As human beings we desire a sense of purpose. We suffer serious phycological difficulties when we don't have it. People with purpose lead more happier, more fulfilling lives. All of that said, purpose is one of the most elusive objects of our desire. Many of us spend our entire life trying to find our purpose, whilst some are lucky enough to discover their life's work, very early on. I remember my best friend telling me when we were around eights years old that she was going to spend her life helping animals, specifically "doggies". She followed her dream and today she is a vet. I am unsure whether she did specialise in dogs. But, for the rest of us, who are not so lucky, it's a bit of guessing game, a touch and go, until we finally find something that feels right.
How to search for purpose
Google it. Just kidding. Many of us wouldn't even have a key word to search for. The purpose pursuit can be a bewildering excerise, however here are a few tips to help narrow your search and hopefully make it more efficient;
Take a sabbatical
Just please, find the courage, to leave the track that you've been on if you are finding it unfulfilling. It will lead you nowhere until you see the bigger picture. Take a purposeful break and gain some objectivity. Go trekking, jump out of a plane, or just simply travel somewhere alone. Step outside of your comfort zone and really understand who you are and what you want from your life. If you are confused on what you want to do with your life, then you need clarity and a sabbatical will certainly help with this.
2. Take a note as you try new things
You need to start noting your reaction to new experiences. Do you like the idea of leaving your current job? Or is something stopping you from quitting? Is this fear? Or is the barrier deeper? Do you feel inadequate in your role? Getting to the bottom of these big questions helps you to find out, what you need and what will fulfil you.
3. Revisit your childhood dreams
There is a theory in phycology linking childhood dreams to adulthood depression. It states that as children we develop dreams of who we will be as adults. This childhood vision is made up of our innate values and desires. The theory argues that, if when we become adults, we ignore our childhood visions of who we should be, we become depressed. This is for a variety of reasons, including the fact that our innate values don't change much, between child-adulthood, so we are turning away from our authentic selves. The moral of the story is that there may be something in our buried childhood dreams. Revisit what you wanted to be when you were younger. Do any of these dreams still resonate with you? You could find your calling and if not, you are that much closer.
How to know when you have found your purpose
What to look out for if you feel you may have stumbled upon your life's work;
- It feels more like a hobby than work.
- You work is an extension of your beliefs and values.
- You are willing to suffer for your work, and use setbacks as motivation.
- You lose yourself in the work, often losing sense of time.
- You are able to maintain a work/life balance without feeling drained.
- The concept of work is never daunting; you look forward to it.
- The people closest to you will notice your contentment.
- No matter how exhausted you are, you look forward to continuing your work.