If you haven’t found or pursued your purpose yet, I’ve a good news and a bad news for you.
The good news is that you will know how to find your purpose at the end of this article. The bad news is that it will actually require both work and focus.
“Everybody has a calling in life and your job in life is to figure that out. That’s a job.”
I remember when I was in high school I had absolutely no idea of what I wanted to do in life. I didn’t know what job I wanted to do, what career I would pursue and to be honest I didn’t give much thought about it. My main focuses at that time were video games, friends and girls.
It’s only 3 months after getting to college that I realized how lost I was and how frustrating it was to not know my calling.
Every morning I remember waking up and systematically wondering what I wanted to do with my life.
Every single day I asked myself the same questions over and over again without getting any clear answer. It was as if my life was meaningless.
Today things have changed. I’ve identified what my purpose in life is. I now know what I am passionate about, what my future is going to be, what fulfills me…I feel more in control than ever.
But getting there hasn’t been easy.
As I learned from this experience, I want to show you how you too can find your purpose. But first let me give you the reasons why you haven’t found or pursued it yet.
#1 Reason: You are not looking in the details
For some people, their purpose is obvious.
I remember when I was 7 years old I had a friend who dreamed of becoming a farmer. He helped his father at his farm and figured out very early that, this is what he wanted to do in life. He never had to wonder what his purpose was. He just knew it. Today he has his own farm and is happier than ever!
For others finding their calling is not so obvious and requires looking into the details.
I strongly believe that life give us some kind of signals to help us find our direction. Unfortunately we almost never pay attention to them. We just go on with our life even if we know this isn’t right for us.
That’s exactly what happened to me during my first year of college.
I chose to study the languages major. I noticed very soon that I hated this major but I kept telling myself:
“Work harder! You don’t like it now but if you study seriously you will be more knowledgeable and will probably like it in the future. You could even work as a translator…”
I bullshited myself for one year during which the following signals were constantly indicating me that this wasn’t my calling:
- I sucked at translating texts and had much better grade in economics
- Many people kept unintentionally mentioning a business school that was located in the same campus than the one I studied in
- A little voice in my head was telling me almost every day that this wasn’t for me, that I wasn’t meant for this major
- I doubted myself a lot, which doesn’t happen when you pursue your purpose
At one point this situation became insupportable. I couldn’t live that way anymore. I had to find my calling.
It’s only then that I started paying attention to all these little details and signals that helped me find my purpose in life.
I think that one of the reasons why you haven’t found your purpose yet is because you haven’t paid attention to the little signals that life has been giving you.
Your calling doesn’t necessarily have to be a big thing. Sometimes the smallest things are the ones that impact our life the most.
#2 Reason: You don’t dare to shine living the life you are meant for
There is a dark phenomenon in our society. Every time we do things that show that we are going towards light, people become frightened and crush us or tell us we can’t do it. Because of that we tend to conform ourselves.
- You: I want to be a writer/photographer/artist
- People’s answer: Are you sure? You can’t really make a living from it you know
- You: I want to be a doctor
- People’s answer: I know a doctor who told me that it was hard to become one.
- You: I want to travel the world and meet new people
- People’s answer: Yeah right! Stop dreaming. Where are you going to find the money?
As we listen to what people tell us, we think:
“Maybe they are right, maybe I’m not meant for that…I should probably do a career in finance, or be a lawyer…”
As we don’t feel supported we decide to study in a college that’s not right for us, pursing a career we don’t like…
Our purpose was obvious, we knew exactly what it was but because people told us it wasn’t right for us we chose something completely different.
In 1951, Salomon Asch of Swarthmore College did a very interesting study about conformity and how people tended to make the wrong choices in social situation.
The study basically showed that human beings could deny the most obvious things just to conform to society.
The Asch study perfectly explains why some people don’t live their purpose. It’s not that they haven’t found it, it’s that living it would be uncomfortable so they choose conformity over what they are really meant for.
#3 Reason: You let your lack of knowledge and resources get in your way
Sometimes we know what our purpose in life is but as we lack of knowledge or resources, we end up thinking that this is not the purpose we are meant for.
The typical case is when someone wants to create his/her own company but doesn’t have the capital and doesn’t know how to create and run it.
That person knows deep down that starting his own company would be fulfilling, that he could finally create things as he wants and live according to his own rule. He feels that this is his calling and yet he doesn’t pursue it because he let his lack of knowledge and resources get in his way.
As he thinks it’s impossible he comes to the conclusion that this mustn’t be his purpose.
Don’t let your lack of knowledge and resources get in your way.
Most of the time your calling will require new knowledge and skills and if you want to live a fulfilling life you will need to develop them.
Now that you know the 3 reasons why you haven’t found or pursued your purpose yet, let’s see what you can do about it.
Ask yourself the good questions
A good way to find your calling is to explore your web like Tony Robbins says.
Most answers are already there, you just need to ask the good questions to uncover your calling.
- What would you do if you knew you would die within 3 months?
- What would you do if fear was inexistent?
- What if money was no object?
When you think about it for a long period of time, you will start getting the answers you have been looking for. You will realize that you always knew what your purpose was and that what prevented you from living it for so long was only fear.
Look into the details
As I mentioned it before, I believe that life gives us signals to help us find our way and if you want to see them you have to look into details. It’s very subtle.
It can be for example small things you think about repetitively or things you think you should do.
Try to pay attention to these little things that keeps coming into your life because if something keeps coming, it probably means that it’s important.
Knowing what you don’t want to do in life is an excellent way to define your purpose.
I remember when I did my first internship, I worked for a multinational company. At that time I thought that working for big names would look great on my CV. I quickly realized that I was not meant for this work environment.
In most multinational companies, everything is standardized and very often there is no room for creating or expressing yourself. I found it so frustrating! But that frustration helped me figure out that I wasn’t meant to be an employee but an entrepreneur.
Your experience and your errors will help you figure out what you want to do with your life. If you currently have a job you hate that’s great! It means you know what you don’t like, which will help you find your calling down the road.
Go through Spring and live your purpose
Once you figured out what your purpose is, you need to go through what I call your Spring.
If you are in winter you can’t directly be in summer, you need to go through spring.
What’s great about spring is that nature comes alive again. The grass and flowers grow back, days get longer…
When you want to live your purpose you have to go through the same process.
Very often when people find their calling, they think that they need to drop everything, their job, their studies to fully devote themselves to what they are meant for.
It doesn’t work that way.
You will almost always have to go through a period – Your Spring – during which you will have to grow by acquiring new knowledge, new skills and by probably getting more resources and developing your network.
This transition requires time.
You can’t pursue your purpose without changing what’s in your head.
So here is what you have to do to go through Spring and live your purpose:
Get the knowledge you need to live your purpose
Read books, watch videos, attend seminars…try to learn as much as you can everyday.
Get the resources
For some purpose, you will need resources. For example if you want to create a company or if you think that you can’t make a living from your calling getting some resources is necessary.
To get that capital you can save money, crowd fund, freelance, take a part time job, invest…
You will need to sacrifice a few months or years to make more money so that you can then invest it in your company or live off your saving and/or investments if you think you can’t make a living from your life purpose.
Now I want hear from you! Do you know what your purpose in life is? Are you still looking for it? Let me know in the comments below! (I will read and answer them)