You’ll Never Find Your Purpose, Here’s Why
I was trying to write a perfect beginning of this article.
And the reality is that I need to address the elephant in the room.
And that is, that movies you’ve seen and everything you’ve heard that your life purpose will hit you in a single moment is quite rare.
You won’t be taking a shower, or sitting on the ultimate reflection spot (toilet seat) and get the sudden “AHA” moment of what do you need to do in life.
The truth is, the purpose is not found, the purpose is created, and it is created throughout the life. As you evolve, so does your purpose.
And when I say purpose, I don’t mean that “woohoo” destiny talk and how each one of us was born with a specific thing we need to accomplish in life.
But specific opportunities that you can engage in life, and when looked in whole will be your purpose.
Everything you’ve done so far has left clues. All you need to do is look back and find those clues.
“You can’t connect the dots looking forward you can only connect them looking backward. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something: your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. – Steve Jobs
Yes. You cannot connect the dots looking forward, but you can sure try. You can plan it out.
Set clear goals, build a specific action plan and evaluate. Take calculated risks.
But, if you don’t want to wake up in 10 years on a high school reunion with a bunch of depressed people, then you have to do something about it.
The main problem is that ever since we’re kids, people around us told us that:
“Study. Get a degree. Find a job. Get married. Start a family” – is the way to go.
For the generation of our grandparents and parents, that might have worked.
But for us, young professionals and entrepreneurs, I don’t think it will.
The problem was that nobody ever taught us how can we take control of our life path.
The educational system is faulty, and we never learned what are we good at and how can we chase what our passions. And cash it in, while providing value to people around us.
But, we did learn that mosquito has 47 teeth (unless he’s been in a bar fight). I know, how could anyone live without that information. So crucial.
So my job, with this article is to be your partner in crime. To give you the right tools.
Before I proceed, there is one thing I want to be clear on.
This article won’t be fluffy, searching meaning in life according random actions is not the way to do it.
You will have three steps, and if you want to move forward, feel fulfilled in your everyday life and take control of you life, plus get paid for it, you have to start somewhere.
It took me years to get to this point in life, where I understand the moves I’ve made and how they led me here.
And how moving forward, I can take calculated steps according to my purpose and goals I’ve set based on it.
So let’s start.
3 Step Process For Defining Your Purpose
There are three things you need to define:
1. What are you good at (your talents + skills)
2. What you love to do (your passions)
3. What opportunities can you find or create (the world needs)
WHAT ARE YOU GOOD AT?
Most people don’t know an answer to this question.
And most people assume that they don’t have talents, which is far from the truth.
One important thing is to make a difference between talents and skills. One is a natural potential for something; another is something that with determination and hard work you can develop.
Everybody is good at something; we just need to find what it is.
You have, to be honest here, and you have to dig deep.
That’s why the first step is to do an internal assessment.
There are two questions that can get you started.
“What one skill has been responsible for most of your successes?”
Usually, there are several, but you can in most cases pinpoint it to a specific ability.
Ability to organize, or to communicate efficiently, lead people, or maths.
”If you are in the room of 30 people, what is the one thing you are 100% certain that you do better than the rest of them?”
Don’t worry about arrogance at this moment. Think about what do you believe you can do better.
It can be anything, from joke telling to being a good friend.
Try not to limit yourself.
And let your mind wonder, you can list several, it will be easier, later on, to connect it to the things you love.
Once you finish with internal assessment, next step you want to do is do an external one.
The other is purely objective.
Talk with people around you, family, friends, and co-workers. People that know you both personally and professionally.
The goal of the external assessment is to confirm or deny whether or not the skills and talents you listed are spot on, and to see whether people think you have something else you might not be even aware of.
Be prepared even to hear something you might not expect, and remember that feedback is a privilege.
Once you finish both, you should have several items defined, out of which 1-2 should be your core things.
Be proud of yourself for a job well done.
Now let’s move on.
WHAT DO YOU LOVE TO DO?
Most of us know what we like to do, but we are rarely specific.
The point here is the there are no wrong answers.
Approach defining this with an innocence of a child, because my belief is that no matter what you love to do if you merge it with what you are good at, you can find a way to deliver value to people around you and cash it in (if your goal is wealth).
The first step is to list down things you love to do; three is always a magic number (but there are no rules).
Once again it can be simple as talking, writing, traveling and so on.
I believe the first time I did this; mine were: talking, people and development.
They haven’t changed much; now I’ve just added “writing” to the mix :).
Once you have three or more, next step is to break them down further.
Because talking is quite vague.
Talking to whom? Talking about what? Talking where?
So whatever your passion is, try to be as specific as possible, it will help you a lot later on.
At this point you should have things you are good at and things that you love to do, defined.
And now let’s see how can you use these.
Next step is to see what opportunities can you find or create, where you will be able to utilize what are you good at and what you love to do. While at the same time providing massive value and in return being successful (whatever your definition of success is).
For this step, you can list certain opportunities on top of your head, but if you want to achieve results, be sure to do a detailed research.
There are two types of people:
– People who love to advance their career
– People who love to start things on their own (entrepreneurs)
In this case, it’s up to you which one do you want to focus on. My opinion is that you can try both.
Opportunities You Can Find
So, let’s take a look at opportunities you can find.
Based on your skills (and talents), and passions, you might already have a specific fit on the market.
What specific jobs or careers on the market you can pursue, where you will excel and enjoy at the same time?
Try not to limit yourself based on your location, education or even previous experience.
Look for possibilities anywhere in the world (and make a list of the opportunities that you find), and later deal with the challenge of how to get it.
Opportunities You Can Create
When it comes to opportunities you can create, this is a no limit zone.
This means that whatever you can think of you can start, no matter how small and simple.
The question would be:
Based on my skills (and talents), and passions, what possible projects can I create that will give me desired success?
When I say the project, it can be anything from a blog, startup, NGO and a foundation.
Create your own. You can easily start something on your own, and know that for most of the things you don’t need a lot of money – just dedication.
If you cannot think of anything, try to think of the people you admire and whose lives seem like something you would want to have.
Then the next step would be to model what they have done.
“Long ago, I realized that success leaves clues and that people who produce outstanding results do specific things to create those results. I believed that if I precisely duplicated the actions of others, I could reproduce the same quality of results that they had.” – Tony Robbins
You might not be able to reproduce the same quality of results because the circumstances might be different. But you can sure achieve something similar. As long as you have clear goals and specific action plan.
At this point, you should have three things defined.
Your strongest talents, something things which you are passionate about, and a couple of opportunities where you can achieve success by doing something you are good at and what you love.
Here’s my example:
- Skills/Talents(explaining things)
- Passions (Talking/writing, people and development)
- Opportunities (learning experience design, a professional development blog, consulting, coaching, delivering speeches, teaching, creating online programs).
But for you, the next thing is to start.
Try one opportunity and see how it goes.
Then move to the second one, until you find one which you can call your purpose.
But once you find it, don’t stop there. As you grow and evolve, so will your purpose.
Whatever opportunity you decide to try, never forget to stop every once in a while and evaluate whether or not you are on the right path.
Whether or not your action plan is serving its purpose, and leading you towards the accomplishment of your purpose faster.
And final, whether or not that opportunity is right for you.
Sometimes we go at something; we invest ourselves, energy, time and money, and we get so close, that we never think to evaluate whether or not that goal or opportunity is still healthy for us.
Every great person that lived did the same thing. They tried one opportunity, and it led them to another. One opportunity after another, it slowly shaped them and the idea of what is it they need to do in this world.
So it will shape you.
Even if you got clear or defined one of these things, today you’ve made a step forward. Be proud of yourself.
If you want to step up the game, I urge you to sit down and define the rest. You will thank yourself soon.
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Author: Zdravko Cvijetic
Zdravko Cvijetic, the founder of Zero To Skill, creates practical content, ranging from articles, e-guides, and courses, that will help you become a top performer, by gaining clarity on your life path, mastering your habits and becoming 3x more productive. With a degree in Adult Education and Lifelong Learning, he was able to create content that has influenced more than 100.000 people.