I have read so many books about how to find your purpose, especially during my quarter life crisis. I believe every person was put on this earth for a reason. We just have to find that reason.
Some people believe that finding your purpose means figuring out how to make a lot of money. That’s not always the case, because some people aren’t driven by material means and we all have different ideas about what defines “a lot” of money. Having a passion and something you love waking up every day to do is what finding your purpose is about. Here are five steps to help you find your purpose:
5 Steps to help You find Your Purpose:
1. Make a list of things you’ve been doing since you were a child.
Most of the time our purpose doesn’t come to us overnight. It’s something that we’ve been doing without thinking about it since we were children. When I think back to my childhood, I would line my dolls up to play school and love to grade their assignments. I used to get in trouble for writing the longest stories and loved reading every book I could get my hands on. I also loved fashion and used to design a line of clothes on the playground with my friends.
From my list, you could say I’ve been teaching, reading, writing, and being creative since I was a kid. These are things that come naturally to me and things that I don’t see as work, but as fun things to do. Think about your own childhood. What did you used to play or what was your go to activity year after year? Things like digging in the dirt, playing video games, or being the leader in school can be used to help you find your purpose. Try to create a list of 10 things that you enjoy doing (I like to keep all my notes in a notebook).
2. Determine what different types of career skills you have based on your list.
Once you have a list, you need to be able to decide what kind of job these traits would work for. For instance, playing school with my dolls and grading their homework can be seen as a teacher, editor, or a leader for guidance. Obviously the reading and writing are signs of being a storyteller or a writer, and I have a lot of creative ability.
You don't have to come up with specific jobs from these activities. Instead, you should focus on different types of skills like manager, organized, collaborative, etc. For instance, playing video games can be a sign of good hand-eye coordination or even a tech skill if you have a love for computers. Digging in the dirt could be a love for science, or a longing to be outside. Think about how each activity pertains to you specifically. There are no wrong answers.
3. Think about your ideal work environment.
Once you have list of skills, now you need to decide where you would use them. This is a common question during job interviews, as well, so it's a good thing to think about. For me, I am more independent and introverted, so I enjoy working alone. But I also love being the leader and helping a group of people, so I would also do well in a managerial role.
When you're trying to think of past examples, think about where you are the most productive. Do you prefer to study alone or in groups? How do you feel about being isolated in a cubicle? You might be a combination, like me. I like to work independently, but I also require human interaction, so I need to find an environment that is dual. Or I have to decide which one is more important to me.
4. Research the steps for this type of career.
Once you know different things you like to do, you need to know how to do them. Check out my article that lists different career paths and what kind of schooling is required for each. If you know what type of profession you want to go for, create a list of potential employers. Even if you want to be an entrepreneur, make a list of different people that have that job or close to it. This is going to help you learn more about the role or a career path to take.
5. Layout a plan to getting where you want to be.
Now that you have found your purpose, you need to know how to get there. Using the list of people that are in your dream role is helpful for this step. You can see what path they may have previously taken or what entry level jobs you can start at to gain experience. I also like to reach out to these people to see if I can get an interview or even just email them a few questions. You'd be surprised at how willing people are to sit down with you.
Think about where you want to be in 1 to 5 years, but use this 90 day goal plan to start making moves today. I love long term visualizing, but I think listing out small steps over and over helps us actually be successful. It also helps make your goal less daunting if it's one small chunk at a time. Try to keep all of your notes together in 1 notebook, so you can look back at the different lists you've made.
I think it's AWESOME that you want to find your purpose in life. Not many people focus on finding what makes them happy, but I think it's super important. It's ok if you're still feeling a little lost after reading the 5 steps. This process may take some deep thinking and time before you find your exact purpose. It's also ok to work and try different things, then change your mind as you go. Sometimes those prior career choices help give us skills we will need later to be successful.