Find Your Passion in Three Steps

This is a guest post by Mary DeMuth. She is an author, speaker and book mentor. She has published ten books, including her most recent, 150 Quick Questions to Get Your Kids Talking. You can follow her on Twitter and Facebook. If you want to guest post on this blog, check out the guidelines here.

As a book mentor, I’ve read plenty of passionless prose. And as a fellow pilgrim, I’ve listened to many people who shyly look away when I ask them what their passion is. Why is that? I have a hunch that many of us have a hard time identifying our passion. Why? Several reasons:

A Man Rock Climbing a Huge Boulder - Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/vernonwiley, Image #15344162

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/vernonwiley
  • Our insecurities define us more than our hidden, suppressed dreams.
  • We are afraid to boast.
  • We see the vastness of the world and feel insignificant or overwhelmed to make a difference.
  • We feel it’s selfish to become introspective.
  • We’re extremely busy maintaining an overbooked life and don’t have time to reconsider why we’re working ourselves to death.
  • We think it’s wrong to do what we love.
  • We feel the sting of rejection the last time we tried operating in our passion, and we’ve let that rejection scare us.
  • We are afraid if we identify it, we’ll have to do something, to act on it (and that means risking failure).

Which excuses resonate with you? Why?

I don’t write this to impugn, though. I write this to entice and instruct. You can find your passion. In fact, you will find it. Here are three simple steps.

  1. Where does need and joy collide? Theologian Frederick Buechner wrote this: “Vocation is where our greatest passion meets the world’s greatest need.” I would add to that: our ministry is the intersection of our passion and the world’s greatest need. One way to determine your passion, though, is discovering what you believe to be the world’s greatest need. The passion flows from that.

    For instance, I believe the world’s greatest need is to heal from the past to live freely today. My passion is to write in such a way that I can help people live free.

    So, what is the world’s greatest need, according to you? What you hope to do about that gets at your passion.

  2. Do the three-movie exercise. One of the favorite things I do with groups is to do this exercise I learned about on a writer’s loop. Without thinking too much, list your three favorite movies. Here are three of mine:
    • Star Wars
    • Lord of the Rings
    • To Kill a Mockingbird

    Now, examine those three movies and determine the common thread that runs through each.

    Mine? Outcasts who overcome their past to absolutely change the world.

    This statement closely resembles (if not mimics) your passion in this life. Try it. You’ll be stunned at how closely the thread hints at your passion. I’d love for you to share your three movies and the common thread in the comments below.

  3. Ask others about “one thing.” When I struggled to find my passion, I knew I was too close to myself to identify it. So I emailed several of my friends and posted on my Facebook wall this question: “What is my one thing?”

    Though I received tons of responses (thankfully), I was surprised at how very similar the responses were. I know this might seem awkward or self-serving, but I found that people were much more open to my request than I initially believed they would be. And they were entirely insightful. Take a risk and ask. What can it hurt?

    Your “one thing” answers will strongly indicate your passion.

A final thought: Once you’ve identified your passion, you can begin to reorient your life around it. You can make difficult decisions in order to do the thing God has uniquely created you to do. Just think of how the Kingdom of God would explode if we dared to live from our passion!

Question: Based on the above, how would you define your passion? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
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  • gnd

    My favourite movies are 100 hours, Hadewijch and the virgin suicides.. With this choices I find it very difficult to find my passion.

  • Confused

    1. P.S. I Love You
    2. 50 First Dates
    3. The Wedding Singer

    What do my movies say about me? Love conquers all? But what does this mean to me? Still working on my passion….

  • AJ

    Hi….the three movies I came up with are….What girls learn, The boy with the striped pajamas and Titanic!! I’m struggling trying to find the common threads tho

  • Charlie

    Roman Holiday, Before Sunrise and Annie.

  • Christoski

    so I have three favorite movies and a very close 4th. I’m not sure the common thread though(?). The Jerk, Dumb and Dumber and Gladiator. The 4th, which is always on my top choices, is Being there.

  • still looking

    My fav movies are Up and Limitless.

  • Dr Swag

    I HAVE SWAG YOU NEGROS

  • Dr Swag

    DR SWAG HERE WITH A MESSAGE TO YOU ALL: YOU SMELL

  • Bryan

    My three movies are The Lion King, The Dark Knight Rises, and either Idiocracy or Crash. What do they have in common lol?

  • Guest

    My favorites are, Its a wonderful life, Sabrina, and my man Godfrey. In thee end I think the common thread is, Love is always the answer. Any other ideas?

  • Penny L Johnson

    the task looming in my near horizon is to complete a scholarship essay on topic, “tell us about your passion.” my cluelessness led me to michaelhyatt.com and i have found some clues to guide me; thank you very much. my top three movies include Sky High, Sound of Music, Master and Commander. possible thread? discovering and using personal character against inner opposition.

  • Cindy

    Sound of Music, Yours,Mine and Ours, and To Kill a Mockingbird. I love seeing the differences in individuals and how we can help others achieve their goals even if it’s against the norm. I have five children that I home schooled all the way through. It was an interesting post. Thanks.

  • Jose Risueno

    I found your advice more helpful than any other.Thanks.

  • Pratik [ INDIA]

    Hi, I just Seen this Post, Like it. I am from India.

    Movie List:

    1. 3 Idiot (Full movie)

    2. jo jeeta wohi sikandar ( Ending Part )

    3. the pursuit of happiness (Somewhat)

    From this List, I identify that i like motivational movies, To achieve something in Life.

    But really i am not able to identify my actually Passion.

    There are two things in Life Attraction and Love … If we see something we feel

    Yes I will do this thing then we feel no it is not my desire. How to find our Actual desire

    in life.. Very confusing thing.. Looks like all Law of Attraction.

    I am Computer Software Engineer I was doing Job Good Salary, But i feel that I want to

    do Master Study so, I leave Job and Doing preparation of Study..

    Then feeling that in Future i will make some Worlds bes Software product and

    will start my Company….

    Dont know…. I thinik No one will be sure regarding their future,

    We need to connect Dots from our Past…

    But Still not clear What is my Exact Passion… :-)

  • Edward Meyers

    My passion is working dogs (Police K9/Sport). As a Christian I have a hard time internally with this. I feel that my passion should be Christ and living a Christ like life. I have a hard time justifying the time, energy, and money that I put into my “dog life”. I try to understand how I can let these endeavors glorify God but simply don’t. Any advice?

    • AJ

      Being passionate about Christ and living a Christ like life doesn’t mean that we all have to be pastors or church leaders. His command is that we love God with all our heart and mind, and love our neighbor as ourselves. As long as your “dog life” is not something you worship over God, He doesn’t have a problem with that. In fact, God needs for Christ minded people to be in the marketplace demonstrating who He is.

      Christ’s disciples all had vocations. True they left them to follow him, but if you read in scripture (Luke 22:35-36), He had them to return to them. I believe this time was to get their hearts and minds right, so that when they went back to their profession, they would do so knowing that He was their Source and not their vocations.

      Again, nothing should take the place of God in your life, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t have a passion for other things as well.

  • Donna Cates

    Gone With the Wind, It’s a Wonderful Life, and Miracle on 34th Street. Common thread would maybe be optimism in the face of adversity? Believing in the positives?

  • Tenzin

    Hello Micheal,
    I réally want to know my passion. I went through your text.. but I didn’t understand well about the movie. Like me I like the movie such as The Hobbit, Harry Potter,the journey to the moon.. can u please help me what is my passion? I m currently studies in commerce school but I didn’t know is this really success my life ?? hope u will send me reply on my Email :rinpochegyur@yahoo.co.in Thanks

  • suzanne robertson

    I am really struggling. My favorite movie is Seabiscuit, To Kill a Mockingbird and The Edge. I don’t see anything common in these. I love Seabiscuit because the story is circular and all the element come together. I love Mockingbird because I want to be Scout and have Atticus for a father. And I love The Edge because I love the beauty of Alaska and the escape from danger. What am I missing???

  • tammajenna

    I think the thing the world needs most is money. I would do anything besides hurt others to get some. I wouldn’t care what the job was, I really have no interests other than money. I say this because it sucks to be broke. I used to be a dancer, I loved it so much. When it was over I got lost and became poor. My favorite movies: Hard Rain, The Green Mile, Saving Private Ryan. I don’t see the connection though.

  • Tim Brown

    Michael, I hope you remember me. I am the guy that spoke to you not long ago about my book I am currently trying to publish called God Still Speaks: The Miracle at Fall Creek Falls.

    I wanted to ask you, do you think that building a platform and offering products, and monetizing, would work for someone who’s passion is ministry and helping others live the abundant life (free from the past, addiction, pain, etc. that keeps us from living in the fullness of God’s divine destiny for us)? I struggle between having a passion that classically is not something you can “monetize,” and having an income to provide for my family. Is my niche the proverbial rock and a hard place, or do you see this core message as something that a platform could be built around?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      It’s hard to say, Tim. It really depends on what you plan to offer of value.

      • Tim Brown

        Thank you for your reply. The value I see is that everything God showed my wife and I has great value for others too. Learning how to hear God’s voice in your life and experience Him day to day, learning how to live with a whole heart from God, free from the pain of the past, addictions, and other limiting factors that keep us from walking in the abundant life that Jesus talked about, navigating the waters of tragedy and overcoming grief to once again mount up with hope and a future, how marriages and families can not only survive in the face of loss, but thrive (again the 85% divorce rate for people within our “statistic”), and. on.

        So far these things have been contained in my first two books, God Still Speaks: The Miracle at Fall Creek Falls, and A Faith That Moves Mountains: What Happens When Faith Finds the Miraculous. But I could see many ancillary things associated with this that could be offered to a platform. Like my wife and I thought about writing a book for married couples who have children with TBI, called Grieving the Child You Never Lost.

        There are other things. But I appreciate your advice and taking the time to speak with me. Blessings.

      • Tim Brown

        Thank you for your reply. The value I see is that everything God showed my wife and I has great value for others too. Learning how to hear God’s voice in your life and experience Him day to day, learning how to live with a whole heart from God, free from the pain of the past, addictions, and other limiting factors that keep us from walking in the abundant life that Jesus talked about, navigating the waters of tragedy and overcoming grief to once again mount up with hope and a future, how marriages and families can not only survive in the face of loss, but thrive (again the 85% divorce rate for people within our “statistic”), and. on.

        So far these things have been contained in my first two books, God Still Speaks: The Miracle at Fall Creek Falls, and A Faith That Moves Mountains: What Happens When Faith Finds the Miraculous. But I could see many ancillary things associated with this that could be offered to a platform. Like my wife and I thought about writing a book for married couples who have children with TBI, called Grieving the Child You Never Lost.

        There are other things. But I appreciate your advice and taking the time to speak with me. Blessings.

  • Christopher Leo Lazzaro

    Just found you yesterday when searching leadership podcasts. So far what I’ve listened to and read are great. This article in particular was fun and right now I’m trying to determine whats common among my favorites.
    1. Once Upon a time in the West
    2. The Royal Tenenbaums
    3. Fifth Element

  • Crystal

    Well my favorite movies are Gremlins, Ghostbusters, and Emperors New Groove… Those are the first three that came to mind – although I have several I like.

  • Brian

    3 movie exercise:

    Big Fish

    Lord of the Rings

    A Perfect World

  • Christine

    Went one step further, four favorite movies: Master and Commander; The Guns of Navarone, Harry Potter and the Scorcer’s Stone, and Raiders of the Lost Ark. Common thread: Good triumphs over evil/bad. I liked this little test; it is my passion! This has me thinking differently now about my life’s plan. Thank you!

  • Hailey

    My three movies are:
    - Atonement
    - Thirteen
    - Wizard of Oz

    Does anyone see the common thread that runs through these?

  • Rita

    Favorite movies: It’s a Wonderful Life, Something the Lord Made, and either Schindler’s List or Le Chambon: La Colline Aux Enfants

  • http://angelajford.com/blog Angela Ford

    Excellent post and quite inspiring, I tend to have a touch time finding my passions and identifying them out of the list of things people “think” I should do. I love that you listed your top 3 movies, our first 2 overlap!