Many believe that your work should reflect what you love to do so much that you’d want to do it for free. But many of us wander through life clueless as to what drives and motivates us. So how do you go about finding that one thing you’d do just for the love of it? Here are five ways you could use to find your hidden passion:

Put yourself out there

How many times are you going to glance at the new yoga studio in town before actually trying it? Or the cooking class? Or that language school? Get out there and actually try the things that you’ve always wanted to try, but haven’t! While still a graduate student, Stacey DeGrasse of Capitol Hill Yoga in Washington, DC, let her spirit guide her to her first yoga class. Now, just a few years later, she is the co-owner of a popular yoga studio and makes room in her busy schedule throughout the week to teach several classes. Somehow, she manages to meet the demands of being a full-time scientist while helping others find balance on and off the mat. And she loves it. You might not open your own yoga studio, but you get the idea. Take a chance—you just might change your life and the lives of others in the process.

Dig deep

Think back to past activities that warmed your heart. Pick up that guitar! Write that poem! Play ping pong with fury! You know, those things that you haven’t done in years that cause your eyes to glaze over with nostalgia. It’s never too late to try them again. If it’s a group activity (kickball anyone?), ask around and search online—craigslist can be a good place to find other participants.

Try something completely different

Sometimes we allow ourselves to become clouded by our perceptions of what something will be like, without ever having tried it. It’s like saying that you don’t like cake without ever tasting it. And who doesn’t like cake? After two successful careers—first as a Quality Control Scientist and later as an Attorney with the US Department of Interior, retiree Sandra Ashton took a chance and enrolled in an art class at her local community college to prove to her friends that she was anything but artistic. Discovering her creative side after several classes, Sandra fell in love with artistic expression and has gone on to showcase her photographs and paintings in local art galleries and exhibits. Your local community college catalogue is a great place to stoke your inner fire. Browsing courses may lead you to find something you truly love.

Tag along

Have a friend who’s always trying to get you to do something, but you’ve come up with every excuse in the book to avoid? Stop it. No more excuses! Get up and train for that marathon! Travel to that place off the beaten path! Go base jumping! Think about it, you just might spark a hidden talent or find yourself in a foreign city and fall in love with it. Leave no stone unturned—there is something out there for you!

Give back

Get involved with a local charity. From preparing and delivering food to the elderly or incapacitated, to volunteering at a local animal shelter—non-profit organizations are always looking for help. Love children but don’t have or want any of your own? Try tutoring inner-city children. Interested in reducing pollution in your neighborhood? Join a local environmental group’s clean-up efforts or letter writing campaigns. Offer your help in any capacity. The organization will be incredibly grateful and, while helping others, you’ll discover a new activity that just might turn out to be your passion.

So there you have it. Get out there and try something new! Use the Internet to find opportunities to participate in activities you’ve always wanted to try—there are bound to be others out there who are equally interested. And try whatever you find more than once—with different people, alone, in different places—whatever it takes to truly indulge in the experience. You will probably come across many things that don’t move you, but once you begin your voyage, don’t give up. Go. Give. Do. See. You have nothing to lose—only your passion to find!


Rachel Walls is a promising non-fiction writer/editor currently travelling the world in search of clarity, culture, and all things culinary.
image:  (Creative Commons BY-NC)