Good Mental Health Starts With the Heart – What is Your Passion?

By · August 25, 2009 · Filed in life skills

What is your purpose in life?

It’s a question people regularly ask themselves, but regrettably, the process of answering this question seldom extends beyond the “dream” stage.  It’s an important question though—one if ever answered could unlock unlimited possibilities for the future.  So why don’t more people go the extra mile and find answers to this question?

Most people would claim they’re too busy­—too busy going through the motions of their lives, doing the normal things that normal people do.  They get married, buy a house, have a few kids and work at a job they hate to support a dream that was never theirs—it was just what they were supposed to do. What people don’t realize is that neglecting your dreams will eventually lead you to feelings of “I want to… but I can’t” or “I can’t…. but I want to”.

Thankfully there are some folks who veer away from this traditional scenario, deciding to take a different path, a path borne of the heart.  You see these people all the time.  They’re the ones in the limousines or on the big screen; the ones in the corner offices or living in the three-story mansions.  They’re the ones you look up to and aspire to be; the ones always smiling, like they have a secret they want to share.  The secret:  follow your heart and the rest will follow.

If you decide—really decide—that you want to make your life extraordinary, and follow you heart towards limitless success and happiness, I have some good news.  Following your passion is really only a two-step process that you can begin right now.

The first step is to dream big—really, really, really big.

Sounds easy but the task may be a lot harder than you may realize. You see the problem is that most people take themselves out of the game before it even begins. Sometimes when considering our future we become frustrated, thinking about all the potential obstacles and limitations down the road that may impede our progress. We doom ourselves before we even begin.  This is not only unnecessary but extremely unproductive. The only limits you have are the ones you put on yourselves.

The first step in dreaming big is to give yourself permission to dream. Imagine a future without any restrictions, limitations or obstacles. Get a clear, descriptive picture in your head of everything you want. Picture yourself enjoying your dream job, living in the mansion on the hill, driving your expensive car and enjoying your family and loved ones.  In this stage of the process, everything is possible.  Now, write it down, get excited and proceed to step two.

Every great story starts with a great idea, so must the story of your life.  Dreaming about what you want is neither selfish nor irresponsible.  It is a normal, healthy activity.  Our dreams are what make life tolerable, a reason to get out of bed.  Without them, life would be simply unbearable.  But acting upon those dreams doesn’t always seem so easy.  Many people begin this process—they begin with a flash, fueled by the uncontainable motivation to succeed—but all too often, life, with it’s schedules and responsibilities, gets in the way, and the dream dies before it ever had a chance to flourish.

The secret to succeeding with step two of this process—acting on your dreams—is momentum.  Many of us are good out of the gate, but lack the endurance to finish the race.  We get sidetracked by a world that seems bent on crushing our dreams.  At least, that’s what we tell ourselves.  The truth is that we limit our own progress because we fail to construct a detailed plan for getting what we want.  If you wanted to visit, say, Oklahoma, and you’d never been before, how would you proceed?  Would you get in your car and drive aimlessly, hoping to come upon it by accident?  Probably not—you’d probably look at a map and develop a plan for getting there.  Why, then, don’t we take the same approach with our lives?

Once you’ve identified your passion, you must put together a written plan for achieving it.  Start by identifying your long term goal and give it a deadline.  For example:

Long-term Goal:

Purchase my dream house Deadline:  7/25/2011

By writing it down, you have made it real.  It may also help to confide in some of the people whom you trust.  They can help hold you accountable and assist in keeping you on track.  Next, develop a series of short-term objectives, necessary for reaching your long-term goal.  Start with things you can do right now and be specific.  Take a look:

Short-term Objectives:

1. Talk to a financial consultant or realtor to determine exactly how much money I’ll need to buy my house. Deadline:  August 1, 2009.

2. Talk to employer about overtime and advancement opportunities at work:  Deadline:  August 15, 2009.

3. Put $1,000 in the bank.  Deadline:  September 1, 2009.

You get the idea.  Now, follow through.  Commit to making these objectives a priority in your life and make progress toward each of them daily.  Keep the goals in front of you as you cross or check them off as a symbol of your progress. Celebrate your achievements! Be proud remembering that each objective you reach brings you closer to your dream, and every forward step you take creates sustainable momentum that will fuel you to persevere.

You can apply this system to any arena of your life.  Follow your passion by first, identifying—in detail—everything you want to accomplish, and then draw yourself a detailed “map” to help you get there.  Don’t become discouraged by obstacles.  Instead, view them as challenges—opportunities for growth—and keep moving forward.  Get excited about your life!  You deserve it.

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