Pete Brand
Grand Rapids, MI

I am married to an incredible woman named Amanda and have five amazing children. I would consider myself an entrepreneur and absolutely love the challenge of building businesses. I also love the journey of personal development. I don't believe in drifting through life on auto-pilot. I believe we are presented each day with opportunities to improve and become better. I choose to embrace these opportunities and use the lessons I learn to become a better "me" and continuously strive to embrace each moment!

Stay in the loop with me!

Sign up to get notified when new content is posted to my site! It's Quick, Easy and Valuable!

Personal Growth Success in Business Success in Life

7 Questions To Help Determine Whether It’s Your Passion Or A Short Term Obsession

By on January 13, 2012

Have you ever seen or done something that immediately gets you fired up and gains all your attention?

Did you  find yourself losing your enthusiasm a couple weeks, or days later?

If so, you may have fallen victim to a short term obsession.  I believe a large number of people who find themselves in unhappy career situations fall into this trap when they’ve made a decision to take action and improve the quality of their lives.

This can bring about paralyzing frustration since they were most likely unhappy with their career for a long time before they found the gumption to make a move and improve their situation.  Then, after identifying their passion, creating a plan, and investing extra effort into making that passion a career … they lose steam after only a couple weeks.

Many of these people will give up and simply accept their fate and continue to live a life of unhappiness with their career.  If this is you, I’d encourage you to PUSH ON!  There is no reason to stop pursuing an excellent quality of life when you encounter your first obstacle. Your life and ultimate happiness is worth much more effort than that!

There are some simple steps you can take to help prevent yourself from falling in this trap.  If you’ve read my previous post, 10 Ways to Identify Your Passions , and you’ve gone through all 10 steps, I’m guessing you have several things you’ve listed that you feel you’re passionate about.  The longer the list, the better your chances will be to identify one or more things that will certainly bring happiness to your for years to come.

The following are some questions you should ask to help determine whether you’ve truly found a passion, or if it’s just a short term obsession.

Does it make you feel good about yourself?  This, in my opinion, is the most critical question you need to ask yourself.  Chances are, your current career isn’t making you feel that great about yourself.  Especially when each morning when you wake up, you’re reminded that you’ve “sold your soul” to a career that brings you very little, if any, pleasure.  I don’t believe it’s possible to feel good about yourself  when you’re spending a large portion of your life doing something that brings you little fulfillment and joy.

This question will also prevent you from chasing the “almighty dollar.”  Quite a few people make decisions to pursue careers simply due  t0 the potential of making big money.  That’s fine if it aligns with your life goals and your passions. If it doesn’t … you’ll find yourself in a situation similar to the one you just left.  Whatever you do, make sure the passion you choose to pursue makes you feel good about you!

Would you do it for free? This is an excellent question to help ensure you aren’t selling out.  Make sure you spend some time thinking about this one though.  Fight the urge of simply saying “yes” and move on.  This is extremely important if you’re choosing to turn your passion into your career because it’s very likely you will be doing it for free for some time before you begin to generate income. If you’re truly “ok” with that, there’s a pretty good chance it might be a true passion.

Do you lose track of time when you are focusing on it? I’m sure you’ve had many times where you’re at home on your computer searching for more information on a topic that you love!  You know you’ve got a couple hours of “free time” before your afternoon meeting so you dive it.  Before you know it, you look up at the clock and it’s already been four hours and you’ve missed your meeting!

Now, I’m not encouraging you to forget your schedule or to blow off meetings, but it is important to have a passion that seemingly sucks you in and won’t let you go.  I’m sure you’ve heard the saying “If you do what you love, you’ll never have to work a day in your life.”  Work is typically associated with pain and boredom.  You’ll never associate pain or boredom with your TRUE passion … unless of course, your passion is having people smash cinder blocks on your body with sledge hammers.  🙂

Do you talk about it to anyone that will listen? I absolutely love it when I’m having a conversation with someone, and  something they’re interested in comes up.  You can see their eyes light up.  It’s as if you flipped their switch to the “On” position and their personality immediately changes as they excitedly share their thoughts and feelings about the topic.

This is where self awareness comes in very handy.  You don’t want to overwhelm them by turning into a “Chatty Kathy” doll and blather on incessantly to the point where you scare them away.  If you do consistently find yourself in this situation though … chances are you may have found your true passion.

Do you get excited about the opportunity to teach it to others? This question goes hand in hand with the previous question and can be an excellent outlet for your strong desire to “over-share,” as long as you are sharing it with someone who has asked to be taught.  I personally believe providing other people with the knowledge to do something is extremely rewarding.  I also believe that if you possess knowledge that other people are seeking, you should be excited help them.  If you don’t feel that way about what you think is your passion, you may want to look further.

Would you like to spend more of your time doing “it”? This is a question where your response must be a strong “YES!”  If you feel you’re spending all the time you’d want to, “it” isn’t your passion.  People who are unhappy in their careers aren’t plotting to find ways to spend more time doing that.  Make sure you have a genuine desire to spend more time doing “it.”  If you’re feeling a bit “luke warm,” chances are you haven’t found “it.”

Does it make you excited to get out of bed in the morning? Nobody likes waking up in the morning with an upset stomach, feeling exhausted, and re-hitting the snooze repeatedly because you’re dreading facing your day at work. If you’re pursuing your true passion, you’ll never find yourself struggling with these symptoms.  You’ll find yourself waking up before your alarm goes off and you’ll spring out of bed excited to face the day.  I’m sure you’d agree this is a much better way to spend the limited time you have here on this planet.  🙂

Please don’t rush through the process of identifying your passion.  It’s definitely worth the time and energy investment to evaluate your passion areas so you can avoid heading down the wrong path.  If somehow you do, and end up losing steam … DON’T GIVE UP!

Try something else  you believe you’re passionate about.  Making the decision to quit pursuing happiness is the worst, most painful decision you could ever make!

If you have any other questions you feel someone should ask when evaluating their passion, please leave a comment below and share it with us.  Also, if you’ve done an exercise like this in the past, let us know how it’s worked for you.