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 ©, Image #15344162

Photo courtesy of ©
  • 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


  • Dr Swag


  • 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 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?