The Passion Trap

  • If I knew my passion I’d take more risks, be bolder, go full throttle. 
  • If I knew my path, nothing would get in my way of walking that path.

I hear these sentiments a lot. And I get it; there was a time when I felt exactly the same way.

It’s not crazy thinking!

We’re always more likely to be bold when it’s in service of something we deeply want.

But quite often “if I knew my passion / path, then I would …” is a justification for staying in a job, business, or career that doesn’t make you happy. Maybe you’re:

  • not intellectually challenged,
  • out of alignment with your organization’s values or mismatched with its culture,
  • undervalued or not respected,
  • not feeling a sense of purpose or that the work you do matters, or
  • [fill in your blank].

It feels like a legitimate justification, but it’s actually a trap … and a recipe for staying stuck.


Passion isn’t the real desire. Certainty is. If I knew my passion / path really means “I want to be absolutely certain I’ve found my IT and only then will I be able to … “

But …

There probably isn’t one specific IT, a passion so clear and strong it’ll catapult you out of your comfort zone, propel you straight through fear and discomfort, and brightly illuminate your path.

And …

Since finding your passion is the prerequisite to making a change … you keep settling for less than what you want.

The good news is that you don’t have to wait to find your passion in order to be successful and happy.

Most of us want to feel energized and enthusiastic about our work. We want to feel like the work we do matters and that we have an impact. And we want to do it in an environment where we’re respected for who we are and what we bring to the table.

This is what sets us up to thrive!!

If you’ve been settling for less than what you truly want, please know you can make a different choice. And no, you don’t have to leap off a cliff!

Here are seven steps to help you get started:

  1. Give yourself permission to stop settling and to want what you want. This is the critical first step. It’s amazing how often we withhold that permission from ourselves.
    • This is rarely a one-time step. You might have to remind yourself multiple times a day of your newly granted permission. That’s both normal and okay :-).
  2. Begin from where you are, not from where you think you should. No judgment!
  3. Tell at least one person you trust that you’re ready to make a change: that you’re ready to do work that energizes you, to do work that matters, and to do it in an environment where you can show up and shine.
    • There’s enormous power in owning what you want and saying it out loud. Sometimes the boldest and bravest step is to take a stand for what you want AND deserve.
  4. Acknowledge what you do know and put it in writing. Maybe you don’t know your passion, but I’m confident you know plenty about what you enjoy doing; what you find interesting, fascinating, stimulating, or engaging; what matters to you; and when you feel respected and valued.
  5. Connect, connect, connect. Spend time with people who boost you up.
    • Grab lunch or coffee with friends or prior colleagues who are up to stuff you think is interesting, and learn more about the details of what they do. Surround yourself with as much positive energy as possible. It’s an awesome antidote to feeling stuck.
  6. Inch your way out of your comfort zone. Remember to breathe. It helps a great deal.
  7. Take one small step every day that moves you forward.

You deserve so much more than settling!!

“Allow the space between where you are and where you want to be to inspire you, not terrify you.” ~ Tracy Ellis Ross