Discover your creative sparks

creative passions Jun 23, 2021

When I was about eight years old, I started my first journal. It was a squat, little book with a puffy cover, plain pages and a lock and key. I loved capturing my thoughts on paper, documenting events of the day, articulating prayers, and writing out ideas. Since then, I’ve kept a journal for most of my life.  At school I won a writing competition and had a piece published in a local story compendium. However, it was not until recently that I’ve truly recognised writing as a passion of mine. 

How do you recognise a passion?

A passion is a strong enthusiasm for something. It makes you feel alive. It ‘sparks joy’ for you. It’s something that you don’t get bored of; on the contrary, it often grows stronger over time. Your passion could be for a particular subject matter (e.g. music, birds, or prayer), a sense of mission (e.g. to clean up local rivers and parks), solving problems (e.g. developing low-cost medical supplies), or for people (e.g. children, single mothers, or prisoners.)

Sadly, often the busyness of life, expectations of others or doubt in ourselves causes us to drift away from our passions. I was once facilitating a storytelling session at a financial institution. We were in a small group discussion when I asked the group to write down their passions. One young woman was stumped. She sat there staring at her piece of paper, a stunned look on her face. When everyone shared their learnings at the end of the session, she said that she was shocked to realise that she could not recall one thing she was passionate about. She had spent so many years on a treadmill of work, supporting family, managing to-do lists, and basic survival, that she had slipped into a life that was grey and devoid of spark.

We can also neglect our passion because of the influence of other people. They may push us into something or hold us back from our passion. I neglected my writing passion for the first decade or so of my career when I worked in finance and systems training. I was so busy following my corporate career and doing what I thought was sensible, I didn’t recognise its value.

Do you feel in touch with your passions?  If you have lost touch with them, fear not! You can reclaim your passion. In his book, Finding your Element, Sir Ken Robinson calls this ‘a quest’.


Your passions have a unique energy that drive and energise you.

Not everyone gets to apply their passion to their primary line of work. This is okay. Our passions can still be cultivated parallel to our work. The energy and learning that we gain from our passion can help to fuel our work. We often undervalue passions and hobbies because they take up time and we can’t see them contributing to our work. However, our brains are not compartmentalised. When we solve problems, such as how to build a model train, our brain uses analogical reasoning to help us find solutions to problems in other areas of our lives that may be similar in some way. 

Harvard professor and creativity expert, Dr Teresa Amabile explains that intrinsic motivation is key to creativity. It provides a driving force that lights up our brain and moves us to think creatively rather than continue monotonously on autopilot, doing the same things we have always done.

Your passion is not your goal. If your life is a race car on a track, your goal is the finish line. The fuel in your tank is your passions. They are ignited with the spark plug of inspiration and creativity.

Artist: Arthur Schening

What sparks joy for you?

If you could live your life five times over what imaginary lives would you live? (Ignore money, childcare, and other considerations!) Some of the lives mentioned by delegates at our workshops are a healer, an eco warrior, a teacher, an animal whisperer, a game ranger, a diagnostician, a children’s book writer, a volunteer animal rescuer, a racing car driver, a professional musician, a ballerina, a marine biologist, a pop singer, an adventure travel series presenter, a comedian, a photographer, a translator, a nun, a midwife, a hairdresser, a talkshow host and a rollercoaster tester.  

Write down five imaginary lives. Don’t overthink this. Now ask if you could bring elements of these imaginary lives into your real life?

Working out our dreams, desires and delights is a work in progress. This exercise will help to unearth some of those hidden aspects of ourselves that can sometimes be woven into our lives in unexpected ways.

To learn more about discovering your creative spark at home and at work, contact us on: [email protected].  

We also recommend our 5 Day Creative Wake-Up online course for giving your creative intelligence a serious boost. Find out more here.  


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