The Passion Quest – Finding Your Center

Earl R Smith II, PhD

(Read More From My Blog)

Finding your path starts with finding your center. The hard truth is that most other people are of little help on that inward journey of discovery. You have to do the heavy lifting yourself before you can finally meet the person you really are.


My mentoring engagements are a breed apart from my other ones. I enjoy working with people to develop their skills and abilities. Mentoring is fulfilling because I can see the advancements and the increased confidence that results. However, life mentoring is something else altogether. Here we are working at the very root of what it means to be human and to find a fulfilling life path.

I generally start life mentoring engagements with a question or two. Here is a sample:


Do you love your life so much that you would actually pay money to live it? Do you wonder that you are being paid for what you do?


Most of the time the answer is no. so I follow up:


What are you prepared to do about that? How much of a commitment are you prepared to make to be able to answer yes?


With that, one of the most important conversations in any human’s life begins. The objective is nothing less than a search for passion in life. A common response is, “I do not really want to feel this way. As it is, I am just not passionate about anything right now. How do I find my passion?”

My life-mentoring clients have ranged from very senior and successful executives to people just starting out in life. One client – a very successful CEO – was making more money than he ever expected to. However, he felt that something was still missing. On the surface, his life appeared to be full and fulfilling. He had a good marriage, a family and occupied his free time with volunteering and interesting hobbies. He was looking for his purpose – wanted to find his passion.

Another client was just starting out. He had recently graduated from college and had landed a job that appeared to fulfill his best chances for establishing a career. However, he was suffering from the same malady. He was not passionate about it and was about to conclude that he would have to sacrifice his search for passion to the practicalities of making a living.

The Challenge

Both of these individuals – and so many more of my life-mentoring clients – had made a decision that almost certainly doomed them to a career of increasing frustration and remorse for what might have been. They had accepted what life had offered them – an offering that was rather random and accidental – when they should have developed the self-knowledge that would help them go out and find the path that would lead to their passions. This single misstep put them on a downward path and delayed the possibility of them finding the upward one.

A major mistake that most of my clients have made before they come to me is that they assume that the job or the relationship will contain the passions that they are looking for in life – those passions are ‘out there’. The answers are not ‘out there’ – they are ‘in here’ and the journey to them is inward rather then outward.

This misstep ignores the real value of every human’s life journey – that it is unique and unique because the individual taking it is unique. Passion does not exist in the world in which we live, it exists and grows within us. We find it there or we will never find it. You can find and ignite those passions within you. When you do, the external world has a miraculous and magnificent way of rearranging itself to suit the person you really are.

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