What is the definition of purpose? For many people, it’s a sense of reason for their existence in this world. It’s something which they feel like they were just meant to do with their lives. I think where many of us get stuck, is that we feel like our careers don’t align with our purpose and therefore we feel disheartened or unmotivated.
My personal opinion is that purpose doesn’t need to equal career. I have always had a feeling that I wanted to help people, to be of service to others and to guide them through life however that may look. When I graduated from high school, I initially wanted to be a nurse, and then a schoolteacher, and then a naturopath. Of all things, I ended up doing a business degree and working in Human Resources where I helped people decide on what career path was best suited to them.
After another couple of twists and turns and another degree later, I ended up owing a health food business as a qualified nutritionist and life coach. I help others navigate their lives through improved health and wellness both in the physical form of what they are eating, as well as the mental form of who they are inside and what they want to achieve from life. I feel incredibly lucky because I live my purpose every day through my work.
But that isn’t the only way. If you have a job that you are good at, which pays well and is convenient and enjoyable for you, then there isn’t any point in dropping everything for the opportunity of something unknown. We need some form of stability and many of us have bills to pay, children to raise and responsibilities which tie us to a certain job or lifestyle.
This is where your purpose can come from outside of work – whether it be working with animals, travelling, painting, or working for charitable causes, there is always a way to find time outside of work to pursue these things. Whether it’s through voluntary meals, a part time job, or simply a hobby, the most important factor here is that you actually do it. If you feel it’s your livelihood, then you won’t be satisfied in other areas of your life unless that particular need is being met. So make time for it. And who knows? A little hobby project, could eventually lead to part time study, or part time paid work, which could then very easily become your main source of income and career.
Purpose closely links to what you value, and therefore understanding your own values is a crucial element in the search for your purpose. Find something which fulfils you emotionally, spiritually and physically and which sits in line with your moral compass.