In last week’s post I showed you a few initial steps to discover your passion.

Today, I have two more exercises to help you light your fire – so you can identify your unique mission and integrate it into your life and career.

Before we get started, let me point out a common pitfall when looking for passion and purpose: your brilliance is effortless, which might lead you to downplay it or overlook it. You might even think that it’s something you should not be doing.

One of my clients loves reading romantic love-stories and had convinced herself that indulging in steamy novels was a guilty pleasure. Luckily, she got over it. She realized that apart from reading juicy stories she also loves writing them. Today she is a published author.

Pay close attention to what lights you up – and be ready to allow what seems mundane to be your talent.


Exercise One: Brain Dump

Take a notebook and some undisturbed time. Get comfortable, relax, and let your thoughts wander.

When did you have most fun in your life? How did you spend your time? Where did you live? Who were you with? Write this down.

How about your current life? What do you enjoy most about it? If you could, what would you like to do more often? Do you like where you live? If not, what’s your ideal environment? What life style suits you? Who are the people you like spending time with? Again, record your observations.

Let your imagination run free. If you had a blank canvas and lots of color, how would you paint your life? Be careful not to judge your choices. If the skeptic in you starts chiming in, notice it, but don’t give it much attention. Whatever inspires, energizes, and delights you, give it a chance – even if it seems impractical or unrealistic.


Exercise Two: The Pieces of Your Puzzle

Take 20 index cards (or cut up 20 pieces of paper). On each piece write an activity you enjoy doing. If you made your list in exercise one, read through it and pick the 20 activities that most inspire you. These are the activities that let you forget time.

Once you are done, look over your pieces. Do some of them fit together naturally? Can you see a pattern? Can you identify clusters of activities that could blend into a project?

When I did this exercise many years ago, I came up with these pieces: talking to people, traveling, being social, reading, exploring new cultures, learning, living by the ocean, beauty, shopping, meeting new people, adventure, being creative, and designing.

When evaluating my puzzle, I realized that my love for people, my zest for learning, my passion for traveling, and my sense of adventure were the pieces that stood out the most. So I started to pursue those activities, which led me to become a life coach. Today, I am working with people all over the world, learning about their needs and helping them to make lasting changes in their lives. In the process, I get to travel, spend time in beautiful places, and live a life of adventure.

Do you see how this works? To dig even deeper, check out my blog post “The Pieces of Your Puzzle: A Find Your Gift Exercise”, or read my popular book ALIVE: A Practical Guide to Get Out of Your Head and into Your Heart. With each exercise you do and each book you read, you will gain greater clarity about your unique strengths and gifts.

Do you have activities that make you forget time and space? What do you love doing? Please share with us in the comments below or simply write to me. I’d love to hear from you.

As always, thank you for reading.



This post was first published on June 15, 2009