If we’re being honest, I have to admit that I’m not a huge fan of the word "passion"—at least not in this context. It's too abstract and can seem daunting to people who are just starting out.
Instead, I prefer to talk about excitement because it’s a more tangible, practical method for creating meaning in your life and work.
I've found that acting on the small things that excite you will help you get on the right path, which will lead you to your passion, which will eventually help you discover your purpose or mission in life.
The best part is that you do not need to know what your “passion” or “purpose” is before you start taking action on what excites you.
When you have the courage to consistently take action on the day-to-day things that excite you, the necessary people will appear in your life, the right opportunities will be drawn to you, circumstances will work themselves out and you will have an overall richer, more enjoyable life experience.
Excitement is the thread that connects you to your path, passion and purpose in life.
To be clear, when I talk about excitement, I’m not really talking about the “jumping-up-and-down” kind of excitement that you might see on TV (although it can be sometimes).
In real life, genuine excitement isn’t always so outwardly obvious. But regardless of how it’s expressed, excitement is always recognizable by how you feel.
Excitement can take different forms, such as feeling that you're on the right path or "in the zone." It can also go by other names such as joy, passion, happiness or even inner peace.
Excitement is anything that positively engages you, sparks joy or makes you feel more alive.
And who doesn’t want more of that in their life?
For years, I had ignored and repressed what excited me in the name of being a “responsible adult” to the point where I didn’t know what I liked doing anymore. I felt bored and stuck.
Can you relate?
Here’s the good news:
There is a specific process you can use to help you do more of what excites you.
I’ve personally used this process—along with many others—with incredible results. It applies for both work and recreation.
Here are the three basic steps:
1. Let Your Excitement Guide Your Actions
At any given time of day, you have a variety of options available to you. These may range from going on a walk with a friend to starting a new project of some sort to an infinite number of other activities.
Instead of randomly drifting through the day doing the things you think you should do or feel obligated to do, take action on the one thing that you are most excited about AND that you can act on NOW. In other words, use your excitement as an emotional compass that points you in the direction of what to do with your time.
When you can take action on that thing no further, look for the next most exciting thing that you can act on and then do that, whatever it may be.
Sidenote: This goes without saying but I’ll say it anyway: Don’t neglect your legitimate responsibilities, jobs and obligations. The point here is to start paying attention to what excites you and getting into the habit of taking action in that direction. Don’t be so literal about following this process that you neglect to pay your bills, but also don’t use your responsibilities as an excuse to not do what excites you. It’s a delicate balance.
2. Act With Integrity and With No Expectation of the Outcome
Acting with integrity means that you act on the things that honestly excite you, not those that merely distract you from what genuinely excites you. (These distractions also go by the names resistance and procrastination. They are the enemy of achievement).
It can be difficult for some people to face the things they really want to do because they’ve ignored and suppressed them for so long.
This isn’t surprising, since our society tends to equate doing what makes you happy with being selfish or lazy.
Only you know what truly moves you and what you are naturally drawn to, so it’s important to be honest with yourself about this.
Having no expectation of the outcome simply means that you act on the things you’re excited about because it feels good and because you want to, not because you are trying to achieve a specific end result.
It may seem counter intuitive, but when you detach yourself from the outcome and enjoy the process, you open yourself up to more possibilities and decrease resistance to achieving your goals.
As an added benefit, having no expectations of where your excitement will lead you will also ensure that you continue to follow it, even if your circumstances don’t seem to change immediately. (This is extremely important to do, for reasons I’ll elaborate on in a future blog post)
3. Don’t Judge What Excites You
No matter how small or insignificant the things you are drawn to may seem, DO NOT judge them or dismiss them. Remember, you are simply working out your “excitement muscles” and getting into the habit of recognizing what brings you joy.
Honor what you are attracted to by taking action on it and letting it lead you. Realize that you are drawn to certain people, places, activities, etc. for a reason, even if you don’t immediately understand what that reason is.
The things that excite you are not random. They are connected to your purpose. Follow them.
I hope this gives you a good starting point for incorporating more excitement into your life. In the next post, I’ll tell you a personal story of how I accidentally gained a million followers on Instagram by following my excitement.