I wish I could tell you that I have an easy and simple formula to give you, but I don’t. Some people seem to figure this out quite easily and early while others struggle for quite some time until they discover their purpose. And still others would admit that they never have managed to figure out their purpose. While there is no quick and easy formula, I would like to share some thoughts and ideas with you that I hope will get you thinking and reflecting and point you in the right direction on your journey of discovering your purpose in your career/life.
Sometimes in life, I believe we find our purpose. And at other times, our purpose finds us. Or maybe it is a bit of the two combined. I think the best way to get started is to give it some serious thought and reflection. Try to get to know yourself better, start working to accept and embrace the best parts of yourself, your best qualities. Start exploring your interests, your strengths, your talents. Pay attention to what you really care about, what you feel strongly about, what moves you. Give yourself opportunities to learn more and gain more experience in these areas. I find that very often, taking such actions puts you on the right path and often sparks a chain of events that can lead you to unexpected insights and opportunities.
Please consider the following:
(I would encourage you to write down your answers.)
- What do you find really interesting? What really sparks your curiosity?
- Is there some need that you see? Something that just won’t leave you alone? Something that you just can’t stop thinking about?
- Is there anything that makes you really angry?
Anything that really breaks your heart?
- Is there anything that you would really like to improve or change?
- Is there anything that you do and you notice that you lose track of time and find yourself completely absorbed in it?
- Is there anything that you feel almost obsessed with – like you just can’t get enough of it?
- Think about when people ask you for help or ask for your advice. With what? About what? These are likely some of your top strengths and things that you do naturally well and probably do quite easily. Don’t discount them!
- Consider how you could build on them and do more of them. How could you get even better at them? How could you make them a bigger part of your work?
- What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail? If you knew it was guaranteed to be a success?
- How do you feel you could best serve – be most helpful, add the most value to those around you/to the world around you?
- What could you do that would make the greatest, most positive impact?
- Is there some activity or some work that you enjoy so much that you would do it for free?
- Consider this quote:
‘Your vocation in life is where your greatest joy meets the world’s greatest need.’ –Frederick Buechner
I love this quote, and I think it is a great catalyst to get the creative and thinking juices flowing. I would encourage you to think on it. Maybe write on it – whatever comes to mind. Go for a walk and consider it as you walk. See what comes up for you.
- And finally, let’s get deep and philosophical for a moment. Think ahead to when your time on this earth is over and your life has ended. What legacy do you want to leave behind? What do you want to be remembered for? What do you want to have contributed to the world and the people around you? (This could be something that seems big and complex. This could be something that seems small and simple. Either category can have results that turn out to be profound and meaningful.)
- Imagine for a moment that you knew deep down what your mission in life is, what it is supposed to be. How would that feel? How would you feel?
- Now answer this – first thought that comes to your mind. What is your mission? Your purpose?
- How can you make it happen? What do you need to do? What do you need to know? How can you get started?
- What is the first tiny step you can take to move toward it?
Now go and do it!
I encourage you to keep asking yourself questions and keep looking for answers. Stay open and receptive. Find ways to take action that helps you explore your interests and strengths and helps you become a better and stronger person. This approach will surely push you forward in your journey to finding your purpose. And remember, every journey – no matter how short or long – starts with the first small step. Getting started is the most important part of the journey.