THE BLOG
11/14/2014 11:04 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

4 Steps to Finding Your Purpose

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The benchmark of success is shifting in the first world. It's moved from financial security to working with your passion/purpose/calling. I reckon this has been redefined on the back of the economic crisis. If you can't afford to buy your own home at 35, have a nice car, annual holidays etc., then why work so hard in something you don't enjoy? Why not do something you enjoy? Why not re-design your life?

75% of my clients come to me for exactly this reason. BUT, I believe that people are being led astray. <

You've all heard familiar sayings like:

"Find your passion and you will never work another day in your life."

"Do what you love and the money will follow."

"If you believe, you will receive."

These phrases have a number of negative side effects, because we often interpret them as:

  • Your passion and purpose is out there, somewhere, waiting to be found
  • Once you find it, you'll be laughing all the way to the bank
  • Believing in yourself is all you need

Of course, none of this is true!

The fundamental problem is that your passion/purpose is not OUT THERE. You aren't going to find it by looking externally, but this is the first thing that everyone does.

Why? Because we've been taught to think in terms of "jobs."

Inevitably when you talk about wanting to find something different, people ask: "OK, so what job do you want to do instead?"

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These questions reinforce the pattern of looking "out there" for another job/career that will fulfill you. What you really need to do is summarized in four simple steps:

1. Look inside yourself, not just outside

Quite simply, you need to KNOW YOURSELF. I can bet my bottom dollar that unless you've done some sort of therapy, counselling or coaching, you don't know yourself as well as you think.
Here's a simple test:

  • Do you know your core values?
  • Do you know what beliefs you hold about yourself?
  • What are your personality traits (the good the bad and the ugly)?
  • What gets your juices flowing or your blood boiling?

There are processes you probably don't even know about which help you elicit these.

2. Understand your true range of skills, talents and experience

I don't just mean what's in your resume. I mean EVERYTHING, from making model airplanes to editing videos to singing in a choir. You will naturally ignore lots of skills because:

  • You've forgotten about them (things you loved when you were young)
  • You don't see the value in them anymore
  • You don't even realise they are skills/talents because it's 'just the way you are'

You need to revisit these, dig deep and talk to other people as they will see things you don't. Then you need to filter these through the lens of 'enjoyment'. If you don't enjoy using the skill or talent then don't select it as something to leverage.

3. Know what impact you want to make

This is important because it will act as your compass, some past client examples are below.

I want to do something that:

  • Makes a positive difference in the world (does good in some way)
  • Educates people on out-of-reach or complex topics
  • Contributes to having a safer environment for kids to grow up in

Then you need to understand the 'WHY' as Simon Sinek says. What makes the above important? How can you leverage what you've learned to create the outcome you want?

4. What the world wants and needs

This is more for sustaining your lifestyle via your purpose and passion. In other words, you want it to also support you financially. In which case you need a service/product that people want and will pay for in some way. If the world doesn't want or need your 'thing' then you need to rethink the steps and choose different skills to leverage

Sounds easy? It's not, particularly if you don't know how. The truth is it takes WORK. It requires an investment of time and thinking. You can get there much more quickly and efficiently if you work with a coach who has the tools to access the answers you are looking for.

I have a process which follows the below diagram. Each circle has theory, exercises and actions attached to them. It's through this journey and analysing the output that you can clearly articulate what I like to call your BLUEPRINT. It's step one in a three-step process to finding more meaningful work. If you are interested in learning more, feel free to email me.

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BUT there's one last BIG element that I haven't mentioned yet.

It's not enough to be passionate...

  • The work you've chosen must be congruent with who you are (fit with you)
  • Then you need to be shit-hot at it! You need to be an expert
If you don't have these ticked, you will always quit.

It's not enough to love it, you need to master it.

You need to work damn hard at it, consume everything about it and get known as an expert. This means putting the hours in. It means sweat, even though it's the thing that you love doing. It will still require your energy and focus. In order for you to bring value to the world you need to be excellent at what you do.

Once you have this expertise, leverage it; this will allow you to live the life you want to live. I've leveraged my skills of speaking and coaching to allow me to live and work from anywhere in the world. This flexibility brings me happiness, my work brings me fulfilment.

Finally, be prepared for the obstacles. They will usually be in your mind ("I'm not good enough, I'm not trained enough, I'm too old" etc.). These are self-limiting beliefs, for more on how to deal l with these please read here

What do you think? What questions do you have? Tell me in the comments below!
If you want to learn more about this, I'm giving a talk on this very subject in London (England) on January. Check here for more details

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