Let’s face it. Determining our purpose isn’t as easy as waking up and knowing what we want for breakfast. There can be a lot of confusing ideas floating around about our life’s purpose. How can we know what we’re meant to do?
Here are some questions to help you figure it out. These don’t have to lead you to “The Answer,” because there might not be one answer. But they will help you gain a little clarity about what brings you deep satisfaction and what you’re best in the world at. Answer one a day for a week and see where it takes you!
#1: What makes you say, “Hell yes!!!” As entrepreneur Derek Sivers says, if your response to an opportunity isn’t “Hell yes!!!” it needs to be “No.” If we say “yes” to things we feel lukewarm about, our energy is detracted from the things we love. Sit down and reflect: What makes you say, “Hell yes!!!”? What do you really love to do and how can you do more of it?
#2: What might you already be a master at? A master is someone who’s done their craft for 10,000 hours or more. That’s approximately nine years, three hours a day. What might you already be a master at through pure interest? Writing? Teaching others? Crafting? Languages? How could you pursue this further?
#3: What are you best in the world at? What particular things do you do, or could you do, better than anyone else? Are there ways in which you can combine these skills with other passions to create something unique? For example, combining memoir writing and dance. Or combining yoga teaching and equestrian therapy. Get creative!
#4: Whom do you admire? Reflect on the people you admire and ask: What do they do? Why do you admire them? What aspects of their role would come naturally to you, and what would you need to practice or learn? Take some time to research their background and learn how they got to where they are.
#5: What kind of pain are you willing to endure? It’s easy to get idealistic about our passions. Entrepreneurs have quick success! Yoga teachers must feel so zen! The reality is, every path has its hang-ups, stresses, and its particular types of pain. Do some “worst case scenarios” for your passions. What struggles might you encounter? Can you handle it? Knowing what to expect ahead of time can help you stay resilient in the face of adversity.
#6: What makes you feel fulfilled?At the end of the day, even if you’re doing something you’re masterful at, it’s not the right path if it doesn’t bring you a sense of fulfillment. What are those things that bring a satisfied smile to your face and make you want to get up and do it again?
#7: Where would you like to start? If you have multiple ideas (don’t worry, you’re not alone), pick one. We often think we have to make the perfect, a pressure that can lead to paralysis. Think about it this way: if you divided your life into five-year increments, you’d have enough time to accomplish all your aspirations! Don’t get stuck on choosing the “right” path. Pick whichever passion sounds like the most fun, set a timeline for how long you’d like to try it, and go!
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