Updated: Dec 11, 2018
"Follow your passion" they say, well the thing is, most of us have no idea what that even means. For those graduating from College, working jobs they don’t enjoy or in toxic relationships they can’t seem to leave, this topic may be for you.
Don't you just hate it when people tell you; "Do what you love?" However, what they don't comprehend is that doing what we love, is not that simple. Many of us have no idea what it is we love or aspire to do/be and are still in the midst of finding out. Doing what you love is finding out what you’re truly passionate about, and your passion doesn't just appear in thin air. I strongly believe passion is CREATED. No one knows exactly where it is they are going in life, or where they see themselves in the next 5 years, but that is the beauty of life - it is a never ending journey, not a destination.
Passion is created within, and it usually begins with having a purpose in whatever it is you do. What do I mean by purpose? Well, a lot of self-gratification comes from the ability to help others. I mean think about it, when one donates to a donation of some kind, they would be lying if it wasn’t self-rewarding at the same time. It makes us feel good to have the opportunity to provide help or service to others, especially if they are the ones who truly benefit from it. With that, a purpose in what you do, starts to arouse the emotions of passion.
Then, comes MASTERY. Everyone enjoys being the best at what they do, or at anything for that matter. When one begins to develop a skill set for whatever it is they are providing, it transcends positive energy to others. You begin to feel this fire inside you about what you do, and passion continues to rise. Except what we must consider, the big question you might have... how do I even get to that point? How do I find this passionate fulfilling career, relationship, or calling? It's sounds complex and difficult, but it is quite simpler than you think:
The ultimate way you will find what you are TRULY PASSIONATE about, is by getting out there and taking chances!
Growing up as a teen, I strongly believed I was meant to box and become champion one day. I felt it was my calling, in which I still feel is today. Once I turned 25, I ran across a tremendous amount of changes. It all started on the day of my birthday when my girlfriend of 7 years, excitedly shared with me that we were expecting. Believe it or not, we had planned a date to get married in December weeks prior to the news. The next day we had a scheduled appointment to get our marriage license. Moments before entering the courthouse, we decided to get married. Marriage and baby on the way!
Now, where does boxing fall in place in this story? Well, by this time I decided to keep going in my boxing career. I had the support of my family, friends and most importantly, my wife. As I continued to chase a dream that was instilled in me since I was 16, I started to feel this sensation in my hips, that continued to worsen as I trained. With time, the pain increased even more, however like fighters and competitive athletes - we continue to proceed. I was advised to limit the time I spent running and soon lead to no running at all. Without being able to run, it hurt my training intensively, as it was my number one option when losing weight. I tried to find alternatives such as swimming, shadow boxing, even yoga. Yet, it all helped temporarily. It got to the point where the pain was there even while I was casually walking. My mind began to race and I soon realized that I had a lot to reevaluate. I needed to be healthy, to work and provide for my family, so there was no time for pain.
I went through a fair share of ups and downs in my boxing career from management, to changing gyms, and an eye exam that almost cost me my career. I kept pushing though. I continued to fight! Then, the pain in my hips was definitely my ultimate panic, so I decided to go to an orthopedic, where I finally got an X-ray done. I was told then, that a hip replacement is inevitable. My heart sank. I couldn't believe it at first. And, what did I do? I kept going! I continued to spar, train and even ran too. I still do from time to time. I guess I can’t help it. The pain got really bad during training, walking, even sleeping. I am a very spiritual person and I believe a lot in the universe, but I couldn’t help to ask why this was all happening? It wasn't fair. It hurt me big time.
It was a tough decision, however, I decided to take a step back from boxing and do a little soul searching. I began to find joy in other things. I tried many things, one being Law enforcement. I failed a couple of attempts, yet I stayed persistent. Until one particular incident that occurred, regarding the judgment of those reviewing my application, and it simply opened my eyes and made me realize that it wasn’t for me. It all had to do with an occurence that I committed when I was 15 years old! I was shocked at the fact that I was being judged based off something I did almost 10 years ago. Whatever my next calling was, I had to be sure it would allow me, to be me. I felt this career path was not it.
I decided to get into teaching people how to drive! Why? I was not really sure yet, but I liked the simple fact that I could be me. Not only that, it is very self-rewarding. It feels really good to help people achieve such a milestone in one’s life. A lot of trial and error to get here. I wasn’t even sure if I would enjoy it this much. I just did it and took action without over thinking it. I figured things out as I went on little by little, and became well at doing it all, from connecting with people, perfecting my Spanish, and teaching classes in front of an audience I did not know.
I took our family business to another level financially, by adding an entire English Program that is growing rapidly. Opportunities began to open up one by one, where an alternative school in my county reached out to me. They don't have a behind the wheel program due to fundings and a small senior class, so I felt in my heart it was necessary to cut my prices in half just to help them out.
Reflecting on all of this, I wouldn’t have guessed in a million years, being an instructor for a driving school. As for boxing, I’m not quite sure where we stand. It's like a bad girlfriend - I absolutely love her, but it keeps me guessing on whether I should leave her or not. As for now, I am helping out some of my teammates prepare for their upcoming fights. This has been helping me fill the void I have in my heart.
Life is pretty crazy sometimes and it is 100% okay to not know where it is we’re going. You don’t have to know your every step and move. You don’t have to be certain of anything in order to make a decision. It takes a lot of courage to make a choice, especially when one has no idea where it may take you. All I have to say about that is, think less and act more. It may sound backward to some, but it worked for me. I created my own passion and the journey continues. I don’t know what else my life has in store, but a lot more is to come. I’ll be sure of that, I’ll create that myself.
See, many of us fear change and the unknown, and asking ourselves whether it is too late to take back the step we took, is the more complex segment leading into your passion. You must know, YOU ARE NOT ALONE. We set limitations on ourselves by creating doubt inside, such as the possibility of failing, what people might think, and finally, underestimating our own capabilities. In order to overcome these obstacles, it takes practice. Stepping out of your COMFORT ZONE is one form of practice. Sign up for an activity where you will be judged by others. Take a dance class and show off the skills you don't YET have. Take the demotion and become a the painter you've always dreamed to become. Quite your 8-5 job, and create your own clothing line. These are all great ways of practice, for those struggling with caring too much about what people may think of them. Go out there and fail a few times. I know I have!
When you are doubting your own abilities, keep attempting to perfect your craft and don’t be afraid to fail a few times along the way! Get a book on it, it’s 2018 where we have access to books on our phones.
AND remember, passion can only be found within, never without. You can’t find passion in material belongings, money, or EVEN people! Wait, but Matthew didn’t you just say, one is most passionate about what they do, when that thing they do helps others? Well yes, but you can’t jump to helping others without helping yourself first. You have to love yourself before all. If you can’t love yourself, how can you love anyone? No one can reap from the best you, without loving yourself first. You are your number one priority, don’t forget that. You come before your job, activities, relationships and anything along those lines. You should always schedule time for yourself, whether that’s reading a book, going to the gym, meditation, etc. You are where passion is found and only you can create it! Passion doesn’t find you, but you find it!
- Matthew Abregu