Why You Haven't Found Your Life's Calling (And What to Do About It)

02/16/2015 11:16 am ET | Updated Apr 18, 2015
Thomas Barwick via Getty Images

Feel stuck at your job?

Then you might be familiar with a common phenomenon that many experience but few admit to: the existential gnawing that you could be doing something more with your life.

It's the result of repeating the same, tired routine day-after-day. Your creativity is stifled. Your spirit is broken.

So what's stopping you from changing your lifestyle? If you're like most people, it's the fact that you have no idea how to find your passion.

Here's the reality: You're part of a system that places more value in you doing what you're told than pursuing something that matters to you. You haven't found your life's calling because you've been too busy jumping through hoops like going to school, getting good grades, finding a job, and keeping up with bills.

There's hardly been enough time to consider what you really want.

But now you're ready to break free. To discover your life's mission -- your passion -- and start pursuing it. Here's how to make it happen.

Let your strengths lead the way.

In order to find your passion, you have to first identify what you're good at.

During my junior year of college, I landed an internship with General Electric for their Information Management Leadership Program. It didn't take long for me to discover that I wasn't cut out for the corporate world.

But there was a silver lining.

While I hated the corporate speak and high-pressure expectations, there was one thing I did enjoy. Each week I was responsible for facilitating a meeting between all of the other interns in the company, with the purpose of having everyone come together to talk about how their internship experience was going. Naturally, these meetings usually turned into giant vent sessions.

But it was through those meetings that I discovered my penchant for connecting with and helping others. I brought humor and lightheartedness in an atmosphere that was otherwise stressful and tense. Some of these interns felt unheard and under appreciated by their supervisors, but with me they finally felt like someone was listening.

Recognizing this strength of mine was the crucial first step towards finding my passion.

Let your strengths be the guiding light on your quest to find what you love. There's no reason to pursue anything you're not good at.

Explore.

Another key to finding your passion is getting out there and doing stuff. Try your hand at writing, pick up an instrument, take a class on welding, buy a camera from a thrift store and start taking pictures. You'll never know what you're good at until you give it a shot. The more things you try, the closer you'll be to discovering your creative genius.

Once you start discovering what you're good at, two things will happen:

You'll start to develop more confidence doing those things. This will translate into you spending more hours creating your art. The more time you devote to your art, the better you become, and the more confidence you gain. Wash, rinse, repeat.

You'll soon find ways to weave all of your creative talents into a singular mission. This mission will give you purpose. It will be the reason you get up in the morning -- and how you're able to find the strength to keep pushing in the face of adversity.

This mission is your passion.

This is exactly how my blog, People Passionate, was born. I started my blog by recording podcasts about how to better connect with others and later branched out and focused on my writing -- mostly on topics like art, creativity, and pursuing your passion. Eventually I picked up photography and began using my own images on my blog.

With each new project I immersed myself in, opportunities began to emerge -- things I would have never thought of if I had limited myself to just one creative endeavor.

On their own, writing, photography, and connecting with others are mere hobbies and interests. But put them together and suddenly you have a platform that's reached tens of thousands of readers in 133 countries since its inception.

Create value to others.

Are there ways you can help others with what you're passionate about? Let's use Jamie Tardy's story as an example.

At the age of 24, Jamie was over $70,000 in debt, hated her job, and was desperate to find work that gave her a sense of purpose. Two years later, she committed to taking action and learned everything she could on how to pay down her debt, while also acquiring a ton of knowledge about personal finance and entrepreneurship along the way. Once she was debt-free, Jamie quit her job to search for work that excited her, eventually discovering the business coaching niche. Through coaching, she helped businesses grow their bottom line, and in the process ignited her passion for finance and lifestyle design. This led to Jamie creating her personal platform, a blog and podcast, geared towards helping people achieve the lifestyle of their dreams. Eventual Millionaire was born.

Jamie isn't the only person doing this either. Pat Flynn, James Altucher, Darren Rowse -- these are all examples of people who make a living helping others. None of them are high-profile celebrities, they're just people who recognized the opportunity to align their interests and skills with other people's wants and needs.

Realize that credentials don't matter.

At least, not as much as we think they do.

It's true, we live in a world that demands legitimacy. As a result, it's easy to doubt yourself and say, "I don't have the credentials." But credentials aren't as important as they once were. Once upon a time, having a few letters after your name distinguished you from the rest. These days, it's all but unremarkable.

My point here isn't to knock the idea of getting an advanced degree. It's to stress the fact that having credentials doesn't guarantee success, and thinking so only undermines your ability to capitalize on opportunities.

Dan Carlin, host of Hardcore History, a hugely successful podcast that's been running since 2005, had this same reservation.

Carlin isn't a professional historian. He doesn't even have an advanced degree in history -- yet he's considered by many as perhaps the most engaging history professor in the world. Carlin loves what he does, and it shows. In his podcast episodes, his voice bubbles with such enthusiasm when he talks about the second World War, or the tyranny of Genghis Khan, that it's impossible not to be captivated. Had he subscribed to the notion that you need a fancy title to create anything great in this world, Hardcore History wouldn't exist.

Final Thoughts

Finding and pursuing your life's mission doesn't have to be an impossible dream.

Play to your strengths, explore new things, and create value to the world. Opportunities tend to makes themselves abundant when you're busy making these things happen.

If you enjoyed this article, check out my guide, Stop Dreaming and Start Doing: How To Actually Do What You Love, for free at peoplepassionate.com