Is there something you were once passionate about that now makes you groan whenever it comes up?
Maybe it’s work or maybe a favorite hobby.
At one time, there was something deeply fulfilling about that task, but now it is dull; and quite frankly, its importance has become fragile and weak. It’s certainly not easy to remain enthusiastic, but reconnecting to that passion allows for a more fulfilling, satisfying life.
In my case, that “something” was work. I had wanted to be a physician since I was 6 years old and I am now an obstetrician/gynecologist. I reached my ultimate goal. In time, what started as a passion, actually a life purpose, eventually became a chore.
In fact, I distinctly remember a delivery where I felt bored, disconnected, and like I was completing a mundane task. It took that delivery for me to realize that I needed to make a change and recommit to my passion or I would essentially lose everything that I had worked for.
As I sought to restore my love of medicine, I found three points of wisdom to be central to my recovery.
The first was to believe it was possible for me to love medicine again. If you don’t believe it can be true, then it never will be.
I started by making a conscious choice to enter each day with positivity and happiness. Let me tell you, that was easier said than done. What helped to solidify this perspective of happiness was incorporating a gratitude ritual into my day.
Not everyone gets to share a deeply personal, beautiful moment with others on a regular basis, but I did. Even when I felt the least passionate about medicine, gratitude for my patients, skills, and education remained.
The second thing I did was to reconnect with my values. Values are principles or qualities of life that are worthy and are intrinsic to that person. Values that are not honored lead to internal tension or dissonance which over time, leads to a detachment from our purpose or passion.
There were key values that I was not honoring, which contributed to my unhappiness. Learning is a deeply important value of mine, and at that time I was so busy with work that I wasn’t fulfilling that value. Something as simple as taking a class or developing a skill would have been enough to satisfy this value.
A second value that I was not honoring was my value of fun. I was not consistently creating space for play outside of work. Some would call this work/life balance. I needed time to disconnect and relax.
I know it sounds simple, but silly laughter and childlike wonder rekindles my spirit and allows me to return to the seriousness of medicine. I had to recognize that I must create this for myself when it didn’t appear spontaneously.
Last but not least, I wasn’t honoring my personal needs, and self care is a hugely important value for me. This takes me into the third and final tip that I have for reconnecting to your passion: Take care of yourself. You are just as important as your patients, your children, your family. Give to yourself what you give to them.
Make time for meditation, meal planning, exercise, spirituality, journaling. Keep these at the center of your daily routine. I had to remember that I am important. It was worthwhile to spend time on myself. I couldn’t be a good physician, much less a happy, fulfilled physician if I didn’t put myself first at least part of the time.
Reconnecting with your passion and with joy can be very simple but it takes work. Believe it is possible. Reconnect with your values and remember that YOU are important.
I’d love to hear how you stay connected with your passion! Please comment below.