Defining your passions can be a cathartic exercise. In many ways it brings them to life. No more hiding them in the corner, you’ve acknowledged their existence and it’s time to dust them off and make them all bright and shiny again.
Yay for sparkly shiny things to get excited about!
Your passions should be the sparkly disco balls of your life. OMG, I cannot believe I just said that either, but in an über cheesy way, it’s true. When you define them, it’s time to embrace them. And once you’ve embraced them, your life can start to centre around them – and then all your dreams will come true, and men with sexy accents and panty-dropping eyes will flock to you. Okay, maybe that is taking it a little too far, but I think you get the picture. Right?
Embracing Your Passions
Most of us hide our passions. Not because we’re embarrassed by them, but because we allow life to dictate what is an ‘appropriate’ passion, and usually that is different from what our true passions are. Did you know that Franz Kafka worked in an insurance office by day, and wrote at night? Or that William Faulkner worked in a power plant? These men were passionate about writing and embraced it.
Embracing your passions should feel like you’re embracing someone you haven’t seen in awhile, case in point:
I recently travelled through Montréal on my way to Ottawa and stopped at the VIA Rail ticket counter to inquire about having an empty seat beside me on the train. The man behind the counter kind of looked familiar, but I couldn’t place him. I thought it was because I had travelled through Montréal a few times over the passed couple months. Once my transaction was complete and I was ready to walk away, we locked eyes. “OMG! I know you!!” we both shouted, embracing arms across the counter instantly. It was Pierre. I had met him and his friend Claude on the train from Halifax to Québec City in August (we had eaten dinner together). We both smiled, laughed, told everyone around us how we knew each other, and when I walked away, we were both smiling.
That is how you should feel when you define your passions and embrace them. That “OMG! I know you!” moment that changes your outlook completely.
Step One: Brainstorm
Once you’ve defined what your passions are, and you’ve embraced them, you need to sit down and brainstorm how you want to incorporate them into your lifestyle – remember, this is all about designing a more passionate lifestyle!
Sit down with a piece of paper and pencil and jot down all the different ways you can incorporate your passion into your lifestyle. Think small, think big. Jot down everything that comes to mind (This could take 30 mins or a week. Depends on how you like to do your brainstorming).
Let’s use one of my passions as an example:
I love to cook and create. It’s something I have been doing since I was a teenager, however since quitting my job and travelling I’ve stopped. Cooking in a hostel on a limited budget is not the same as cooking at home. I also miss throwing dinner parties. Visiting affordable bistros is something I do quite often, and I will continue to do as I love to discover new places and share them with friends and family.
Step Two: Make a Plan
I know, the dreadful ‘p’ word. At least that is the way I thought about it until a couple months ago. Planning?! Blech! Only losers plan!
Successful people plan, and if I want to be successful in designing a passionate lifestyle, then I need to get myself together, sit down, and make a plan (Jill, remember when you asked me how to put your passions into actions? This is it, Chica!).
Let’s return to my passion for food. I’ve brainstormed some ideas on how to incorporate food more into my lifestyle, but now I need to decide how I want to do that. Some things on my above list may work quite well, others may not. And that is totally okay! Brainstorming is to get ideas flowing, planning is where they really start to take shape.
When I review my list above I realise that many of my ideas can be bundled together, which will make it a little easier for me to put together a plan.
Go through each point in your brainstorm and put together a plan. How can you incorporate those points into your life? Some of your ideas will click right away, some may need a little work, and some may need to be discarded. It’s all an important part of the process – so don’t cheat yourself!
Step Three: Set a Timeline
Brainstorming? Check! Creating a plan? Check! Setting a timeline? Uh…. what?!
A plan is fabulous, but if you don’t set a timeline (it’s kind of like creating a goal), then your plan is doomed to failure. Sit down (take a shower, go for a walk, whatever helps you think) and think about when you want your passionate lifestyle to happen. Is it in three months? Six months? A year? Once you know when you want that switch to happen you can look at the plans you’ve written out and created a timeline as to whenever you want certain things to happen.
Let’s go back to my passion for food, and my plans for healthy recipes, and mastering a cuisine at home.
The first three points in my healthy recipes plan can be implemented now. I can easily do those from where I am in Ottawa. Creating a menu, finding local shops, and cooking for myself will take a little time as I’m moving around too much right now. I do know that I am moving to a new city in December or January (location to be announced in the coming months), so I’m putting those things in the timeline for January. As for picking a cuisine and mastering it at home, I can do the prep and research parts now, but again I’m going to wait and implement the rest starting in January.
Now that I know my timeline, I can narrow down my plans even more, or start to work them (It’s up to you. If you want to really plan your timeline, it can help to make your overall passionate lifestyle plan come into focus a little more).
Step Four: Work It!
You’ve brainstormed ideas, and then made a plan of how you want to incorporate them into your life. Now it is time to work those plans like you’re strutting your sexy self down a catwalk flanked by adoring onlookers. Work. Your. Plan.
Plans are like passports, they need to be used. What’s the point of having a plan if you’re just going to place it in a drawer and forget about it for a few days/months/years? Plans (like passports) need to be used.
One of the best things about creating a plan is that there is always room for improvement. Let’s use me as an example. I am famous for making really big plans that take a lot of work, and when I start to implement my plan I often have that ‘OMG, why did I think this would work?!’ moment.
You know that saying, ‘Rules are made to be broken’? plans are made to be flexible, or at least they should be. When you start to work your plan, you may need to make some adjustments and that is completely okay. The last thing you want is for your plan to swallow you hole. You want your plan to feel exciting and rejuvenating. You’re designing a passionate lifestyle! Your plan should make you feel like dancing around in a t-shirt, holding a hairbrush, and singing to 90s rock.
It’s all about embracing your passions.