How do you find your purpose? How do you identify what it is that you were born to do? There’s no easy answer and no simple test you can take, because finding your purpose is a really personal – and even spiritual – process. Some people are born with a strong sense of purpose, some people discover their purpose through an epiphany or life-changing event, and some people spend their whole lives searching for their purpose. Most of us, though, need only look to our passions to begin to form an understanding of what our purpose might be.
If you’re not completely sure what you’re passionate about, here are several quick things you can do to identify your passions:
– Make a ‘Happy List’: Spend some time on your own and think (really think) about all the things that make you happy. Don’t worry about practicalities at this point, stay ‘in the moment’ and just think about what you love doing, e.g. Reading, writing, knitting, collecting your hair in a box… whatever makes you truly happy! Create a list of things, which we’ll come back to shortly.
– Listen to your heart: Now, close your eyes and think about what you truly desire for your life. Most people have things deep inside, things they’re fundamentally passionate about – for me, one of those things was always writing – so consider what you’re passionate about, deep down inside, and make a ‘Heart List’.
– Reflect on the past: Think back to times at work, in school/university/college, or at home where you became really passionate and excited about a task or a particular focus area. What was it? Why did you become so excited? Think about the real underlying reasons behind what made you passionate in the past. For example, at work I was always overjoyed and full of passion when I was running leadership development programs. Why? For a number of reasons. I enjoy seeing people grow, I love sharing my knowledge and experience, and I really enjoy presenting and facilitating. These are things I am passionate about and I now understand that these are aspects of my personality that serve my purpose. Make a ‘Past Passions’ list of the experiences and skills from your past that get you excited.
– Combine your lists into a Master List: Take your Happy List, Heart List and Past Passions List and combine them. Look for overlaps and common themes as you collate these lists. Once you have a Master List, think about each item individually and come up with at least one practical thing per item that you could do to live each passion over the next three-six months. For example, if you love writing then you could write a book. Or if you’d rather keep it simple, you could create a blog or write a blog post for a blog like this one, Your Best You, focused on health and wellbeing across the mind, body and spirit! Whatever you choose, select something that makes you feel excited.
At the end of this activity, you should have a Master List of what you’re passionate about along with a list of specific things you are going to do over the next 3-6 months to live your passions. Make a commitment to yourself that you will follow through, and then follow through.
The process of undertaking all of the actions you identified is going to be a critical step in finding your purpose, so take daily action and Live Your Passion. Over the next few months I’ll be exploring passion and purpose further, so keep coming back to Your Best You and join the journey!
About the Author
Jeremy Godwin is a personal coach, presenter, author and personal development specialist based in Melbourne, Australia. He is the founder of JG Development Solutions, a professional development services business that leverages from his 20 years of experience in the corporate sector, and is also the founder of Your Best You, a free health and wellbeing self-development hub, focused on mind, body and spirit.