In the age of self-help books and motivational Ted Talks, it can seem as though we are constantly being bombarded with ways to improve, innovate, and reinvent ourselves. Humans have a want, no, actually a NEED to find purpose in life. We thrive when we are doing what makes us feel truly alive. So why shouldn’t your career in life make you feel that way? Many people will spend 40+ hours a week at a job that brings them a little bit of joy and not a lot of purpose. We have been programmed to believe that our job is just that… a JOB. But why can’t it be more? Finding your “why” can lead you to a job that is meaningful and purposeful.
You might be wondering “Okay… so how do I find my why?” Your purpose (or “why”) comes from four major areas: your talents, your passions, your skills and expertise, and your values.
So how do we break each of these components down to really find our purpose? Well let’s start with talents.
The dictionary describes talent as a “natural aptitude or skill.”
The really important part of this is natural. Your purpose should feel natural to you. It shouldn’t be forced or awkward. If you struggle with writing then your purpose in life is probably not to be a New York Times best-selling author. If you can’t throw a football than I’m sorry, but you probably won’t be a quarterback in the NFL. Can’t match pitch? Your chances of winning a Grammy are pretty slim. Our talents are what sets us apart from everyone else. They are what makes us unique. Determining what your talents are can be a bit challenging. Often times, people don’t even recognize their own talents because they are so natural. Finding your talents can take some serious self-reflection. Ever noticed how you have an ability to talk to just about anyone? Did you realize how quickly you were able to figure out that new software update? It can be hard to recognize what we’re naturally good at because we’re so often looking for ways to better ourselves. Talents can be hidden so take the time find yours.
Your skills and expertise can be closely linked to your talents; however, there is a slight difference.
Talents are what comes naturally to us whereas our skills and expertise are what we have learned and improved upon. This often comes from knowledge we have gathered through practice, schooling, or just living in the real world. I’m sure we all know the phrase “practice makes perfect.” Well, people aren’t kidding when they say that. When we practice our skills or become more knowledgeable in our expert fields we can become unstoppable. By improving our skills and expertise we become better at the craft we were already good at. Our purpose becomes bigger and better because we take the time to learn and grow with it.
What makes you feel most alive? What keeps you up at night? What is it that gives you that uncontrollable, undeniable feeling of “yes, this is what I’m meant to do”? Whatever it is, it’s your passion.
Our passions are what drives us to our purpose.
Your “why” in life can’t be fulfilled if it’s not your passion. It’s as simple as that. Oprah Winfrey (aka the Queen of Media) once said “follow your passion, it will lead you to your purpose.” So if Oprah said it, it must be true. Our purpose in life is meaningless if we’re not passionate about it. My advice? Find what you’re passionate about and create a meaningful life around it.
The final component to finding and fulfilling your purpose is to recognize your core values. Each person has their own set of opinions and beliefs which helps shape our values.
Your values may not match mine and THAT IS OK. As I have mentioned before, not a single person in the world has lived the same life as you, so why would they have the same thoughts, opinions, or values? You need to know what you value in life in order to find your purpose in life. Our values are what really matters at our inner most core. It’s what we find so important that we would never compromise them. Our values often times lead us to our purpose because they are unshakable. Your values should not be easily changed or persuaded which means if you align your purpose with what you value it would become nearly impossible to give up.
In order find a job and lead a life that is meaningful and purposeful you need to find your “why.” When people feel like they are living a life filled with promise and purpose they will also be more productive.
Your job shouldn’t be something you HAVE to do but rather something you WANT to do.
By addressing your talents, skills & expertise, passion, and values you will be able to find your purpose and the reason why you are here.