Look around you. Look at the faces of your colleagues, friends or the people you see. Do they seem to be truly passionate about what they do? What does their body language tell you about how they feel about their job, life, circumstances, or their contribution? Take a mental snapshot and ask yourself: “Do they look happy?”
Now, bring your attention back to you.
• What does your body language say?
• What is your internal dialogue communicating?
• Are you living a life of purpose?
• When you wake up first thing in the morning, are you excited for the day?
Or like many people, do you dread the thought of another day of commuting to a job you don’t like, conversing on subjects that don’t uplift you, working in an environment that doesn’t inspire, alongside people with whom you struggle to connect?
Well, if this is the case – and it’s highly likely that it is, since surveys have shown that 85% of people hate their jobs – the only real comfort is that you’re not alone!
The problem is in living or working without a sense of purpose. An unfortunate pattern has developed, in which most of the working world have not actually consciously chosen the job they are now in. They tend to fall into a job through either circumstance or necessity, rather than through desire or passion.
When you ask people how they got into their industry or landed their job, it’s very rarely something they’ve always wanted to do. Most often, it’s because they were chasing more money, or a friend landed them the job or – very often – they were just desperate for work. So, rather than making an informed choice based on their innermost passions and gifts, they end up falling into a role through chance, circumstances and sometimes, fear.
Things you fall into are very hard to climb out of. Most people don’t make it out at all. They sadly accept their current reality and rather would sit in misery or point their fingers, blaming others, rather than taking responsibility for their own circumstances.
So, if this is your current reality – how do you get to a place of purpose? And what does that even look like? Much of it is down to your values – doing what is important to you in life, coupled with what you love to do, your past experiences and your gifts and talents.
Here are some tips on getting to a place of purpose, through examining and utilising your passions, history and their natural skills:
Rediscover your passions. Look back to childhood.
• What did you love doing, as a child? What excited you? What were your favourite pastimes? What did you gravitate towards, in the earlier years of life?
• Can you get back in touch with this passion? Can you translate your childhood passion into a career or side-line?
For example, you may have loved building things with Lego. Perhaps you can’t get paid for that (although some adults actually do!). But you could use transferable skills to pursue a career in the adult equivalent – crafting bespoke items by hand, computer modelling, gaming; or in building or architecture. Or even by designing, making or selling toys and games.
• What excites you, now? What could you happily do, or talk about – all day, every day?
• Can you monetise it? What would it take, to do it for a living?
Many people’s life experiences from the past give them a winning edge. Whether positive or negative, the challenges they have experienced provided them with a springboard to success and a platform to help others. Look at basketball star Michael Jordan, who, as a child, was always competing with his brother for his father’s attention. This competitive drive and urge to prove himself translated into his basketball skills. He drove himself to succeed, against the odds.
• What qualities have you developed through life experience?
• What skills have you developed, through adversity or challenge?
• What lessons have you learnt?
• What challenges have you overcome that now give you a competitive advantage?
• Can these be transferred into a job, or into helping others?
These are your ‘gifts’.
• What are you naturally good at?
• What comes effortlessly to you?
• What can you do that others can’t?
• Can you use your gift/s to develop a career and live your life purposefully?
Our gifts are often related to our passions – because we love to do the things we love – so we get better at them. And we love doing things well. Some people have a natural affinity or talent – whether for football, music, art, dance, writing, maths, nature. Often, these skills are not nurtured by our education system, or they become lost in the mix because we are encouraged to work on our deficits, rather than build on our talents.
What if your gift became your career? Or you use the transferable skills of your gift to make money?
There is nothing worse than feeling jaded because your job doesn’t fulfil your deepest needs or give you a sense of purpose. Don’t look back with regret. Get in touch with your passions, use your gifts and direct your past experience into future success. If you love what you do, you’ll never have to work another day in your life. Because every effort will be aligned to your passions, with a higher purpose.
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