In a world of endless possibilities, it’s all too easy to be overwhelmed by the extent of choice and to feel rudderless: Lacking purpose and direction. How do we know what we are destined to do? How do we know which passion to pursue? And if we do follow what we feel is our true passion, what if we just can’t make a living out of it, or there’s too much competition, or we’re not good enough or we change our minds? Throw in an enormous amount of pressure from parents, friends, partners, teachers and society and choosing a life direction can become extremely confusing and anxiety-inducing. I know all too well how easy it is to lose touch with yourself and your own inner voice.
However, do not be afraid if it takes you a while to find or create your own unique path. Take the pressure off yourself. In reality, most of us won’t suddenly wake up and know with certainty. But life will lead us on a journey, one that will take many twists and turns. In the end, nothing is lost; life is about learning. Failure is a word we invented. But all it is really describing is the way in which we learn from an experience and adjust to be better in the future. Failure teaches us resilience and how to deal with adversity. Try not to dwell on negative past experiences as they are out of your control and do not have to control your thoughts and feelings in the present. Remaining fixed in the past can make you unwell. Instead, succumb to the truth that all we ever have is the present moment.
Your purpose comes from your talents (gits and strengths), passions (what excites you) and values (what you care about most). Translating your talents, passions and values into being of service in some way, whether to others or the world, becomes a purpose. It is the unique difference you have to offer the world. It makes you feel connected, inspired and truly alive. Living as your authentic self is the basis of your personal power.
Questions to ask yourself to help you find your purpose:
- What are your strengths? What are you good at?
- What excites you?
- What inspires you?
- What do you spend most of your time thinking or talking about?
- How does your life demonstrate your values?
- What did you want to do when you were young? (Your inner child has a strong inner knowing)
As the saying goes, “If you love your work, you will never work a day in your life.” Whatever excites you most, with integrity, is what you should be doing. If you are unsure of what you love or what excites you, it can be helpful to:
- Stop doing the things you don’t like doing and start exploring things you do like
- Use self-assessment tools to better understand yourself and your values (e.g. Myer-Briggs personality test, Life Values Inventory, Holland Career Code, etc.)
- Journal and get in touch with your own inner voice
- Begin a creative project
- Sign up for a class or workshop
- Research topics that interest you
- Join a social sport
- Learn a new language
It’s also great to make a list of people who inspire you and note commonalities in what they stand for, what they have achieved and how they have achieved it. Maybe you’d like to write books, create art, teach others, help others with their health, design beautiful buildings, build things with your hands, start your own business, develop your own fashion label, travel the world taking photographs, open your own café, design a new product, start a podcast, work outdoors, protect endangered species, develop a way to clean our oceans… the sky is the limit!
When you are living a life aligned with your values, pursuing your passions and being of meaningful service while doing so, trust that you will attract money and stability into your life.