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Faith Wood“The very least you can do in your life is to figure out what you hope for. And the most you can do is live inside that hope. Not admire it from a distance but live right in it, under its roof,” says author Barbara Kingsolver.

Have you ever stopped to wonder what you want out of life? Not what you don’t want, but what you desire for a career, relationship or even this decade?

If you could, how would you design your life so that you wake up every morning excited about the day ahead and delighted to be doing what you’re doing?

I was once engaged in an activity I truly love – presenting to a sold-out crowd at a conference about influential communication. At the break, a gentleman approached wanting to know how I was able to convey such passion and energy in the workshop. What were my rituals that made all this possible when I’m on the road all the time?

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It’s a great question and got me pondering long after the conversation. Passion? Energy? How important are these traits in our lives? Will passion and energy alone help us go after what we want in life? Or, if it feels absent, will we become anxious and inactive in our careers? In our relationships?

Many of us live uninspired lives. We stay too long in passionless jobs and relationships. And what’s the long-term cost of staying in uninspiring roles when we really ought to leave?

Are you taking up a spot in someone else’s dream career? Wishing you were doing something completely different but afraid to make the leap?

An idea about what you want is like a seed. When a seed is given good soil and plenty of water and sun, it doesn’t have to try to unfold. It can’t help unfolding. It has passion and energy focused on growth.

If a seed must grow with a rock on top of it, in deep shade or without enough water, it won’t unfold into a healthy full-sized plant. It will try – hard – because the drive to become what you’re meant to be is incredibly powerful. But at best it will become a sort of ghost of what it could be: pale, undersized, drooping.

Perhaps this is what happens to so many of us. We start out so idealistic. We’re excited to claim a career that promotes the life we want. Then the disappointments happen. The work is a lot harder to secure than we first thought. Folks don’t listen to us the way we hoped they would. We get passed over when opportunities are handed out. We grow skeptical about our abilities and may even believe that others are conspiring against us. Our energy gets depleted.

Learning to stand up when you really want to pull the blanket over your head and pretend the scary world isn’t out there isn’t about quick fixes. It’s often simply about adopting the belief that there is no other option. Then you take consistent action each day toward who you want to be.

My answer to the man who asked the question at the conference was that I truly love what I do. So passion and energy come effortlessly and require no special rituals.

If you’re low on energy, if you need a lot of sleep and feel like you’re always dragging yourself around at half throttle, it may not be because you need vitamins or have low blood sugar. It may be because you haven’t found your it in life.

If you want to have abundant energy and passion, strive to incorporate more of what you love into your life. Seek opportunities to test new ways of being. Stop making excuses and go for it!

This is part of the secret of all genuinely successful people: they’ve found their paths. The’ve found that thing in life that excites them and gets them moving on even the most discouraging days.

You’ll know you’ve hit on something special when you feel the energy and passion flowing because of the activity you’re engaged in.

Before you feel overwhelming weakness, ask yourself: What will feed my passion today?

Faith Wood is a novelist and professional speaker who focuses on helping groups and individuals navigate conflict, shift perceptions and improve communications. 

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