Throughout the years, it never fails that there is often one curious person in my audience that is brave enough to ask me, "How did you know that this is what you wanted to do?" Most people typically don't like my response because my answer of "I just knew" does not typically work well for others. But that's honestly the case! Ever since I was in the 12th grade I saw myself standing before large audiences speaking, training, and encouraging them to their next level of success. It's what I did as a HR leader in Corporate America and it's what I do now as an entrepreneur.
However, I've heard the question and had the conversation enough times to know and understand the question behind the question is, "How do 'I' discover what my own purpose is? And can you help me?" Essentially, they want to know how do I know what my "it" thing is!
Before I share some key questions to help you how to live a more purposeful and purpose-filled life, I want to demystify the term for a second. Truthfully, as much as I love the word purpose, I equally don't like it! (gasp!) Did she just say that? Yes, I did, and here's why?
There is something about hearing someone talk about their "life's work," their life-long dream, and their ultimate purpose that can be overly intimidating to the person who has no clue what they are passionate about next. I literally watch the perplexed looks and complex stares of those trying to figure out what in the world am I that passionate about that I want to commit to doing it for the rest of my LIFE??? Here is where I love to help people take next steps towards finding their purpose without all the "overwhelm" that can come with such a daunting word. Purpose is just as much an in the moment term as it is a life-long term. So before you heart constricts at the thought of figuring out what it is you want to do for the rest of your "life," let's first start by focusing on this moment, right here and right now!
5 Questions to Help You Discover Your Purpose:
1. What comes naturally to you? In other words, what are your gifts? What are the things that come so intuitively to you that you literally have to stop and think how to tell others how to do it?
2. What do others tell you that you're good at? I remember transitioning from my corporate career to coaching and speaking full-time and people would literally come up to me afterwards and say, you were born to do this! Take note both mentally and literally of what others say about you. You know, the times where people say things like, "you're a natural!" or "you make it look so easy!"
3. What gives you a buzz?
I'm sure you've heard the question about, "what is the thing that you would do for free? What is that for you? You know, the thing that you could spend hours on without blinking an eye or getting tired? For me that's coaching, speaking, and training! If I did not have living expenses, wealth goals, as well as giving goals, I would literally traveling around the world inspiring and encouraging others for nothing because I love it that much.
4. What would it be if you removed the boundaries you've placed on your life?
Aha! Now there's a good discussion! Most people have a passion about things they would like to do that seem impractical to them. Therefore we continue to do the exact opposite of what we desire to do and typically it's something practical that follows the some stupid protocol of what others say we should do or be. You go to school or pick some traditional career path that you are supposed to follow and work your way up only to find out you don't really like it in the first place. For example, I met a pharmacist last year who, like most, did not like her job. She stated that her dream job would be to be an interior designer. Guess what happened next? She immediately shut the idea down and said, but I can't make any money at that! No consideration, exploration, or even further possibility given to the idea. Meanwhile, months later, I met a new facebook friend, Nikki Klugh, a successful luxury interior designer and CEO/Principal Consultant of Nikki Klugh Design Group in California. The only difference between her and Nikki were belief, action, and follow-through on their dreams.
5. What should you focus on today?
Discovering your life's work and life purpose is great. If you've discovered it wonderful! However, if you're stumped by answering that question, ever better! Most people get so overwhelmed by it, feel left out, or feel like something is wrong with them because they don't know the magical answer to such a BIG question. The one thing I know is that seasons change. Even for the person who has discovered their "life's work", how it looks today is different than how it will look 20 years from now. I encourage you to focus on the season that you're in at the moment! You may decide that I want my focus and purpose to be on being the best mom? The best student? The best wife? The best entrepreneur? The only magical "it" answer is the one that you choose is right for you. Look ahead to the next 6-12 months and pick the thing that you want to put your all into and go for it! And then once you feel complete, repeat the process again. I guarantee you that this approach will not lead you astray but will instead lead you to the type of life and career that is more purposeful and purpose-filled that you desire!