Although I relate closely to all of my content here on CGL, this post resonates very close to my heart because I only recently discovered my passion. For many years now I have felt adrift at sea, lost in an uncertainty that was really uncharacteristic of me because growing up, I always felt like I had a sense of who I was and what I wanted to do with my life. As an adult and now nearing 30, I realized two things: that I was naive in believing my life would play out a certain way without having any sense of focus, and that despite everything it was – and is – possible for me to have more than one main passion in my life.
I was working a standard 9-5 job in an industry that I’d been in for nearly 10 years. I was good at what I did, based on experience alone, but the work never made my heart sing. It didn’t encourage me out of bed in the morning. It wore me down like wood being whittled, inch by inch. It didn’t fulfill me like I wanted to be fulfilled, and seeing as how I was floating towards an early-life crisis I became desperate to fill my hours with work that meant something to me, and didn’t just earn me a paycheck. So when it came time for me to sit down and seriously analyze what I wanted to dedicate myself and my time to, I came up gut-wrenchingly empty.
I had many interests, many loves, and while a handful of them I could imagine dedicating my hours to, it would be extremely difficult to make a living doing it. I immediately felt defeated and resigned myself to being stuck behind a desk for the rest of my days with no thought to traveling or enjoying anything outside of a monotonous existence. Which, of course, plunged me into a dark time of depression and fierce anxiety to the point that I was suffering intrusive thoughts so self-deprecating that I won’t go into detail.
Everything changed the day I heard the phrase “Law of Attraction“. Intrigued, I googled it and discovered an entire toolbox of methods and ways to identify my life’s passion that I’d never heard of before. Or, in many instances, had simply never considered worth my time. Then I hit the motherload: Passion Planners.
What is a Passion Planner?
I had never heard of them before until that day. In various life coaching appointments I’d heard the phrase “find your life purpose” and used exercises like the harmony wheel, but I hadn’t been looking at it from my current perspective (aka desperation). An entire daily planner (equal parts journal, daily calendar, monthly goal-setter, and provoking self-assessment) dedicated to finding my life’s passion and balancing the various elements of my existence was new to me, and strangely intriguing/scary. I ordered one off of amazon (click here to see the exact one I purchased – I highly recommend it!) and the moment it arrived at my front door, I knew that I was in for a life-changing experience.
The planner itself is simple enough in appearance: it’s like any other leather-back writing journal, but the front immediately catches your eye. The version I bought (undated so I wasn’t wasting missed months) was pink and the cover inscribed with the Laws of Attraction, and a perfect size to tuck into my back or carry with me.
The planner is laid out in a way that you can plan your month and your weeks at a glance separately, and there are sections of in-depth and thought-provoking questions before and after each month.
The beginning of the planner walks you through a series of questions to help you identify the areas of your life that need a boost: your relationships, money, and career to name a few. The further along the planner’s beginning pages you travel, you find a plethora of resources at your disposal for discovering what it is you value most in your life, overcoming self-doubt, setting daily/weekly/monthly goals, and how to find your ‘wins’ in your day. These ‘wins’ (anything positive that occurred, no matter how large or small) will anchor you in your path to finding your passion and teach you to show gratitude for them, because the success of your passion is rooted in the strength of your gratitude. No joke! Once I realized that my negative outlook (my failure) was changing the path of my success, I shifted my focus to identifying my wins, showed them gratitude, and everything suddenly seemed brighter. It sounds silly, but don’t knock the planner yet!
Much like the bullet journal, the Passion Planner encourages a lot of creative freedom with its design, which was one of the other main elements that quickly attracted me to the idea of purchasing one. I’m all about getting creative with stickers, highlighters and colored pens, which gave me an excuse to get new ones… I figured it was worth it! A quick search brought me to these amazing life quotes stickers, and this perfect and high-quality Erin Condren Decorative Stickerbook! I love how they make my planner look and feel, giving the pages a unique flair as well as an encouraging message to keep me on track with my planning.
There are entire sections of the planner that follow each month that are a blank canvas where you can design, cut, paste and color your interests and focuses. I like to use mine to give flair and focus to my main goals and passions, which in turn keeps me revitalized anytime I look back on my progress throughout the planner.
Stay on Track
For many, the depth of the Passion Planner can be a bit overwhelming at first. The questions it asks are very deep and will take time; you won’t (and shouldn’t!) breeze right through them, but instead take time to find some clarity with the answers because after all, this planner is designed to help you find your passions. It brings your focus onto the ones that light up your life, that make your heart sing, and that you can use to spend your hours and even make a living off of. My blog “Blogging For Beginners: How to Find Your Niche” talks about narrowing your passions into a viable and targeted blog theme, so be sure to give that a read if you are wanting to focus your passions into an online writing project.
Don’t let the Planner frighten you off. Stick with it. Stay on track. As someone who gets easily distracted, I found it hard to get into the habit of writing in my planner every day to chronicle my wins, set my goals, and get creative with the pages. I conquered this by dedicating time to write in it every night before bed; I even set up a tiny “journal station” on my bedside table that includes my planner, pens, highlighters and stickers. When I wake in the morning it’s easy to reach over, grab my planner and start my day with it. I carry it with me everywhere, always on hand in case I need to write down a ‘win’ or need a boost of encouragement about my passion.
So… What is your Passion?
It took some time, but with the help of the Passion Planner, not only did I discover that my chief passion is creative writing and design, but also that I can use many of my “side passions” (geek stuff, comicon, forum roleplay, etc) in conjunction with my chief passion. This quickly morphed into this very blog! To top that off with a proverbial cherry, the Planner helped me organize my life and quiet my anxiety and depression by giving me a much-needed sense of direction and self-worth.
Although I still deal with day-to-day stresses, this Planner has given me an arsenal of weapons to use against self-doubt and feeling overwhelmed. I really hope that it helps you too.
Whether you use a planner or not, what are your passions? What are things you want to spend your days doing, and potentially make a living off of? Share them in the comments, and we can encourage each other on reaching those goals.