Back when I was desperately searching for my purpose, a former coach walked me through The Passion TestTM process developed by Janet & Chris Attwood.
My greatest passion at that time? “Feeling connected to God.”
I was so mad! I wanted a sexier, more interesting passion. I wanted a passion that translated into a career, not a spiritual commitment.
My coach encouraged me to flesh out that passion further – to contemplate exactly what “feeling connected to God” looked like in my life, and how I would know if I got there. She asked me to list out three signs that would tell me I was living that passion. It was the bridge that got me from angry to ecstatic about my top passion.
When I feel connected to God, I:
- Take more risks, knowing that I’m always loved and supported.
- Feel connected to a source of endless joy.
- Feel confident and peaceful, knowing I’m one part of an interconnected whole.
When I look at what that passion means to me, of course it’s my top passion! My intuition knew this, my thinking mind needed to know what it would look like in order for me to get it. I just re-took the online version of the test in preparation for this post, and was unsurprised to find that three of my top five passions related to spirituality.
The Passion TestTM is a very powerful process of choosing your top five passions and then determining what they would look like in your day to day life. It’s also a simple process, and there are many ways to experience it – hiring a certified facilitator, taking an online version, or attending a seminar.
I would strongly recommend checking out your local library for The Passion Test by Janet & Chris Attwood as a first step to see if the process resonates with you. (Caveat: I thought the book would have been a profound pamphlet – stretching it to book length diluted the message a bit; skim if needed for the test and passion markers.)
As the test is the heart of the method, I don’t want to give it away here – instead I’d like to mention two things that struck me from the book:
Passions are about process.
“Passions are how you live your life. Goals are the things you choose to create in your life.” – Janet & Chris Attwood (Tweet it!)
So often we get swept up in goals – only to reach them and promptly create more. The juice and joy of life come from how we choose to live it. Passionate living comes from focusing on who you are being while you are going after your goals. The authors give the example of “being a millionaire” as a passion, while “making 2 million dollars” is a goal. “Being a millionaire” will translate for you as a certain way of living and being in the world.
You might think of a runner – her passion may be “I am embracing movement, letting my body fly, stretching myself to my physical limits.” Her goal might be to complete the Los Angeles marathon. I believe we often choose goals that we believe will give us the passion we are truly seeking. The person who decides to run a marathon may really want an active lifestyle, or the camaraderie of a running group, or the feeling of being accomplished. Focusing directly on passion allows us to go for the heart of what we want right away, then create goals from there.
It can be helpful to see other people’s passions in order to get a sense of what this means. Check out some sample results here for inspiration.
The authors recommend taking The Passion TestTM every six months, saying that we are always growing and evolving, and our passions are changing along with us. While you might have similar core themes, your immediate passions are always changing.
While reading some of the 1 star reviews on Amazon.com for this book, one of the complaints was just this – you have to check in every six months. I think this points to something in all of us – the delusional idea that we can ‘find our passion’ and then everything will be set. It’s not true; we’re always engaged in the process of life, and life is always changing. We cannot help changing with it, and our passions will always be evolving right along with us.
Instead of getting caught up in goals or finding the one true passion, I invite you to try this out this week: make a list of your top ten passions, making sure they are about process, not goals. Even if you don’t want to learn more about The Passion TestTM, this alone is enough to get your moving towards a more passionate life.
Leave a comment and share one of your top passions with us.
Want to live more passionately every day? Check out Rekindle Your Passion, a 30-Day jumpstart that will help you do just that!