You’re sitting on another weekly conference call. A manager starts speaking about the company’s goals and expectations.
Your team member chimes in with a corporate platitude like “ballpark,” “synergy,” or “moves the needle.”
You stare out the window, not at anything in particular, and face your career reality—a job that doesn’t matter in a building that you cannot wait to retreat from every day at 5pm.
Your job is devoid of passion.
You might not be this desperate but if you’re reading this article, you’re searching for something. Maybe it’s a promotion, job title, or a completely different company that will scratch your itch?
But passion is more powerful than a salary or job title. You’re looking to break free from the circumstances, path, or safety of your career to discover the fuel that gives your life purpose—passion.
At Foundr, we know that aspiring entrepreneurs feel a call to follow their passion. We’ve interviewed business leaders from all walks of life who gave up what’s comfortable to build something new.
Passion is what separates entrepreneurs from career followers. Passion is the catalyst for quitting your 9-to-5 or finally launching an idea that’s been living in your head rent-free.
In this guide, we’ll show you how to discover the entrepreneurial spirit within so that you can follow your passion toward fulfillment and purpose.
How to Find Your Passion
Where are you right now?
Is your job unfulfilling? Is your career not living up to your expectations? Is your business idea taunting you day and night? Or are you just tired of deciding what to do next?
If the answer is yes, you’re not alone. You’re at a crossroads that countless entrepreneurs have faced—especially in our modern job climate. It’s okay to admit that you fell into a job because it was convenient, or you started in the industry because that’s what you studied in school.
It doesn’t matter where you’ve been. It matters where you’re going.
Passion Discovery Questions
Discovering your passion will be the compass for your next step. But, first, you need to find the magnetic pole that drives you to do what you do best. So, here are some questions to help you start finding your passion:
- What is your favorite childhood memory? What were you doing? Who were you with?
- What was your favorite thing to do when you were at school? (Don’t just think about a subject. Remember what you did outside of the classroom too).
- What gets you into a flow state (a mental state where you aren’t paying attention to time)?
- What scene from a book, movie, or TV show causes an emotional reaction in you? What’s happening in the scene? Why did it move you?
- You have 24 hours and an unlimited budget to do whatever you want. What are you going to do? Who’s coming with you?
- What type of news story breaks your heart or makes you frustrated?
Do you see any themes in your answers? Are there unifying actions, settings, or people? You’re starting to discover the direction of your passion.
North Star and South Star Exercise
Now that you’re warmed up, it’s time to think about the person you want to be and don’t want to be. Following your passion is an active pursuit, but it can be challenging to follow a mission statement like “solve world hunger” or “create a brand that inspires people.”
Sometimes it’s easier to chase after the characteristics you admire or run away from the attributes you dislike. Matthew McConaughey describes this poetically after accepting the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. In the speech, he describes his hero as himself in 10 years:
So I turned 25. Ten years later, that same person comes to me and goes, “So are you a hero?” And I was like, “Not even close. No, no, no.” She said, “Why?” I said, “Because my hero’s me at 35.” So you see every day, every week, every month, and every year of my life, my hero’s always 10 years away. I’m never gonna be my hero. I’m not gonna attain that. I know I’m not, and that’s just fine with me because that keeps me with somebody to keep on chasing.
McConaughey is always pursuing the best version of himself. He’s a person that’s connected to his passions and follows them as a lifelong journey. Don’t worry; you don’t have to be an award-winning actor with a Yoda-like delivery to feel alright about pursuing your passion.
Here’s a simple exercise to help you follow your passion and become the best version of yourself.
- Take 2 sets of sticky notes (preferably different colors)
- Find a wall or whiteboard and separate it into 2 sections labeled “North Star” and “South Star.”
- Write down the attributes, skills, job titles, personality traits, hobbies, and gifts you have or admire. Place those under the “North Star” section. This could be as simple as “friendly smile” or as specific as “woodworking.” It’s up to you.
- In contrast, write down what you don’t want to be known for. For example, “isolated,” “difficult to work with,” “stuck in a cubicle,” or “regretful.”
- Step back. Look at what’s in your “North Star” section and “South Star” sections. Do you see any trends? Are there unifying ideas or concepts you can develop? These are the building blocks of your passion. Sometimes knowing what you don’t want helps you focus on what you do want.
- BONUS. Try to write 3-5 words on sticky notes that encapsulate your entire North Star/South Star results. Put these in a journal, type them in your phone, or even use them as the basis for a personal mission statement.
After this exercise, you might not have an epiphany about what you’re supposed to do with the rest of your life, but you’ll be well on the way to following your passion. Remember, passion isn’t a destination. It’s the motivation that gets you out of bed every morning.
How to Follow Your Passion
Following your passion is tricky, especially if you’re an aspiring entrepreneur. To follow your passion, you need to be honest with yourself. It takes the willingness from within to overcome the challenges that will inevitably come your way.
Are comfort and security more important than doing something that fulfills you?
Are you willing to give up normalcy—regular work hours, a steady paycheck—to follow your passion?
Are you ready to accept rejection, failure, and criticism to follow your passion?
Sometimes your passion won’t be what your business does but what it provides you or your customers. For example, your passion could be leading people and making your hometown more environmentally friendly. That passion could align with a solar panel installation company, an upcycled clothing store, or a nonprofit community garden program.
Here are questions to ask to help you follow your passion in business:
- Do you like working with people or prefer to be independent?
- Do you like making decisions that influence a group of people, organization, or system?
- Do you find gratification in completing simple tasks done in a short amount of time or solving long-term problems that can take months to complete?
- Do you work best when someone assigns you a task or when you figure it out yourself?
- Do you need a set structure to accomplish things, or do you like every day being different?
Once you discover your passion, you need to take action. Check out our catalog of free business courses. Our instructors have the startup experience to help you take the next step in your passion.