The conversation around purpose is an interesting one. I say this because the stories around people who found their purpose tend to have undertones of accidentally stumbling upon the purpose or the polar opposite of knowing from very early on that somehow they would end up doing something related to that. This makes it all the more confusing. What we can agree on is that finding purpose is something that we can pursue. It is not only for the young, anybody can start the journey to finding their purpose at any time. Just before we get into it, remember that expressions of your purpose can be dynamic, today you may be working in a field and tomorrow you could be teaching about it.
Sometimes you have to allow yourself to use your gifts and talents in service of others. These opportunities also give you great experiences to learn more about a particular area or pursuit. See it’s one thing to think you want to bake as your purpose. When you consider the early mornings, mixing, carefully following instructions and patience you realise that maybe baking is something you enjoy doing but not your purpose. Of course, you won’t be able to find this out by just thinking about it, you have to do it and volunteering is a great way to explore this. So find opportunities to volunteer and see how much you enjoy things and whether or not the other related activities work for you.
The people around you will give you great insights though it may not always be what you want to hear. As they say, familiarity breeds contempt so it is difficult for people around you to be completely objective about you. Fortunately for you, it’s not their objectivity you need in helping you find your purpose but rather their insight and honesty. Those around you will give you some of the best feedback about yourself that will help you find your purpose. They may just point out your skills, what excites you, what drains you and what you do effortlessly better than others. Request feedback from those around you to gain some insight on finding your purpose.
People close to you are what Malcolm Gladwell in the book Blink refers to as strong ties. Those who are not close to you he refers to as weak ties. Gladwell proposes that people who are great successes in life do so because of their impact on their weak ties rather than their strong ties. It makes sense, unless you know a million people there’s no way you’re selling a million units of your product to strong ties, majority of your sales are to weak ties or people you’re not tied to. Read the book to understand the concept better than I can explain it. The point is you grow weak ties through networking. So networking can help you find your purpose by exposing you to more people with different ideas.
Of course, networking doesn’t just end at developing a lot of weak ties. It’s normal, if not essential that some of those weak ties will become strong ties. This is not to say they will become friends or family but you may enjoy close working and business relationships with them. So peering up can help you to find your purpose. Associating with people who are within the things you want to pursue or are pursuing similar things will help you get closer to finding your purpose.
Explore your interests
A great way to find your purpose is to explore your interests. While normally interests are things you enjoy, I will later explain how that also includes things you are not happy with. Think your purpose is playing an instrument? Try it! Gardening? Try it! Whatever it is you will find out more by exploring it than not. Think of Thomas Edison remarking that he figured out the way to make the light bulb by going through 1000 ways that didn’t work.
What bothers or excites you?
You focus on what you think about whether you want it or not. That’s a very important lesson to learn because you will realise that many if not all stories of people who found purpose are evenly split between those who moved towards something that excited them or moved against something that bothered them. Pay close attention to what affects your emotions both positively and negatively – your purpose could be hidden in there.
Purpose, or rather the expression of purpose can be seasonal as mentioned before. So these tips don’t just work for people looking for purpose, they work for those trying to upgrade their purpose or move on to the next stage of expressing it.