| Jan 11, 2023

Your Life Isn’t Missing Energy — It’s Missing Passion

Don't let responsibilities drain you. Doing what you love is important for your personal and professional success.

I’m blessed to work in a field I love. Stories have been a passion of mine since childhood, and that interest has woven itself into my career. As an editor, most of my time is spent helping people tell their stories. It’s wonderful, gratifying, and interesting. But sometimes it leaves very little room for the part I loved most about stories as a child — writing them.

As my career has progressed, life has only gotten busier. It happens to all of us. When we’re young, we have dreams of acting, drawing, or writing our way through life and, for most of us, they don’t come to fruition. We learn to weave those interests into our work. Invariably, we find ourselves operating adjacent to our passion; getting as close as we can to what makes us happy.

The child who was an aspiring actor ages and performs their way through workplace conversations; the young artist grows up and creates slides for quarterly reports; the hopeful fiction author spends her time editing the stories of others. And, when the day is done, we have very little energy left to do the thing we really wanted all along. But it doesn’t have to be that way. 

Growing Up Doesn’t Mean Outgrowing Your Passion

It’s a paradoxical cycle. Doing things we’re passionate about invigorates us and gives us energy, but we’re so busy that we feel as though we can’t find the energy to do them. When we don’t do the things we enjoy, we rob ourselves of the opportunity to create the energy we lack. Then, one day we realize the years are passing in a tired, forgettable blur. My moment of realization came after I was diagnosed with a (non-life threatening) medical condition, and the experience was humbling. It’s not just an old cliché: Time really does not wait for anyone, so it’s important to focus on things that bring love and happiness into your life. 

Getting in touch with our passions can be challenging, but it’s important to trust in ourselves. If you’re unsure where to start, the answer usually lies in the past. When you were a child, what did you love to do before you had to focus on all the responsibilities of adulthood? How can you reconnect with that child? If you can’t recall any childhood interests or they’ve changed, look to the future for your answer. What have you always wanted to try? Take the time to try different experiences; see what sticks with you and what you actually enjoy.

Foster Creativity, Fight Burnout

Writing fiction has become something much more than a fun part of my day. It has improved my life professionally, socially, and personally. In a way, passion is a tool that helps me combat burnout.

I’m not the best at work-life balance. I can’t help it; I love my job and my office is currently my living room. But devoting so much time to work can leave me sapped of the creative energy needed to write for pleasure. At first, finding time to write felt like a chore. But I noticed that, when I didn’t write, I’d spend all day feeling anxious — guilty about not getting it done and stressed about somehow fitting it into the remainder of my day. 

So, I began writing before starting my work day, and it has significantly impacted my daily mindset. It brings me joy, which brings me energy and a positive outlook on the rest of my day. By doing it first thing in the morning, I feel as though I have already accomplished the most important task on my list. Deciding to devote my efforts equally between passion and obligation helped me to view both in a different, less stressful light.


Plan To Be Passionate

Like all habits, passion needs to be practiced. It is conventionally considered to be synonymous with “spontaneous,” but shaping a dream into reality takes effort. If you put in the work, summon the energy, and believe you can make the most out of every day, you can achieve it with a return on your investment. You’ll be less fatigued, your work-life balance will even out, and you’ll approach situations with more positivity. Though your approach may look a little different, here’s what I found works for me:

  1. Be Consistent. Maintaining a schedule was hugely helpful in making writing a habit. Some may find luck setting a timer, using the Pomodoro method, or writing at a specific time of day. For me, every morning — no matter what — I’m writing.
  2. Be Accountable. …Except for those mornings when I’m not. On those days, I rely on my support system. My husband knows how important writing is to me, so he keeps me in check and reminds me that it’s OK to prioritize what makes me happy. I’ve also found success with accountability partners — people who share my passion and therefore understand both the good and not-so-good parts of it. Finding someone who shares your interests, who can empathize and support you while, in turn, allowing you to support them, can keep you motivated. 
  3. Be Dedicated. It helps to have space or tools dedicated solely to your passion. I’ve always preferred to write by hand, but it serves the added bonus of moving my brain from “work” mode to “creative mode” in an almost ritualistic way. If physically moving to a different space or using different tools is not an option, it can be helpful to compartmentalize by turning off your work notifications on your laptop or phone and setting aside dedicated blocks of time when everyone knows you’d prefer not to be disturbed.
  4. Be Mindful. The goal is to make passion a priority and to share your energy equally with all the important things in your life, but energy is not an infinite resource. Check in with yourself often and thoroughly: How full is your plate, and are the things on it balanced in a way that’s sustainable? If not, what’s missing or what needs to change and how?
  5. Be Flexible. Most importantly, know that it’s OK to deviate. If you can’t be consistent, accountable, dedicated, and mindful every day, don’t be hard on yourself. Each day brings its own challenges and surprises, so it’s hard to stay on track all the time. Just like with anything else, you’re not going to be perfect at your passions. Don’t pressure yourself to be. 

Passion Belongs in the Present

No matter where your career takes you, your passions will be with you always. The beautiful part about passion is that it lives inside us; no one can take it away. But this also means no one besides us can nurture it. When you find passion, embrace it. It has the power to bring meaning and fulfillment to your life. If you haven’t found passion, or if you still feel unsure of how to incorporate it into your life, don’t wait to figure it out or stick it on your bucket list. There’s never going to be a “right” time for it — something is always going to come up and make you think, “I just have to get through this, and then I’ll be able to start really focusing on what I love again.” Start now, because the things we love are what makes everything else worth it.

Morgan Horst
Morgan Horst
Executive Author

Executive Editor, Massive Alliance

Morgan Horst is an Executive Editor at Massive Alliance. She is also a writer and published fiction author whose debut short story collection was released in December 2020. view profile


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