What's Your Passion?

Buzzword Bingo: PassionWe've become a feel-good nation. Or at least, it seems that way. I hear a lot of people talking about doing what makes you happy. I've been told that many times over the years, and to be honest, have given that advice as well.

But the more I think about it, I'm not sure that's really the test for setting our direction through life. And especially not making it the focus of our missions.

Undertaking a mission can be a grueling process, much of which doesn't fall within most people's definitions of happiness. Like the struggle to support oneself and sustain a mission when every dollar is tied up in a half-baked idea to make a difference for someone -- even when who, what or how isn't always clear, or the way you'd intended it to be.

Don't get me wrong. Happiness is important. It should be high on everyone's list.

But a lot of things can make us happy, and picking just one to the exclusion of others can sometime lead to the opposite result -- unhappiness.

Instead, I suggest the fuel for your mission must be passion. Because only passion will get you through the ups and downs and keep you going long after others would have stopped.

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So what turns you on? What makes you tick? What drives you from the moment you get up in the morning to the time you go to bed at night?

What causes you to shout at the TV or argue with your friends or family? What get's you heated, or calms you down?

I'm not suggesting the answers to any of these should be the focus of your mission. Rather, the choice of mission is about knowing yourself and what you've made your life about. And then letting the passion of that pursuit come out.

Sometimes that is a hobby or interest turned into a lifelong pursuit. At other times it's taking a skill or a topic you feel strongly about -- like politics or the state of our nation -- and letting it lead you into some form of activism, teaching, or whatever.

Nevertheless, however it unfolds, you probably should go into it with your eyes open.

Over the years I've seen a lot of people treat passions like writing, art, or music draw them off into new careers in which they find both happiness and impact. But I've seen just as many go into those areas and flounder because the effort to turn it into a business -- make no mistake, launching a mission is the same as starting a business -- caused that passion to fade in the face of all the myriad other tasks that came along with it.

My personal case study

Take my own situation. When I wrote my first book, I was so anxious to get it to market that I decided to publish it myself. Now, I was passionate about the subject -- the inner voice and the process of our evolution along the spiritual path. I was even passionate about sharing my understanding of how to bring forth our inner mastery into our outer affairs.

But what I wasn't passionate about was having to learn about the ins and outs of publishing, marketing, and all the myriad administrative tasks that went with it. And especially not the financial side of the publishing business and having to spend so much money just to get my creation in front of the people I hoped would buy it.

I just wanted to write and speak about what was inside each of us, and how to let it out. This was my passion, not publishing, sales or the dollars and sense (sic) that went into bringing it to market for others to receive it.

Don't get me wrong. I still loved and had passion for the topic -- the light of our souls. Just not for the BUSINESS of bringing it out for people to read. As a newcomer to the publishing field, I spent an inordinate amount of time trying to figure out what to do and how, and developing the relationships necessary to even have a chance in the crowded book field.

But all that took its toll. Not to mention a lot of money. So after several years of trying, I found I couldn't sustain it. My mission to get out that message had brought me square up against things in me that I had to face and deal with -- like not being willing to continue to subsidize the effort with time and money that was needed elsewhere for my family and legal business.

Or being willing to continue subsidizing the mission so other could have the chance to receive my message, a fact of life I discovered with the cost of promotional copies, marketing, distribution channels, advertising, tables/booths and speaking gigs, travel and more.

Now, maybe my book wasn't good enough, or on the right topic. Or maybe I didn't do a good job at all those things that had to line up if I was to "succeed" and make money at it. But the fact of the matter is my passion cost me and my family lots of money, not to mention lost opportunities elsewhere.

Make your own choice

I guess this is sounding like a reason not to step out into the unknown. If you're afraid of what awaits and are not ready to accept what comes, then you probably shouldn't make that choice right now. Or else go about it another way.

But if you do, make sure that as you go about developing your passion and turning it into a mission, you do so with eyes open and are prepared for all the things that go along with accomplishing it. Go into your passion often and renew its flame, so it will be strong enough (and if necessary pockets deep enough) to keep you going despite all the obstacles that will come along the way.

What this whole process taught me about myself is that my passion was important, but just as important was the manner in which I chose to bring it into manifestation. For I selected a path for which I was unprepared and unwilling or unable to sustain in the long haul.

Well, I shouldn't say unwilling. For I switched gears and set off in another direction to share what I had about how to bring Source to life in our lives and use it to change our world. That led me to blogging and writing in other forms, and finding new ways to speak that didn't require the extensive investment just to have the chance.

From there, it's had me branching off into teaching, consulting and mission development, as my inner voice led me to merge my mainstream skills and experience with its inner guidance to help others give life to their own visions.

And perhaps most importantly, to stand and be heard on the state of our world, the reasons why things are the way they are, and what we can do to change them. Because as I've learned, my passion is just as great about challenging the beliefs and practices that won't take us where we want to go, as it is for the light within that wants to get out but can't because of the egoic filters and conditions we use to distort it.

So find your passion. But also be smart about how you decide to breathe life into it. Your inner voice will guide you, as mine did me. But just remember one thing -- it will lead you to the experiences you need, not necessarily the ones you want.

Just do your best to find whatever happiness you can squeeze out of each moment along the way. After all, isn't that why you're doing it?

God bless you indeed.

Photo credit Flickr Buzzword Bingo http://www.flickr.com/photos/planeta/5438592291/