6 Clues for Finding Your Purpose and Passion
I’ve rarely quit anything in my life. So when I left my doctorate clinical psychology program after receiving my Masters, it was a big deal.
But my heart just wasn’t in it. I witnessed my close friends — who are now licensed clinical psychologists — get excited about the course work and conducting therapy, about studying the ins and outs of psychological treatments.
All I wanted was for my clients to cancel.
I realized that what I’d loved about psychology didn’t require a Ph.D. What I loved was learning about psychology and writing about it. But I still felt an overwhelming sense of the shoulds. I should finish the program. That’s just the proper thing to do. I should barrel through it. I worried that I was taking the easy way out by quitting. I wondered if I’d regret my choice. I wondered if I was doomed to fail at something else.
People face similar inner dialogues and challenges when pursuing their purpose and passion. They worry about “outside influences,” and focus on “what others think [they] should do,” or on society’s view of success, according to Susan Biali, M.D., life coach and author of Live a Life You Love: 7 Steps to a Healthier, Happier, More Passionate You.
Don’t let your social self dominate your life.
This is similar to the idea of the “social self,” which comes from renowned life coach Martha Beck. If you allow your social self to “dominate your life,” it can stand in your way, said Joy Tanksley, a certified Martha Beck Life Coach, Intuitive Eating coach and Nia instructor.
“The social self is that part of us that’s concerned with fitting in, following rules [and] being acceptable to others.” It interferes with your purpose when you focus more on pleasing others. “You’ll end up making decisions based on what seems ‘good’ and ‘right’ to everyone around you, which is a recipe for feeling depleted and absolutely purposeless.”