That's a loaded word, isn't it?
Maybe it makes you feel a calm sense of determination. Maybe it makes you feel calm and happy, because you know you're already living your purpose. But more likely, the word "purpose" leaves you foggy.
You wonder: does everybody have a purpose? How do I know when I've found mine? How do I even begin to search?
Well, Jeff Goins in The Art of Work argues that everybody has a purpose, and believes that everybody can fulfill their purpose through their work and every other aspect of their life.
Can you imagine how exhilarating your career would be if you were fulfilling your purpose through your work?
If you knew every decision you had to make in your work, every day you woke up to face another day, and everybody you touched throughout your week was lending itself to your purpose?
That's the dream.
If you're wondering how to get there, or feeling lost or purposeless, here are a few ways to find your purpose:
1. What Are Your Superpowers?
Have you ever thought that there was nothing you were really good at?
That you didn't have any unique skills or abilities?
When you're asked in a job interview what your strengths are, do you draw a blank?
I know the feeling. For a long time, I thought there was nothing I was uniquely good at. But that's not true. We just have blind spots with our own skills.
Everybody has a unique skill set, and there is at least one thing that you're good at -- and not just good at, but great at.
This is your superpower.
If you're quaking in your boots because you don't know where to start in this discovery process, start with asking your best friend.
Think about it: you draw a blank when you're thinking of your own skills, but you could probably list your best friend's superpower in an instant.
So, reach out to your friends and family members. Send 5-10 people who are close to you emails. Use this email template:
Do you have a moment for a quick question?
I am going through a process of discovering my "superpowers", or my unique skills and abilities. We all have blind spots about ourselves, so I'm having trouble coming up with what I'm uniquely good at.
I'm hoping you can help. When you have a minute, can you let me know, from your perspective, what you think are a few skills of mine? And, if you have an extra moment, I'd love if you could include a sentence or two about why you think I'm really good at it.
Just don't ask your mom -- she'll probably tell you that your superpower is being devilishly good looking!
2. What Can Your Experiences Tell You About Your Purpose?
Your experiences and personality have made you who you are today.
And nobody has experienced the exact same events as you have. Your experiences, blended with your personality and how you reacted to your experiences can give you a push in the right direction toward your purpose.
Consider Oprah. If she didn't experience a traumatic childhood of abuse and poverty, her purpose would look much different.
If Mark Zuckerberg didn't experience Harvard and difficulty finding cute girls, Facebook wouldn't exist.
Your story doesn't have to be extraordinary.
Stephen King, Richard Branson, Lady Gaga -- they've all had normal experiences but they've been able to use those experiences with their personalities and skills to bring their purpose to the world.
So what can your unique experiences lend to your purpose?
3. What is Your Rhythm?
When I sit down to write, time slips away.
I put my fingers to keys and begin the comfortable rhythm of typing, and one minute turns into an hour or more.
Have you ever experienced that?
Not with writing, necessarily, but in general. Maybe you feel this way when you play hockey, or when you paint, or when you run.
What is that one thing you do that makes time slip away? In other words, what is your rhythm? That one thing that is easier for you to do than hold yourself back from?
Your rhythm contributes to your purpose just as much as your skills and experiences.
4. How Can You Make a Dent in the World?
We all want to have an impact on the world. We want our lives to matter, to make small ripples, to help change something, even if it's small.
Our purpose helps us make that impact.
- Athletes wouldn't have a purpose if it weren't for playing in front of an audience
- Writer's wouldn't have a purpose if it weren't for changing people with their words
- Entrepreneurs wouldn't have a purpose if their products or services didn't add value to others.
How do you prefer to contribute to the world?
This question is an important one in finding your purpose.
Don't Stop Digging Until You Find Your Purpose
Do you hear that?
That faint knocking, the rattle, the slight humm of the air around you?
It's the world calling for you.
For your unique skills, experiences, and rhythms and value. It's calling you to find out what you're meant to do, and to go do it.
The world needs you to step up to the plate and fill the hole in the world in the shape of you.
So don't stop digging until you find that purpose.
Sarah Peterson encourages people to never settle for careers they don't love. Find your perfect lifestyle business idea with her free course so you can stop settling and start building your dream.