You get through the dark days by falling in love with what you do. If you want to enjoy a life of lasting success, one of the most important things you can do is cultivate your passion. True success demands that you be yourself, and being yourself includes educating and developing yourself in the areas you are most passionate about.

Not sure what you’re even passionate about? Some people aren’t fully aware of what really drives them, and others believe they’re following their passion when they really aren’t.
Not sure if you’re following your passion? Here’s an easy test: if you feel worn out – or worse, nearing burnout – you’re probably not paying attention to your real passion.
If you’re still discovering what your passion is, there are a couple things you can do to get you on the right path:
* Put self-care first. Need some tips? Check out my recent blog post on why self-care is the foundation of true success.
* Pay attention to what motivates and inspires you. Notice how you react to stories on TV, on the web, or in person.
* Ask friends or family members what they observe about you – do they see that you have a special talent, or that something really seems to ignite your inner spark?
* Think about people you respect and admire. What makes you think highly of them? How did they reach the point where they’re at?
* Identify any roadblocks that might be hindering you from living your passion. Common roadblocks might be “I don’t have enough time” or “What will people think of me?”
Once you know a bit more about yourself and what drives you, you’re ready for the next step.
Your A-Ha Moment
It’s up to you to decide to cultivate your passion. Cultivating your passion is like growing a garden – it isn’t a plant-it-and-forget-it thing – it’s a process that lasts a lifetime.
Many people have discovered their true calling after encountering what they initially perceived to be a negative situation. One prominent physician was met with discouragement after he observed a woman recently out of major surgery celebrating with a meal of fast food.
His “a-ha moment” came when his wife helped him regain clarity and inspiration after suggesting he use television to show a global audience how to improve their own health and wellbeing.
You don’t have to wait for an “a-ha” moment to rock your world – you can start developing your passion from the place where you are today.
When you’re discovering your passion, try not to become caught up in indecision – you will never make up for the time you lose being indecisive.

Very often, people think they’re passionate about something when they’re really not. If you’ve ever had kids or spent any time around them, this is an easy behavior to observe. Did you ever notice how one day, your five-year-old wants to be a doctor, and the next, a ballet dancer?

It’s easy to get excited about or be drawn to a particular area, but excitement is not the same as passion. Like kids, adults also get pumped up about an idea, but then peter out and lose any desire to pursue it when the real work begins.

If you’re certain you’ve defined your passion and you’re ready to develop it, here are a few tips to get you started:
* Develop your mind. In an earlier post, we talked about why self-care matters. Developing your mind doesn’t mean immersing yourself in your passion 110% of the time. Take time to enjoy other things so you can achieve true balance and avoid burnout. Spend some time in nature, enjoy a conversation with a friend, or delve into one of your hobbies.
* Be a life-long learner. Learning never stops! Read books related to your passion, take a course, participate in a seminar or workshop, commit to reading at least one article or blog post on a regular basis, and stay on top of news and developments in your field.
* Sharpen your skills. In addition to engaging in life-long learning activities, really work to enhance your skills. As you continue to hone your skills, you’ll develop a deeper sense of commitment to your passion.
* Network with like-minded people. Surround yourself with others who share in your passion. Attend networking events, or join a professional organization or association.
* Look for ways to expand.So often, we think of many subjects as being “closed” with no room for improvement. Yet, some of the greatest inventions came from passionate people who thought outside of the box. Think outside of your box – expand your mind to see if there is something in your field that can be challenged or made better in some way.
* Break up your routine!Start driving different routes, trying new restaurants, go see a movie you wouldn’t normally see. Our brains come out of their lethargy whenever we experience something new.
If you’re not passionate about what you’re doing, you’ll never be trulysuccessful. Of course, you can excel in something without being passionate about it, but if whatever you’re doing doesn’t really light your fire, you’re sure to burn out eventually.
As you develop your true passion, find out what you uniquely bring to the table that sets you apart from others in your field. Do you have a unique perspective to share? Allow these unique qualities to heighten your development and drive you to new levels of success.

By women taking the lead

Click here if you would like to put your passion to good use

Passion is the necessary ingredient that keeps you going when the challenges begin

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