The Big Idea
Everyone has purpose… you just need to discover it.
Questions I Answer
- How do I figure out my purpose?
- Is there an exercise or strategy to help uncover my purpose?
- How do I get unstuck?
- What can I do to figure out what I’m passionate about?
Actions to Take
- Use my 4 tips and uncover what you are passionate about. Once you’ve discovered your passions, make time for them on your calendar!
- Take the first steps to find your passion and purpose by pre-ordering my book, Joy of Missing Out
Key Topics in the Show
Uncovering your passion and purpose in life (and how this is different than a hobby!)
4 categories we want to overlap when taking our passion to the next level
Pinpointing which passions are most valuable to you
How to get started working toward your passion even if you feel stuck
- Tips to help you figure out your passion
Resources and Links
- Watch my most recent TanyaTV episode, How to Find an Extra Hour in Your Day (My 5 BEST Tips)
- 4 Tips to Help You Unocve
Welcome to Season 11 of Productivity Paradox with Tanya Dalton, a podcast
focused on finding true fulfillment and happiness through the power of productivity. Join Tanya this season as she explores the theme of small changes for big impact.
Hello, hello everyone. Welcome to Productivity Paradox. I’m your host, Tanya Dalton, and this is episode 134, Taking Passion to the Next Level. This season we’re discussing how small changes can have a big impact. Our focus is on taking these small steps, making these small shifts in our mindset in order to create bigger wins. Small changes lead the life we want, bit by bit, day by day. It’s all these little tiny shifts that really can make a difference.
Today, I want to talk about the difference between hobbies and passion and true purpose, because I think finding and pursuing your passion and figuring out your purpose can be a small step towards something big. You know, like true happiness and fulfillment. I want to first spend a little bit of time defining and demystifying hobbies versus passion versus purpose. Because sometimes I find that people use these words interchangeably, but I really believe they have these slight nuances that set them apart.
A hobby, let’s start there. A hobby by definition is an activity done for enjoyment, not usually done as a profession or for pay. Typically, hobbies are considered to be fun pastimes. Things that you enjoy that are done in your spare time, outside of work, whatever work is for you, whether that’s a paying job or you’re a full time parent or a full-time student. Hobbies would be the extracurricular things you do outside of your quote unquote work hours, so to speak. Maybe it’s knitting or reading for example. Basically, those fun things that you like to do in your spare time, but they don’t really pay the bills.
Although just because they don’t have a paycheck tied to them doesn’t mean they’re not important. Hobbies are still really important because they bring us happiness and joy. Just because they don’t pay the bills doesn’t mean they’re not valuable
Now compared to a hobby, a passion tends to have a more powerful connotation to it because it has a much stronger emotional connection tied to it. The definition of a passion is an intense desire or enthusiasm for something. A passion could be a hobby, but it would be a hobby that you really, really, really, really love to do and you would probably be willing to drop all the other things, to do particular hobby over anything else if you could.
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Let’s go back to the example of knitting. Maybe you have a passion for knitting, which means that you knit things with yarn and maybe you also knit wire and make jewelry or knit rope and make throw rugs or anything that can possibly knitted, you will knit. Or maybe you even teach knitting to middle school kids or your part of a women’s social knitting club, sort of like a book club.
Your love for knitting has been amped up and it’s a lot more to you than just a hobby. It’s something you really, truly enjoy and you have a really strong emotional connection to it. But passion doesn’t necessarily have to be a hobby. Quite honestly, it could be something that you’re just really enamored with. Something that gets you fired up and exhilarated. For example, you could be passionate about helping women who are victims of abuse or rescuing abandoned animals or teaching people how to read or anything else that you feel moved by. It really is about this emotional connection and since passion is linked to one’s emotions, you could sort of think of it as the what behind someone’s drive or motivation.
Now purpose is a little bit different than hobbies and passions. The meaning of purpose is the reason for which something is done. When you think of it, in comparison to passion, which we just said is the what purpose tends to be the why behind someone’s motivations. For example, maybe it’s because you really love serving the homeless. I’m here to serve soup in a soup kitchen because I want to help those who are less fortunate than lam. The purpose behind your action, the action being of course serving soup, that is your why. That’s the purpose and the why in this scenario is about helping to make a difference to others who are struggling with homelessness.
Purpose is what drives you and it keeps you coming back to do what it is you want to do, whether that’s volunteering or whatever, but it’s what makes you want to do even the not so glamorous parts of what you want to do, like cleaning out the stalls of the animal shelter. Definitely a smelly, not so glamorous part, but something you do willingly anyways if your purpose is tied to helping animals, that’s because of your why. That’s what drives you to be okay with doing the not so glamorous parts.
For just a minute, let’s just compare passion and purpose. Some people believe that passion is typically more about yourself. It’s more internal. It’s what you are passionate about, not what others are passionate about, but what is really important to you internally. Whereas purpose tends to be about others, more about the external, how your actions affect other people.
Here’s the catch when it comes to purpose, just because you’re good at something, just because something comes easy to you, that doesn’t it’s your purpose. Sometimes those things that we’re good at don’t really bring us joy and your purpose should absolutely positively bring you joy and happiness. Extraordinarily high amounts of joy into your life. Your purpose should make you just spring out of bed in the morning, should fire you up and should make you feel like it’s your reason for being. This idea behind having a reason for being is a Japanese
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concept called ikigai and there’s a lot of buzz around this word right now and I think it’s really pertinent for anyone’s pursuit of passion or purpose.
The idea is that when you no longer have something that gets you out of bed in the morning, then you’re sort of dead inside. Even though you’re still alive, you just don’t really have that fire in your belly that gets you excited and drives you forward. And I’m sure some of us have felt this way on Monday morning when we’re heading to a job that we don’t really love. We feel a little deflated and hollow as opposed to alive and invigorated. With ikigai, you’re trying to find the intersection of four things in order to discover your reason for being. What you love, what you’re good at, what you can get paid for, and what the world needs.
At the intersection of these four things, what you love, what you’re good at, what you can get paid for, and what the world needs, that is ikigai or your reason for being. There’s actually a really helpful diagram of ikigai that visually shows this concept using circles for each of those four categories. And it’s where these circles meet and overlap, where these different things come together, your passion, your mission, your profession, your vocation. That is where ikigai lives. We want all four of
those categories to overlap. If you have three out of the four things, you’re still missing something in life.
Let’s say for example, if you’re doing what you love and what you’re good at and it’s something the world needs but not really something you could get paid for, well then in theory you’ll find yourself happy and fulfilled, but financially broke. After all, you need money to put forth the mission. If you have something that is your purpose, you can’t do it for free, at least not full-time because we all got to pay the bills, unfortunately. It really is this intersection of all four of those things come together.
On the flip side of that, if you end up on the opposite side, getting paid to do something that you’re good at and what the world needs, but you don’t really love it, then ultimately, yes, you’ll be financially comfortable, but you’ll also feel bored and a little hollow. To be honest with you, that’s exactly where I was with my first business doing something that checked three of those boxes. I was getting paid for it, it was something I felt like the world needed and it was something I was good at, but I was missing that one thing. I didn’t really love it. It made me feel hollow and unsatisfied.
With ikigai, the goal here is to have all four of those come together. We want to avoid despair, which is when you believe that tomorrow will just be a repeat of the day before. You know that pattern where every day feels the same. A little bit like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day. What we really want is to wake up each and every day with a sense of anticipation and excitement. With a sense of purpose, a reason to get out of bed each morning. That is what we want in life, isn’t it?
What does this all mean? We’ve been dissecting the idea of hobbies and passion and purpose, but now what? Well, when it comes to pursuing happiness, you can ask yourself questions like, what do I like to do? What are the hobbies I like? What is my interest? What am I passionate about?
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But sometimes it’s not that simple. It’s not that clear. And when you’re not sure what to do in life or you’re not quite sure how to answer those questions, it can be really overwhelming and people love to give sage advice like, well, just follow your passion. Or, you just need to find your purpose in life. There are some of you out there who can say, “Okay, yes, I know exactly what my purpose is.” But that’s very few people who know it from the get-go, who know it from childhood. For most of us, we have to dig a little deeper to figure that out
If you’re someone who isn’t quite sure, believe me, you are not alone. That’s exactly the brick wall that I kept coming up against when I knew I wanted to shut down my first business because I was waking up on Monday morning, not feeling on fire for my job, missing my ikigai. I felt hollow because I didn’t love what I was putting forth into the world. I knew I wanted to do something tied to my purpose only I didn’t know what my purpose was and that was so incredibly frustrating. I kept trying to figure it out, but I had no idea where to start
If you’re in that same boat that I was in, struggling or stuck and not sure of what path to take, know that it can feel frustrating. It may feel like you just want the answer handed to you or for someone just to light the way and tell you exactly which path to take. I used to say, this point in my life when I was dealing with all of this, that I would love God to just give me a Post-it note saying, “Hey, it’s going to be okay. You’re going to figure it out. It’ll be all good.”
But unfortunately, that’s not exactly how it works. It’s not that simple. And truly some of the struggle is what leads you to your true purpose. It’s those breadcrumbs that we have talked about here on the podcast in the past. It’s all of the good, the bad, and the ugly that we’ve lived through that gets us to where we are today. And
that oftentimes is steeped in your purpose. We have to go through this process, and we have to discover it for ourselves. You have to do the detective work because you are the only one who knows you best.
Look, I know that’s not a clear-cut answer that you really would love. We all would love that Post-it note, wouldn’t we? And honestly, I wish I could hand you that Post-it note. I wish it could be that easy, but truly it is in the journey. It really is uncovering what is truly important to you, what are your passions? And that can help drive you to your purpose. And you discovering that for yourself, that is an important part of it.
What I would love to do is I would love to give you a few tips to help get you started on this process of uncovering your passion and your purpose. And I’ll do that for you in just a minute. But first let’s give a quick word to today’s sponsor.
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All right, so let’s get back to this idea of uncovering what is our passion? What is our purpose? What are the things we want to do and why do we want to do them? And as I mentioned, it’s so important to do this work yourself and to know that sometimes it takes time. It’s hard to be patient, I know, but it really does help. These are just four very simple tips to get you started.
The first one is make a master list. Start small with that first step. It’s always good to take one little step forward because that gets the momentum going. Remember we’re talking about making small changes for big impact. Simply begin by writing down all of those hobbies, the passions, the dreams and the goals, anything and everything you like to do, things that you’ve done in the past that brought you a lot of joy, things that you wish you were doing, things that you want to do before you’re too old to go and do them and are withering away, wishing that you had actually done them.
You get my point. What are the things you really love? Think back to the things that you used to do when you were younger that brought you so much joy and happiness. The things you no longer do because you don’t think you have the time, write those down. The things that light you up, the things that make you happy, list it all out. Don’t think, don’t filter just write, because then we get to tip number two, Prioritize that list.
Now I want you to comb through that list and start prioritizing it. Looking for patterns in the things you’ve written down. For example, if five or six of the things on your list have to do with making something with your hands or some form of craftsmanship, maybe that’s a sign that you’re passionate about crafting things and creating things with your hands. Jack Canfield, co-creator of the Chicken Soup For The Soul series, mentions using a passion test as a way to figure out and prioritize your passions.
It’s a concept developed by Chris and Janet Attwood. What you do is you basically write down this phrase, 10 to 15 times. My life is ideal when I’m blank. And you fill in the blank or the verb or an action. For example, my life is ideal when I’m helping people realize their potential. Or, my life is ideal when I’m writing novels.
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Whatever it is that makes you feel like your life is ideal, write that down. You do it 10 to 15 times. You write down these statements and then you go through that list and you prioritize your top five and that should basically pinpoint the top five passions in your life, the things that are most important and valuable to you. This step of prioritizing really helps clarify what is most important.
And then move on to tip number three, which is do a quick reality check. Listen, I want to be honest here. Whether you chase a hobby, follow your passion, find your purpose, no matter what you decide to pursue, you have to consider whether or not you’re willing to take that on in good times and in the bad, in the sunshine or the hellacious torrential thunderstorm. In other words, are you willing to fight for that thing when times get tough? Because if you don’t think that you want to move mountains to do whatever it is you want to do, it’s probably just a eh, on your list and
you should keep searching. We want to find the things we want to discover those things that make you want to walk on nails or climb mountains. That’s how you know you found what you’re looking for. And we talk about this in my book, but it’s true. Just because you’re on the right path doesn’t mean that it is free of stones or brambles to fight through.
But when you know your purpose, when you’re pursuing your passion, it’s easier to fight through the thorns that get in the way. There’s going to be rough times even when you’re on the right path, so you have to be willing to fight for it. Ask yourself, is this really something I’m willing to do no matter what? That’s a really good filtering question.
And then the tip number four that I really want to hit home with you is this, make time for your passions and your purpose. I really shouldn’t have to say this but making the list and prioritizing it and figuring out if you love it, for better or worse, it
does you no good if you don’t take this one last step forward of making things a reality. The excuse that you don’t have time to do the things you love to do is just that. It’s an excuse. You’ve taken the time to make the list. You’ve taken the time to pinpoint the top three to five passions you have, so now honor it. Schedule this into your calendar. Set aside 30 minutes a day or a few hours each week to dedicate to your passion because I promise you it’s absolutely worth it when you do that.
I know because I had to do that for myself. My Passion was writing the book, the Joy of Missing Out, and if I just waited until I had the time to do it, it would never have gotten written. You have to create that space for yourself and that’s actually what my Tanya TV episode is about this week, how to get an extra hour in your day so you can pursue that passion project. I think not having the time is the most used excuse I hear from people when it comes to their passion project or goal.
But I promise you, you do have the time. After all, if I could do this, if I could write this book and still do my podcast and still run my business and still run my family, you can do it too. I promise you, you can. And I want to show you how to Tanyadalton.com/tv to check out my Tanya TV episodes. As always, those Tanya TV episodes are designed to dive even deeper into the concepts and ideas we talk
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about here because that is what I want for you. I want you to discover your passion, your purpose, what are the things that make you not want to get out of bed but spring out of bed. And my goal for today is to inspire you to uncover your passion, your purpose, and prioritize it, honor it, and dedicate time for it, so happiness can follow.
I know this might seem very daunting. I was in that same position myself, but I promise uncovering purpose, passion and priorities, it doesn’t have to be hard. I actually have a course that walks you through the entire process. I hold your hand through it, and I make it so much easier. And the results that people have when they go through this course are so powerful. And the best part is you can get access to this course, which is a $247 value for free. That’s right for free. Do you remember last week how I said I would be sharing the pre-order bonuses for the book with you and then I had some really amazing bonuses? I didn’t lie. This course is going to be free for anyone who pre-orders the book. This has been a part of my lar course for the last few years and I’m absolutely thrilled to be able to offer it to you for free.
Honestly, I can’t tell you the number of powerful stories I’ve heard from women who have gone through this course, who have told me it has changed their lives. That gets me fired up and that’s why I really wanted to offer this for free so that people like you could really start to understand what is truly important to you. Please, do grab this bonus, grab onto this free course because it’s not going to be free after the pre order period. It’s going to be back to that $247 price. Simply go to joyofmissing out.com to get all the details. But honestly, it’s as simple as pre-ordering the book and then claiming the bonuses and yes, bonuses, plural, because there’s more than one. Just head to joyofmissing out.com to check it out. For the price of a book, you can have access to this amazing course. That gets me so excited.
All right, speaking of being excited, next week I’ll have another episode where we’re talking about small changes for big impact. We’re going to be talking about the importance of having flexibility in our lives to push through moments of challenge and adversity, and I can’t wait for you to listen into that.
All right, so until next time, have a beautiful and productive week.
Thanks for listening to Productivity Paradox. Now we’d love to have you join the conversation. To Join Tanya’s free group simply go to Tanyadalton.com/group.