Mark Twain famously said that, “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.”
Many of the people that come to me for career coaching are looking for their purpose. Looking for purpose is a challenging concept, so I want to give you a couple of steps to help the way you approach this.
Before going any further, I want to give a couple of definitions for job, career, and purpose.
Job – something typically done from 9-5 for pay.
Career - system of advancements and promotions over time where rewards are used to optimize behavior.
Purpose – something that we feel compelled to do regardless of fame or fortune; the work is the reward.
To find your purpose – stop looking for it and become active instead. You’ll never really know with absolute certainty whether your work is your purpose. You’ll get some clues, but full on knowledge may be reserved for the after life. Looking for your purpose has an inherent risk because its only about you. Meaning and purpose come when we focus on others. I invite you to stop looking for purpose and start living with purpose.
Here are three simple steps that can get you on your way to living with purpose:
Ask – what am I needed for?
Not what do I need or want. Look right in front of you – family, community’s, and friends. Start by asking what you can do for them. Or what do they ask you to do?
Start to do the things that can contribute to those around you.
Whatever it is that people want you to do for them or ask you to do, just trying doing it!
Review – was that the best use se of my time.
Can I do more? Can I delegate or should I spend more time.
If you start doing this, now you’re learning by doing – you living with purpose. Your purpose may consistently change.
I can use myself as an example of this because this is exactly how I was able to go from working as a lawyer to coaching – which I believe is my purpose. – I asked/people asked.
I started doing it, evaluated and did more.