In a previous post Notice What You Want, I commented that many people I coach have a desire to create something new in their life, but can’t figure out exactly what. They have a vague goal like “find a new career that let’s me be creative” or “get a job that inspires me”. When I ask what creative would look like or what inspires them, I find most people don’t really know. A common question I get from friends and colleagues familiar with my life and all the unusual opportunities I create for myself is “How do you think of all these possibilities for yourself? How do you know what you want to create next?”
What are your passions in life? What brings you joy and energy? These are the elements to begin with if you are searching for a new, more satisfying career or creative expression of yourself. What follows in an approach I first learned when facing a particularly difficult career transition. I have been refining it over the years. Now it never fails to help me locate and launch myself on a path to whatever I want to create next in my life.
Ready to try it for yourself? Allow your thoughts to flow freely and use a mind map approach to capture what you learn about yourself. If you feel inspired, add visuals. I sometimes sketch little icons. Some people paint or make collage images. You’re on an adventurous journey to unravel the clues, read the signs, and sort out the hidden messages you send to yourself about what you really want to create in your life—have fun! Here are ways to access yourself from different angles. Plan to do as much as you can in one sitting, then add to it over the week:
Things I see and am attracted to
Things I find myself thinking about
What I dream about
Things I love to do
What makes my heart pulse, long, beat faster
Things I love to talk about
Ways I love to be in the world
What am I happy to jump out of bed and go do
Go on an extended treasure hunt as you go through your week. Take notes on everything you notice that makes you really happy, gives you energy, or feeds you in some way. It could be something about your day, your interactions, your work, what you see and hear and feel. Take it all in and continue adding these details to your Passion Map.
When you’re done, ask yourself:
What patterns and themes emerge?
What elements would you like to have integrated into your work?
What elements do you want to add into other areas of your life?
What’s most important: You don’t have to know of a job that contains these elements. You just have to know what you love. Once you know that with full certainty, opportunities find you.
Passion mapping is one of many tools available in our self-paced program, The Passionate Professional: How to Make Your Ordinary Career Extraordinary.
Do you work better with a thought and accountability partner? Contact Jane for an introductory coaching session to see if coaching is right for you.