If someone asks about what you love to do, most of us think about our hobbies. Now, however, with so many losing jobs or having to accept reduced income, hobbies feel like a distant luxury.
But getting in touch with your true passions doesn’t pertain just to leisure activities. Passion is absolutely key if you need to reinvent your working self to find a new job.
Why? Because you’ll need powerful, consistent motivation to keep going and push through the inevitable false starts and refusals you’ll encounter as you shape a new direction. If you’re not passionate about what you’re doing, it’s too easy to become discouraged and give up.
The first task on your road to reinvention is, therefore, to reconnect with your passions, those activities that create what psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi calls ‘flow’. In his book of the same name, he describes the experience of flow as those occasions ‘when a person’s body or mind is stretched to its limits in a voluntary effort to accomplish something difficult and worthwhile’.
When you’re in flow, you forget about time passing, about whether you’re comfortable – about everything except your current efforts. And when you finish, the sense of pride and accomplishment is unbeatable.
When seeking to rediscover flow, it’s easy to make the mistake of looking short-term. Before lockdown, the reason you went to the gym or sang in the choir may have been because it fitted your schedule, or because friends were doing the same thing.
To find your unique wellspring, you need to look much farther back, just before you entered puberty. This is the time when what you cared about is most indicative of your true self. It’s the time when you were independent enough not to need to please your parents constantly, but hadn’t yet entered adolescence when your over-riding concern was to please your chosen peer group.
At the end of adolescence, the need to find work, a partner, and perhaps start a family demanded your full attention, so early passions were forgotten.