Finding our purpose or, “calling” in life, isn’t easy. What is it you’re meant to do? What is it you want to do? Too often we head down a path believing it to be the right one for us, only to find out years later that it in fact, was not.
At some point in our life, almost all of us wake up with a nagging feeling that we need to make a change — that something seems out of whack. Sometimes that feeling is nothing more than a temporary funk, but if it keeps coming back, it’s probably a sign that we need to fix something in our life. While that nagging feeling is annoying, it oftentimes will prompt us to engage in some much needed self-reflection — and hopefully that is enough to motivate us to make a change and get on the right track.
These pointers on how to find our true calling are not the definitive list, but they’re a really good start:
1. Pay attention to your daydreams
The subconscious has ways of letting us know what’s important to us. Pay attention to your daydreams and see what they reveal. If you find yourself always thinking about traveling, maybe you’re meant to work for an airline or on a cruise ship. If you always think about books, perhaps you’re meant to be an author, Publisher or Librarian?
Keep a pad handy and jot down common themes from your daydreams, since this will help to tie them together.
2. Pay attention to what keeps coming back to you
Our daydreams can reveal a lot, but so can our daily routines, hobbies, etc. Do you find yourself always in the kitchen baking? The second you get the chance, do you sketch or paint? Rather than turning on the TV, do you open a book?
Recurrent things/desires/activities are often clues as to what will really satisfy you, so be mindful and pay attention to them.
3. Focus on what feels right and good
A calling usually feels good — it stirs a passion and sense of excitement in us. When we’re fulfilling our “calling,” we feel connected, happy and have a sense of purpose. Be mindful of when you feel this — What are you doing? Who are you with? Where are you?
As with paying attention to daydreams and recurring themes, figure out what feels right for you.
4. What are your strengths?
In finding our calling, we do have to be realistic. We may love rockets and space exploration, but it we don’t have the skills to pilot a rocket ship, we’re either going to have to get those skills, or find something as close as possible. So what are you good at? Make a list of some of your inherent skills and abilities and don’t leave any out — you’re looking for a common thread and theme here, so free-style write them down.
5. Make a list showing what you love and hate
This can be a frustrating step, but it’s an important one.
Make a list in two columns — one is what you love in life/about your life and one is what you “hate” (or better said, what you want to change). Once completed, how can you do more of what you love and less of what you don’t?
Some questions you can ask yourself that may help you in finding your purpose/calling in life include:
- What is your message to the world?
If you had to sum up your personal mission statement, what would it be? If you had to tell the world who you are, what would you say? This type of question is hard, but it’s an important one, because it helps us to narrow in on who we really are — what we stand for, our passions, beliefs, etc.
For example, some might say “I want to make the world a better place!”
Okay, but how?
As you focus in on this question of “what is my message to the world,” you may get to the true heart of it and say “I want to make the world a better place by saving our world’s oceans……….”
That’s now starting to get down to what is perhaps your true passion – helping the planet heal by helping safeguard the world’s oceans.
- What do I want to be remembered for?
What qualities will you be remembered for? What did you change in this world? What was your life philosophy? How did you inspire people or change their lives?
I feel that this question is more about getting us to think big — looking at your life today, what do you want to be known for tomorrow? This question can help to get the creative juices flowing to unlock our passions.
Don’t rush it
It’s common to be unsure of what it is we want in life and sometimes, what we want even changes. Don’t rush the mission to find your purpose in life and don’t beat yourself up over it, because the process should be exciting and not stressful. Spend time getting to know the real you and figure out what your passions and strengths are — with proper effort and guidance, it will come to you.
As with all big decisions, we shouldn’t be afraid to get outside help. A career counselor, a Therapist, family member or someone already working in our “ideal” field could be a tremendous help. We should ask questions, do research and learn all that we can from a variety of sources. Most of all, we should enjoy ourselves!