Did you know that when you live with passion, you find life purpose?

When I was young, I used to wait until everyone in my family was asleep and then I would tiptoe out the front door and dance for hours and hours under the streetlights. This was a magical time for me; it was here that I allowed my dreams to take form as I would dance and sing and perform and pretend that I was the greatest actress of all time.

I remember the sadness in my heart as I would emerge from my magical time under the street lights and tiptoe back into my house and once again enter the world where dreams were thought to be only for the faint-hearted.

Regardless of my parent’s inability to believe that all of us were meant to live our lives living with passion, I never doubted the fact for one moment.

After having an incredibly tumultuous childhood and even more traumatic teen years, I emerged from my challenges with the dogged determination to live a life of purpose.

From my own diligent daily practice, I found that living a life of passion came about effortlessly when I simply clarified what my passions were.

I then consciously put my attention on my passions, took strategic action, and, after I had done all that I knew that to make my passions a reality, I simply let go. This formula worked so well that it was the basis for my book, The Passion Test – The Effortless Path To Discovering Your Life Purpose.

The Passion Test® is a simple, powerful process that can help anyone clarify the 5 things that matter most to them, and then make those things their top priority in their life.

My partner, Chris Attwood and I have worked with thousands of people, taking them through The Passion Test process to help them discover their passions. And there are seven keys, which have emerged as being essential to living a passionate life:

1. Commitment

Until you are committed, nothing will happen for you. There is nothing more critical to creating your passionate life than your unshakable commitment to choosing in favor of your passions.

Every day you will be asked to put other things ahead of the things you love most. Keep your passions where you can see them, and learn to say “no” lovingly. Here’s one line you can practice:

“I so appreciate your asking, and I’m not able to do that now.”

Be sure to use “and” rather than “but.” “And” connects you with the other person, while “but” separates.

Vary the words to make them appropriate. Just remember first to appreciate, love, understand, and value the other person, then state what you need.

Lastly, keep in mind point #4 below (Stay Open). What’s most important may shift temporarily in the light of urgent circumstances.

2. Clarity

When you are clear, what you want will show up in your life, and only to the extent you are clear.

Fuzzy desires give fuzzy results. Gaining clarity is not a one-time experience; it’s an ongoing process. Take The Passion Test at least every six months and review your Markers and Passion Pages at least once a year.

3. Attention

What you put your attention on grows stronger in your life. Recognize every day and at every moment where you are putting your attention.

You will attract all the people, places and things you need to create that which you give attention to. As you shift your focus to all the good which is flowing into your life, watch how your life is transformed.

4. Stay Open

Your greatest good may not be what you think it is. When you are open to whatever is appearing now, even if it’s different than the way you think it should be, you release your individual will and open to God’s will for you.

This is the path to living your highest purpose in life. This is also the secret to overcoming any obstacle which may arise in your life. When disaster strikes and you are open, you can take advantage of the opportunities which inevitably present themselves.

5. Integrity

Be as true to yourself as you are to others, and as true to others as you are to yourself. The biggest challenge most of us face is to meet our responsibilities to others while pursuing our passions at the same time.

When you make commitments to others, make sure those commitments are aligned with your passions. Once you make commitments, keep them. If something else comes up, talk to the other person and ask their permission to renegotiate your commitment.

If they aren’t willing or able to make the necessary change, then keep your commitment as you originally made it even if it is uncomfortable.

Do this a few times, and you will become more careful about the commitments you make. And treat yourself with the same respect. When you make a commitment to yourself, treat it in the same way you would treat your commitment to another. That includes being willing to renegotiate your commitment when new circumstances arise.

6. Persistence

Many begin the journey. Those who finish it are the ones who achieve success and fulfillment in life.

In his classic book, Think and Grow Rich, Napoleon Hill tells the story of the man who bought a property with the intention of mining gold. The man discovered what appeared to be a massive vein.

He went out and purchased the machinery to mine the gold, but before he made any significant profits, the vein dried up. The man dug and dug, then finally, he gave up and sold the property and machinery for a few hundred dollars to a junk dealer.

That dealer consulted an expert who showed him the previous owner had failed because he didn’t understand the nature of fault lines. The expert told the new owner he would find the vein again, not far beyond where the digging had previously stopped.

The new owner followed this expert advice, and sure enough, found millions of dollars in gold, just three feet beyond where the previous owner had stopped digging.

When you’re living life truly aligned with your passions, persistence is not hard. You will find you can’t stop, even if you want to. Your deepest passions will drive you in spite of yourself.

7. Follow Your Heart

From The Passion Test:

“What you love and God’s will for you are one and the same.”

When all else fails, listen to your heart. Passion emerges from the heart, not from the mind.

When you feel confused, or lost, or don’t know which direction to head, then just start walking and pay attention to what your heart tells you. Do what you love, follow your heart’s direction and the path to fulfillment in life will naturally unfold before you.

Above all else, remember the secret that guarantees a passionate life:

“Whenever you are faced with a choice, a decision or an opportunity, choose in favor of your passions.”

This is the critical key. In a study of more than 200 of the most enduringly successful people in the world (each of them enjoyed great success in their field for more than 20 years), they all had this one characteristic in common: They based significant decisions in their life on what had the most profound meaning for them – their passions.

If you want to enjoy success in your own life, master this one secret of choosing in favor of your passions. You will be amazed by what shows up.