My high school son was struggling with an essay on “Your passion & purpose”. We had a long discussion and he asked me “Mom, did you know what your purpose was or what you would land up pursuing when you were 15 years old?” I reflected on a similar discussion with a senior woman professional I was coaching on her struggle in finding her passion and purpose.
So often we find ourselves living a life that we think we should be living because we’re so influenced by our surroundings, the people around us. We fit ourselves into a mold of expectations (or what we think others expect) and find out that this actually isn’t us.
I spent many years feeling discontent about my life and another few years thinking about what I should do with it without acting on it. Now I realize, the thinking was just my ego talking. Every time I think about who I should become, what I should do, what is right for me, my ego takes over and it is not the authentic me anymore. Quitting my cushy corporate career to become a social entrepreneur was a decision that came from my restlessness and not from finding the purpose of my life. There was no looking back post that. This led me to believe “Thinking is pointless, I just have to act fearlessly”
Purposes change and vary over time as we further develop and grow. Purpose comes in varying sizes and packages, and it’s not a one-size-fits-all. You’re likely to have more than one purpose over time, some will be big, some will be small. We don’t live singularly focused lives anymore, we live in a world full of opportunity, offering multiple ways of living and maybe along the way, finding this thing we call purpose.
Passion, or finding purpose is a state of mind. Transitioning three careers in my life, I have realised I have been equally passionate and purpose-driven in all three. Learning new things, helping teams and businesses thrive, creating impact in a small way, building relationships, and being purpose-driven in whatever you do every day, is a way to be passionate about what you do.
I advised both my son and my coachee the same mantra: “While the whole world tells you to find your passion or purpose, more folks find purpose in everyday mundane tasks of their lives. Not everyone is lucky to find a passion and do a job which they love but that’s ok too”.
Time is the most important resource you have. No matter who you are, you’re given twenty-four hours, so try to make the most of it! It’s a journey that is important and not the destination – and might as well have fun while treading on the path.