5 Myths About Pursuing Your Passion and Purpose

What are you passionate about? Do you go after it with gusto? Or are you still searching for that which rocks your world?

To me, passion and purpose are inseparable. In many ways, I believe pursuing our passion is our life’s purpose. Cultivating these powerful Ps makes our lives more gratifying and meaningful, and makes us better folks to be around. We’re more likely to uplift and help others, and even better the world.

It’s one thing to say you’re following your passion. It’s a fun, happy word—who wouldn’t? But it’s another thing entirely to follow through consistently, without letting common myths obstruct your way. Here are five common ones to disbelieve pronto.

1. True passions are reserved for the “lucky ones.”

I’ve heard many people say, “You’re so lucky to have a passion,” or, “I wish I had one!” Trust me, I understand those feelings. It took me years of self-work and exploration to begin finding and cultivating mine. I truly believe that we all have passions within us, just waiting to be discovered and sprung forth. But we’ll never get there if we don’t belief in their existence.

2. If you wait around long enough, one will appear.

I’m sure there are folks out there who work a job they dislike, never explore new interests and settle for lackluster relationships and one day, SHABAM! Passion appears at their door. But I’m guessing 99% of us have to work our way toward them—whether we’ve sensed what they are yet or not. While there’s something to be said for leaping smartly, finding and fulfilling a passion almost always requires leaps of faith. Don’t waste your time and energy in a deadend-anything. We only have so much to utilize.

3. Yours will mirror someone else’s. 

Last year at Oprah’s Live Your Best Life Tour, she made it clear that others’ life purpose shouldn’t replicate hers: “You don’t need to be another Oprah.” That’s when I removed my Oprah wig. (KIDDING! I’ve never wanted to be her. She’s got that gig handled. ;)) We’re all inspired by others, but our passions are unique. Rather than emulate someone you admire or copycat their every move, strive to shine as your authentic self. Never stop exploring who that beauty is.

4. You can choose the specifics.

Big ol’ NOPE. Not only can we not choose the specifics of our passions, they may shoot us off in an unexpected direction—and that’s OK! Such diversions can be the most important happenings we can hope for. Here’s an example: For years, I thought acting was “IT” for me. Then writing cropped its gorgeous head up and lightbulbs I hadn’t known existed flashed on. Novel-writing led to my blog, which led to Girl Boner, which led to my radio show. None of this would’ve evolved had I not pursued acting—or let stubbornness keep me from staying open to possibilities. As as the wonderful Patricia Sands would say, be a “possibilitarian.”

5. Once you’ve found one, life’ll be a breeze!

Excuse me while I ROFL giggle a little. 😉 Remember when you were a kid and thought that once you met Mr./Ms. Right, everything would fall perfectly into place and your days would consist of stargazing and hot fudge sundaes? Yeah, passions don’t work like that either. They take work, vulnerability, major challenges and risk. Embracing them doesn’t suddenly make life easy, but it does make our existence significantly more worthwhile. Seek fulfillment, not ease.

August McLaughlin blog

Arouse your whole darn life. You’re worth it.

What’s your biggest passion? What helps you pursue it? Have you bought into any of these myths? I’d love to cheer you on, so share, share away!

Leave a comment


  1. Who better than you knows what my passions are! My bride, and all things writing. Easy peasy. 🙂

  2. There’s a lot of wisdom being doled out here, especially in the fifth myth…trying saying that three times with a mouthful of popcorn…easy breezy?

    I’m sorry but I just can’t resist including a link to one of the outcomes of my passion, a painting called “Easy Breezy”. Have a wonderful day. 🙂


    • That is one beautiful painting, Lawrence! No apology needed. Thanks for weighing in. 🙂

      • Thank you, though I’ll reserve my right to think of it as “wading in”. ha ha

        Keep up the wonderful blogging. I know it takes a lot of time and effort, usually much more than appears on the surface.

  3. Great post, as always!! I have felt passionate about many things in my life, but I would have to say that my true passion is writing. And yes, it has definitely led me down paths I never would have considered otherwise.

  4. There have been times when having passions felt like a curse, rather than a blessing. Why? Because I wasn’t happy with the “normal” life many of my friends lived and I always wanted more. I wanted to follow the path that fulfilled my purpose and I didn’t know how to do that full-time and pay the bills at the same time. I love to create. And while it took me some years to figure out that my passion wasn’t limited to one mode of creativity, I’ve always been plagued by a driving desire to follow my bliss. Had I figured out a way to make a living following that bliss, it would have been easier, ha.

    • LOL I can relate to so much of that, Madison! I struggled with having no place to put my passion for years. And being highly sensitive to unhappiness is one of those blessing/curses, too. So glad you’ve found your bliss!

  5. I like all of these rules, but #3 hits particularly now. I work with a lot of college students and many are graduating this weekend. They’re all kind of freaked out and anxious and yet excited at the same time. It’s a good reminder to pave your own way. Learn from others, and then make it your own. I also shared with them my learning lesson, which is “Don’t be afraid to start over.” It’s too easy to get up in the idea of where you “should be” versus where you are and what your opportunities are.

  6. One of the truths that I’ve tried to follow is that luck does not find us, we find what we were meant to do by following that still small voice that knows and shares what we are meant for. Then it’s up to us to embrace that passion, which for me is sharing in my writing the wonderment of life and the people who know how to live it with gusto.

  7. I often think I give the impression that my passion is “writing”, given that I do so much of it. Actually, it’s “understanding the shapes and patterns of what I see around me”. The world we live in – and especially the human condition – is so huge and complex and cool – it deserves being understood, insofar as any one person can. Writing is the vehicle for then expressing what I discover.

  8. Catherine Johnson

     /  May 6, 2015

    Great subject, August. I’ve been thinking about this a lot recently. I’m thrilled to discover art and imagine if I’d gotten an agent for picture books I probably wouldn’t have had the opportunity to experiment.

  9. Specifics! I also thought my passion (and purpose) was acting–and then I started to write…dang, why hadn’t I taken any keyboarding classes in high school! (yeah, they still had typing when I was in school!)

  10. I was lucky enough to try out things and fulfil some dreams in my life. But I discovered my true passion is writing. I’m yet to find out if “writing” finds passion in me. 🙂

  11. karenmcfarland

     /  May 6, 2015

    Oh girl, my life is a big #4. And my passion is being diverted. Big time. Moving. Need I say more? I am trying to go with the flow. Sometimes things happen and we cannot do anything about it. My passion will find me again. That is, according to your post. And that my friend, makes me feel a whole lot better! Thanks August! 🙂

  12. Let’s not forget that studies have proven that people with passions live longer lives!

  13. Such a wonderful post, and so true.

    My personal passion?

    Life. I’m pretty damned in love with living.

    As for choosing the specifics – the most tragic things in my life – the loss of a fiance, and then a child – have deepened and honed my passions in ways things I chose never could have…

    Now, I try to live a life focused around joy and love, and that means that passion is an everyday occurrence in my life. Not that there’s not room for more! =)

    I would be honored to reblog this! ❤

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