We are socialized into believing that life is all about going to school, getting a job and upgrading your lifestyle with every promotion as you try to keep up with the jonuses. But is that all there is to life?
When you wake up in the morning, do you feel excited about the new day? Are you impacting someone’s life with what you do? Are you making the world a better place? Will your legacy live on long after you are gone?
Jim Collins said, “It is impossible to have a great life unless it is a meaningful life. And it is very difficult to have a meaningful life without meaningful work.”
Many people think that purpose should be obvious and easy to identify, an idea that leads to much frustration and disappointment. Let me reassure you that your purpose will slowly emerge as you put one foot in front of the other, following where your heart, talents and life seem to be leading you.
As you go through this journey, gaining wisdom about yourself and receiving delicious, surprising clues from life, your sense of purpose will evolve and change.
But we have to be intentional about discovering our purpose. That is the only way we will be able to catch the cues that life throws our way. So how do we get started?
Focus on your values.
Your values are the things that you believe are important in the way you live and work.
They should determine your priorities. They are the measures you use to tell if your life is turning out the way you want it to.
For example; If you value family but have to work 70-hour weeks in your job, you will feel internal stress and conflict. And if you don’t value competition, and work in a highly competitive sales environment, are you likely to be satisfied with your job?
Be crystal clear about your core values and write them down.
Align your values to your goals.
You then need to ask yourself a few questions:
- What do I love to do, just because?
- What makes me forget the existence of time once I start doing it?
- What am I curious about?
- What am I good at?
- What do my friends and family tell me that I do so well?
- What leaves me smiling from the heart?
- Who do I love to help, serve or lift up?
- What would I do if success was guaranteed?
- What issues do I hold close to my heart?
- What kind of conversations do I have with my closest friends?
- What is on my bucket list?
Now check whether the answers to these questions are in alignment with your core values. This is because your core values form your belief systems which influence your behavior, thereby affecting the results you get.
Have a sense of urgency.
Once you have revised your goals to be in alignment with your values, you need to start taking action.
Do not feel like you are far too gone in the wrong path that it is irreversible. You can still change course, because the worst thing is struggling to get to the top only to realize the ladder was leaning against the wrong wall!
Personally, I studied Law but when I decided to discover my purpose by answering the above questions, I realized that I did not get that sense of fulfillment and changing the world. I decided to do a complete 360 in order to do what set my soul on fire. And that is changing mindsets in order to live extra-ordinary lives! It is never too late to start over. It is a chance to build something better.
Break down your new goals into daily steps that will get you closer to your goals. What can you do right now to change your course?
Invest your time in achieving your goals instead of just spending it.
Build healthy relationships.
Who do you surround yourself with? Are those people in alignment with your core values and goals? Because if you surround yourself with the wrong people and you want to change course, they will be the naysayers who discourage you and tell you that it cannot be done.
Can you imagine the negative voices I heard when I wanted to do a complete 360 on my career? Especially since it was one of the esteemed careers we were socialized to believe as a great choice!
There is a difference between naysayers and constructive criticism. Naysayers are those who don’t understand your vision and will discourage you because that means getting out of the comfort zone and they just can’t understand it. Constructive criticism on the other hand, is taking everything into account and making sure that it is the best choice for you. I had to let go of those who did not support my vision and built new healthy relationships. That was the best decision ever as these new relationships actually brought around the right circumstances that propelled my new career choice!
You need people who see the best in you, and if that means doing a total-overhaul of your career, they will be your support system.
Just get started, and the next steps will become clear. Don’t get too stressed about this or put too much pressure on yourself. Remember to take a day at a time, be present in the moment, and delight in watching it all unfold. Life really is beautiful!