When I started talking to my friends about my new blog, I was surprised at how many people said to me, “I have no idea what my passion is,” or “I wouldn’t know where to start to figure out how to find my passion.”

That got me to thinking deeply about how I could help people identify their passions.
Passion isn’t just something that happens overnight. Generally, it develops over time. Here are some ways to start thinking about what drives you.

What makes you smile? If you are having trouble finding out what your passion is, take some time to think about what puts a smile on your face. Chances are there is something in there that you are passion about—working with kids, antique shopping, painting, watching a dog chase its tail, doing something with your hands, digging in the dirt. Think about ways to put more smiles on your face and you just might find a new passion.

What would you do for free? Money makes the world go ‘round, but often we do things for free because we want to; because it’s the right thing to do; because you couldn’t imagine taking money for something that you love doing. That’s a passion you didn’t know you have.

Can you make money on your passion? What if you could turn that hobby or side activity into a money-making opportunity? If you love it so much, you might actually be able to sell a product or service or idea. Now is the time to think about what you love doing, seeing, making or visiting—maybe that’s your passion. Wouldn’t that be something if you went looking for a passion and wound up with a career?

Do you have a favorite cause? Do you believe in something so much that you donate money, time or resources to it? If so, you might just have a secret passion hidden inside you waiting to erupt—perhaps it’s time to throw the doors open to your closed mind and see if there’s another way to help further the cause.

Is there an activity where you excel? We all have things we’re good at, but we don’t always pursue those things for one reason or another. Sometimes it’s hard to identify our own best skills or traits. Whether it’s pride or whether we just don’t want to brag on ourselves, we may not be pursuing our passions because we really don’t know where we excel. If that’s the case, ask a good friend, one that you value their opinion and one that isn’t afraid to tell you the truth, what’s your best skill, your most valued personality trait, the one thing that is most admired about you. I saw on a friend’s Facebook post— “What’s my one thing?” and I was amazed at how honest the friends were and how similar the posts were about that person. Finding where you excel could help you discover a new passion to pursue.

What did you dream of doing? When you were a kid what did you dream of doing with your life? Are you pursuing that dream? If not, maybe it’s time to think about taking a travel back in time and reconnecting with that childlike dream. Perhaps there’s a new way to make your dreams come true. You might have dreamed of being a superhero you loved in those old comic books. Well, you’re no Superman or Wonder Woman, but maybe there’s some way to turn those dusty old comics in your attic into cold cash. Maybe you can make dreams come true for needy kids, by fulfilling some of their wishes and then you’d be a real life superhero! Talk about putting a smile your face!

Do you like to talk about it? If you like something so much that’s all you talk about, then maybe that’s your passion. What do you read about all the time? What do you watch on TV all the time? What do you spend hours researching online? Can you turn that idle time into passion that others might enjoy, too? Perhaps you can teach people about what you love. Kindred spirits often spark creative outlets and where there’s creativity, there’s passion and sometimes even money to make!

How do I know I’ll like it? Finding our passions is about living new experiences. You can’t know if you’ll like it unless you experience it. It’s ok to be passionate about more than one thing. Sometimes several things you enjoy will evolve into a new passion that you didn’t know existed. Maybe you like sports and you like antiques—perhaps there’s a new passion you can enjoy involving sports memorabilia. Perhaps you loved riding a bike when you were a kid, but as an adult you’ve got no interest in hoping on two wheels, but you might like collecting different bikes or fixing up old ones for other people to ride. Give yourself permission to try new things; you may just uncover some hidden talents and new found passions.

Remember, you don’t have to have just one passion. Don’t give up if you don’t identify your passion right away. Passions have a funny way of finding us when we least expect it. You just have to be open to letting new opportunities come your way. Just telling yourself you’re ready to find your passion is the first step in a journey to living enthusiastically and passionately for life!