I spent at least ten years pondering on what a meaningful and purposeful career would look like for me. Every time that I got remotely close to finding the ‘answers’, confusion and doubt would rudely check-in. As a result I would remain in a state of paralysis by analysis.
In 2014, I started to do things differently, and as a result found myself taking massive leaps towards not only finding a career that lit me up, but a life that felt meaningful and purposeful too.
In this post, I’m going to share the top six lessons that I personally learnt on my quest for a purposeful career in the hope that it will help you on your journey also.
Stop thinking. Start acting.
The thing that made the biggest difference in my quest for a meaningful and purposeful career was to stop thinking about it and to start acting on it.
Even if I was confused, I decided that I was going to start exploring, start doing things anyways, take risks and invest money if required, and remember that even if it did end up being a silly decision or an unwise use of money or time – that it did help me get a bit clearer about what I did or didn’t want to do.
When I started taking action and doing things, clarity started to come, doors started opening and closing, and my feelings of passion and purpose elevated.
Listen to your intuition – no matter how ‘woo woo’ it sounds.
The other big factor that moved me closer to living a life of passion and purpose was taking a conscious step away from my head and thoughts, and deliberately focussing on and listening to my heart or what ‘felt’ right.
I knew that logic and reason wasn’t working for me – I’d been trying that approach for years – and was getting increasingly confused as a result.
I decided to do a little experiment for a year, and acknowledge my head and than say “thank you”, but I’m going to follow my heart and what feels right now. The results were incredible. The lessons and clarity undeniable.
Let people think you’re crazy. Even let YOU think you’re crazy.
When I started to listen to my intuition more, I found that I was making decisions that did not align with what I would normally do or what I thought my friends and family would think is wise or expected of me.
I had to let go of any pre-conceived ideas of who I was, and I had to let go of my concerns around people judging my decisions and actions. It was time to trust my instincts – and in order to trust my instincts, I had to let myself and others think I was a wee bit (or a whole lot of) crazy.
In listening to my heart and taking shaky steps, I had to take what felt like big risks at the time.
The risk that I would fail. The risk that I was investing money in things that would not be worthwhile. The risk that I was wrong. However, I started to realise that even with the decisions that felt epic-ly risky, that incredible amounts of clarity and lessons would accompany them.
I had to start before I was ready, make decisions without knowing the outcomes, and trust that the risks would be worth the outcome.
Remember that purpose goes beyond career.
In my opinion, there is more to living a passionate and purposeful life than having meaningful work.
I know people who see work as just a means to make money, and find meaning and purpose outside of their day job – in spending time with people they love and taking time to do the things they love.
Sometimes when we are focused on finding meaningful and purposeful work, we forget about how much meaning and purpose can be found in life generally. I found that the more I focused on this, the more clarity I found around what I wanted to do and how I wanted to live.
It can help to write a list of the things that you love doing, and make it a priority to start doing them!
We always want reach our goals pronto. To be living our idea of passion and purpose NOW.
I learnt on my journey that I needed to be patient and trust that things would fall into place as and when they were meant too.
I hope this post helps you on your own journey to living a meaningful and purposeful life. I’d love if you’d share in the comments below a little bit about your struggles and lessons on your personal quest for purpose.
Let’s soar together,