become.

I talked more and more about cooking with my grandma and we shared so much over the years. She showed me how to make the most of those fresh ingredients and I became more and more in love with discovering new flavor combinations. I started to frequent farmer’s markets in the summertime to get more and more fresh ingredients, things I don’t grow myself. A new discovery of a new ingredient is thrilling. Planning out what I can make with it becomes exciting. My cooking is simple, rustic Italian mainly, like grandma’s. Her cooking was nothing fancy and neither is mine, but it was passionate and delicious. I hope mine is half as good as hers.

Passion Through Investigation: Stuart Mills, Personal Development Blogger, Unlock the Door

It would be easy for me to say I’m passionate about life and everything in it, but that would be a lie. I’m not passionate about everything that I encounter; far from it. I’m not passionate about washing the dishes, driving my car or emptying the bins. But I am passionate about a few things and it’s these few things that drive my life forward. I’m passionate about my girlfriend who I love deeply. I’m passionate about blogging. I’m passionate about reading a superb book, listening to inspiring music, and having great conversations with engaging people.

I discovered my passion for all of these things through investigation — deciding to take the chance to see what something is all about. With reading, I didn’t pick up a spiritual or self-help book until early 2008, but I’ve been hooked on them ever since. With music, I took a chance in listening to tracks that weren’t in the charts; now they’re all I listen to. With blogging, I decided that this was my ideal direction to growing my online brand and building my reputation globally. I took a chance with “Unlock The Door,” my personal development blog, and it paid off through investigation. And I’m passionate about my girlfriend because I decided to get to know her better and we’ve now been together for nearly 9 months.

All of this has come about through investigation. By taking the time to uncover something new, you learn more about it and whether you have a passion for it. If you don’t try, you’ll never know.

Investigate more.

How did you discover your passion?

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30 Comments

  1. Posted August 27, 2011 at 4:11 am | Permalink

    Hi Sam, lately I have been analyzing what drives me to do things, and it’s always this strange need to fix people’s problems, this need to help. Did you ever see the Disney movie Robots? Rodney (the main character) says “see a need, fill a need” and I go around saying that to myself, so I’m going to say that fixing people’s problems and making them happy is my passion.

    • Posted August 29, 2011 at 3:33 am | Permalink

      Karla, I can definitely see the passion to help others ooze out of you naturally. =) I’ve actually never seen Robots before, but I love that line! The world needs more of you, friend! =)

  2. Abe
    Posted August 27, 2011 at 5:15 am | Permalink

    I came to realize my passion when I began to crave doing service to others. All my life I was encouraged to share my tallents where ever and with whom ever. Although my passion in my carreer enables me to endure life. My passion for life itself enables me to trully live.

    • Posted August 29, 2011 at 3:36 am | Permalink

      Very well said, Abe! I love that idea of being passionate about life itself — I imagine that’s what helps you value every single moment whether in your career, family or personal life. =)

  3. Posted August 27, 2011 at 7:55 am | Permalink

    Hey Samantha,

    This is such an amazing series! I know Stuart among the list and he himself has such an inspiring story and the way he is progressing and making his awakening a way to inspire others is absolutely brilliant!

    In life we keep looking for that one moment to come across and change our lives, but many at times the moment is right there in front of us. And we just have to harness it and use it to help ourselves and help others if we can.

    Will check out other’s too! :)

    Have a lovely weekend!

    • Posted August 29, 2011 at 3:40 am | Permalink

      I know what you mean, Hajra! I had heard so much about Stu and his passionate way of living life through others, but his energy is so much more powerful than I imagined when I got the chance to talk to him over emails! =)

      And what an important point! That’s why it’s so important to keep our eyes *wide open*! =)

  4. Posted August 27, 2011 at 8:58 am | Permalink

    Thanks for including me in your series Samantha, it was a pleasure to write this up for you!

    Time to spread the word :-)

    • Posted August 29, 2011 at 3:47 am | Permalink

      Thank *you,* Stu! =) I so appreciate you taking the time to share your insight with us, especially considering how busy you are these days! =) Hugs!

  5. Posted August 27, 2011 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

    Ah, passion. Absolutely correct that we need to live our lives with it.
    But, that means you must have a vision for your life and a mission to achieve. If you don\’t have that clearly defined, you are just a butterfly flitting from one thing to the next. You may have passion, but you won\’t feel passionate nor will you have satisfaction. Moreover, you may find yourself unable to engender the passion you had and used tomorrow- because your brain knows this is not your mission nor are you reaching your vision.

    • Posted August 29, 2011 at 3:50 am | Permalink

      So true, Roy! Lynn recently pointed out how we’re all dreamers — the difference is in whether we take action on our dreams or not! Love how you say that the passionate feeling and satisfaction come from a vision and mission! An important clarification, friend. Thank you! =)

  6. Posted August 28, 2011 at 12:24 am | Permalink

    Magnificent post, Sam!

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading all three of these stories. Learning about the passion of others is, at a minimum, inspirational!

    It may sound funny (pun intended) …

    But my passion is making people laugh. So I guess you’d say I’m passionate about turning frowns upside down. :)

    It may not require a lot of talent or specialized skill, but I like to believe it does. LOL!

    • Posted August 29, 2011 at 4:03 am | Permalink

      Haha! =) Loved the pun, Melanie! You sure are an expert when it comes to lightening up another’s day. =P I had no idea it was a passion of yours! And you know what? I really believe that it’s a skill to make another smile and especially to be funny! These abilities sure don’t come naturally to me. =P

      I’m so glad you’re a part of my life! =)

      • Posted August 29, 2011 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

        Ditto, kiddo!

        I’m blessed to know you, Sam, and totally jazzed to have you in my influential circle of BBB’s!

        That’s Best Blogging Buddies. :)

  7. Posted August 28, 2011 at 1:07 am | Permalink

    Samantha I thoroughly enjoyed you sharing your online friends wonderful insight of their passions in life. Very inspiring and amazing how we all see our passions differently.

    I guess my passion is helping others and seeing the joy that brings in doing so. Maybe it is because when growing up, I was the oldest of 6 kids! I was the trail blazer for the rest of my siblings! But I did enjoy venturing out and finding my way that I always thought was helpful for them.

    Thank you for asking and was wondering what your passion is? :)

    • Posted August 28, 2011 at 1:43 am | Permalink

      Great question for Samantha, Lynn. I want to know the answer, too! :)

    • Posted August 29, 2011 at 4:17 am | Permalink

      It really is an amazing feeling to know that you benefited another’s life in some way. Hey! I never thought of it that way. I’m the oldest in my family too! Maybe that’s where my helpfulness comes from. =)

      Thank you and Melanie for asking about my passion too! =) Lately, I’ve realized how passionate I am about encouraging and inspiring others to live out their true passions! It started through writing these types of articles and now people have started contacting me to ask for my advice or to hear more about my story! =) I’m in love with the idea of everyone being able to do what they dreamed for themselves! =)

  8. Posted August 29, 2011 at 7:04 am | Permalink

    What an excellent series, Samantha. When we consciously connect to what moves and inspires us and align our steps and goals we are much more likely to make our dreams come true. It’s nice, too to allow ourselves to be passionate about things that are not our career but things we do for the sheer joy of it. Deepening the conversation on this topic uplifts those of us who read it. Thank you.

    • Posted September 1, 2011 at 7:11 pm | Permalink

      I love how you put it, Tambre! It’s about being *conscious* about what we’re passionate about! =) This became an interesting exercise for me too when Lynn and Melanie asked me what I was passionate about. =P I had to formulate it into words for the first time! =)

  9. Posted August 31, 2011 at 12:55 am | Permalink

    Samantha thank you so much for including me in your series. I continue my passion and o my best to honor my Grandma. Just tonite I made something she spoke about makinq often but for whatever reason never did. I kept wishing she was still her to make the arancini with me. Hopefully she was watching anyway :)

    • Posted September 1, 2011 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

      Thank *you,* Kathy! =) I especially love learning about the passions of people who have so many passions!! =)

      What a beautiful image of your grandma looking down and nodding proudly at your arancini! =)

  10. Posted August 31, 2011 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

    What a great series! It illustrates the fact that being passionate is the most important thing. Whatever you do, do it with passion!
    Passion can be very different, from cooking to helping others. As for Kathy, I love her passion for food. I love good food too. My grandparents are also Italians and just reading her words made me hungry!

    • Posted September 1, 2011 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

      I love how you say it, Muriel! Passion sure does underlie a fulfilling life. =)

      Haha! I had no idea that you had Italian grandparents, Muriel! =) You sure are international! =)

  11. Posted August 31, 2011 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

    Well, you do know that Stuart’s are an amazing breed of people!! :)

    I’m so glad you are going further with all this. Great series of articles.

  12. Posted September 6, 2011 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

    Enjoyed reading about these three very different people with very different passions. I can certainly learn from each of them.

    I discovered my passion – writing – when I was 6, and from the time I was 12 to 22, worked hard at it until life, a career, and children stepped in and took over. Nineteen years ago, with career and children gone, my passion returned in full-swing and it’s here to stay for the rest of my life.

    • Posted September 17, 2011 at 4:02 am | Permalink

      You are such a lucky lady to have discovered your passion so early, Pennie! =) I’m SO glad that you’ve REdiscovered it again and that you’re living it out! =)

  13. Posted September 7, 2011 at 1:58 am | Permalink

    Great article Sam. After re-discovering my passions last year, after a long time lost in the corporate world, I can truly say that embarking on the search is an amazing, tenuous, but well-worth it challenge.

    • Posted September 17, 2011 at 4:03 am | Permalink

      I so agree, Janine! My path to discovering my passion was convoluted too. =) We often get stuck in what *seems* to be appropriate, eh? =)

  14. Joy
    Posted September 13, 2011 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

    Sorry for being so late in reading this. Life has been sooo busy, as you know. This is a great and truly inspirational series, Sam! It’s always enlightening to read others’ stories in discovering their passion. Thanks!!

    • Posted September 17, 2011 at 4:07 am | Permalink

      Never too late, Joy! =) Thank *you* for taking the time to stop by and comment! =) So glad you’re enjoying the series!

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