You’ve read all the books on how to find your purpose or passion. You’ve journaled. You’ve read the articles and tried everything they told you to do. Yet you’re still waiting on your dream life.
But life isn’t like Santa, and it won’t bring you everything on your wish list. Finding your purpose requires hard work and more steps than all those self-help books tell you about.
Here’s how you can take that advice and actually make it work:
1. Find your passion(s) and your mission or purpose statement, but don’t stop there
Simply writing a mission or purpose statement isn’t enough. I once wrote a mission statement for my life, but I naively thought I’d wake up the next morning and my fulfilling dream life would come to me automatically.
I mean, I’d found my purpose. I knew my passions. Where the heck was my dream life? I struggled a few more years with trying to find a way to actually use that stupid little sentence I wrote down.
You crave being able to make a living helping people and getting to spend every day doing things you love. You’re not alone in that, but it’s important to focus on acting as well.
2. Start acting and trying things out
It isn’t always about going back to school for a new degree or immediately quitting your job and looking for another. Sometimes it’s about trying something first to see if it’s how you’d like to make a living from your passions and purpose.
Get your feet wet. Brainstorm ways you can combine your passions and purpose. Then start volunteering, job shadowing or finding part-time jobs that allow you to try an interesting area out. If you feel your purpose in life is to make the world a healthier place, you could volunteer at your local yoga studio or gym. Or you could get certified and teach before or after work, or on the weekends.
You may find it doesn’t fit, and that’s fine. You can go back to the drawing board and try something else for a few weeks or months. You could shadow a nutritionist or health coach. Or maybe you start volunteering as a kids’ sports coach and find you love working with kids and helping them be healthier.
So, you decide to go back to school at night and become a gym teacher. This career fits you and your passions and purpose well, plus you love the idea of summers off to travel and sleep in. You do this knowing that it’ll be something you really do enjoy…but see number three just in case.
3. This process works, but it’s not a magic cure
Life changes, and sometimes our passions or purpose shift slightly, too. You may find you don’t enjoy teaching after five or 10 years. You may feel like you’ve failed again—that you’re doing something wrong in life. But it’s that change thing.
Go back to the drawing board and have another brainstorming session. Get your feet wet a few more times.
What’s worse: going back to the drawing board or hating your job again?
Ashlee Thurlow helps multi-passionate women brainstorm ways to combine their passions and purpose into a career that allows them to live the fun and flexible life they crave.