Be you, be yourself, be authentic. Have you heard this before?
We’re always telling our friends and our kids to follow their hearts. Chase your dreams! Do what you love! Just love what you’re doing and the money will follow! We know this advice. We’ve heard this advice. We give this advice.
But how do we find that passion in the first place?
There are several ways, and in today’s column I want to share one of my favourites. It’s called the Saturday Morning Test.
Now let me introduce it by discussing a horrible question: “What do you want to do when you grow up?” I worry about that question because it sits invisibly over much of our lives. Professional designations. Business cards. Resumes with job titles and bullet points.
What’s the downside to this filtering and organizing? So many people grow up stuffing their textured, layered, complex selves into narrow buckets that don’t allow room for individuality.
What’s the truth? The truth is nobody knows what they want to do with their entire life. Nobody.
Nobody is born with a single unifying sense of purpose they strive toward forever. Have people at your workplace ever said “I just backed into this job” or “I never wanted to do this when I was younger. I didn’t know it existed!” My point is, having one giant purpose you strive toward forever isn’t the goal.
What is the goal? An ikigai. That Okinawan term we’ve talked about before that roughly translates as “the reason you get out of bed in the morning.” An ikigai is your current aim. Your current passion.
The Saturday Morning Test helps you find that authentic passion. It allows you to gut check yourself to see if you’re letting it be as big a part of your life as you can.
The Saturday Morning Test is your answer to one simple question:
What do you do on a Saturday morning when you have nothing to do?
Ask yourself that one crucial question, think about it for a minute, and answer out loud. What do you do on that rare Saturday morning when you have nothing to do? Do you go to the gym? Do you record yourself playing guitar? Take whatever answer you have and then wildly brainstorm ways you can pursue opportunities that naturally spew from that passion. There will be hundreds.
Love going to the gym? Personal training, coaching a baseball team, volunteering for a walking group, running a yoga studio, teaching phys. ed, starting a supplements company. And it goes on.
Love recording yourself playing guitar? How about teaching guitar online, editing music, learning to DJ, starting up an instrument company? One of the happiest people I’ve ever met was a high school music teacher who decided to quit his job to start importing, selling and teaching the ukulele.
Your authentic self will be drawn to these ideas. They make you richer, stronger and happier in your work life, too.
The Saturday Morning Test asks you to lean into your natural passion to enrich your work and personal lives.
As author Dale Carnegie once said: “Are you bored with life? Then throw yourself into some work you believe in with all your heart, live for it, die for it, and you will find happiness that you had thought could never be yours.”