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How To Figure Out What You’re Passionate About

by jenny sansouci on June 19, 2014

Hey little crazies!

The other day I was thinking about how I really honed in on what I wanted to focus on in my life and my business. It wasn’t an overnight phenomenon. I get a lot of questions from people about how to figure out what they’re really passionate about, what they “should be doing,” etc.

When you know what you’re passionate about, you can dedicate more of your life to it. You can share it. You can teach it. You can immerse yourself in it. You can make your whole life feel much more passionate. Who doesn’t want that?

Passionate: having, compelled by, or ruled by intense emotion or strong feeling.

YES. 🙂 Feeling passionate is the opposite of feeling bored. And I’m pretty sure that whatever you inherently feel passionate about is happening for a reason.

You might think this passion-hunting sounds silly – isn’t it obvious when you feel passionate about something? But often we can be blocked by our thoughts, busy life, opinions of others, expectations, the “norm,” society, substances, blah blah blah. Then we ignore our passions because it feels too daunting and we sink slowly into a state of quiet desperation.  No!!! Just the thought of living in quiet desperation makes me want to jump out of my skin. You, too? I figured. Why else would you be here?

So today I’m dropping s serious old school passion-finding technique on you.

Back in 2008-2009, Gabby Bernstein used to hold small coaching groups in her studio apartment in Manhattan’s West Village. A circle of about 8 of us would sit around her candle-lit apartment and we’d meditate and work through whatever we needed to work through. It was a special time and a very beautiful thing.

Here’s a photo of us that was taken for the New York Times. I remember being so nervous while they were photographing this. 🙂

Anyway. One night at the coaching group, Gabby had us focus on finding our passions. At the time, I was working at a full time job and was just dipping my toe into the waters of possibly doing something entrepreneurial or creative. I had so many passions at the time that I had no idea where to focus. I was working in digital advertising, doing freelance restaurant review writing and working for a catering company on the side. Not to mention focusing every day on my own personal development, doing yoga, feverishly obsessing over nutrition research, journaling, and going to see as many live Fall Out Boy, Panic at the Disco and Paramore shows as I could. 😉 I was a busy little gal. At the time I had an inclination that my calling was either to write lyrics – emo lyrics, obviously – or maybe become an addiction psychologist. Hmmmm. So many options.

So Gabby had us make Passion Maps..and I got super clear. 

How to make a passion map:

Take a piece of paper.

For 2 weeks, write down everything you do that nobody is paying you to do.

What are you Googling in your spare time?
What do you love learning about?
What do you love giving other people advice about?
What are you spending most of your free time doing or thinking about?
What ideas, activities, people, teachings, etc are you extremely drawn to?

Put everything in categories and keep track of how many times you do each thing. My categories at the time were writing, physical/emotional health, restaurants/cooking, yoga, and music.

By the end of the 2 weeks, you will have a very clear picture of what you love doing most. The categories with the most activity are what you’re most passionate about.

I wrote down every single time I did anything related to any of those categories – that includes online research, conversations, things that got me excited, actions I took, even just thoughts I had.

At the end of the 2 weeks, I looked at my passion map and saw that the writing and food/health categories were bursting at the seams. Whoa.

Shortly after, I went to the Artist’s Way workshop at Omega and I started a health blog. 🙂

In Landmark, they say — “To figure out what game you’re really playing in life, look at your actions.”

Your actions don’t lie.

Your actions will tell you what’s important to you.

Your actions will tell you what you’re really passionate about.

Start paying attention to your actions and keeping track of them. You might surprise yourself.  🙂


Love you guys.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Mairi June 19, 2014 at 11:29 am

Today is the first day of my 2 week break in which my only plan is to wake up each day see exactly what I want to do. When I woke up and knew I had to look at your blog and BAM! Thanks Jenny!


Ritu June 22, 2014 at 8:51 am

I so needed this blog right now Jenny. I think you had to bust it out just for me. I never realized that “too much passion” can actually a bad thing when it is unfocused. It’s totally counterproductive. I’m going to do the passion map for 2 weeks and report back on how it went. Hope you’re having a blast at Wunderlust! Love you! x Ritu


Marie June 11, 2015 at 5:56 am

Some stuff never grows old, eh?!

Guess your recent newsletter was meant to send me this way… and find out that apparently I’m NOT the only one who ran into the big wall of “OH EM GE!, Tooooo many options and things I wanna do!” 😉

Will keep track of my actions to starting today. I have an idea on how it might turn out over the next 14 days, but hey… I’m open for more options (wait… no… oh… well.. I’ll be passionated patient with myself!)

Thanks for sharing, Jenny!


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