Happiness is tied closely to a sense of purpose. Whether your goals are for your professional, personal, or spiritual fulfillment, this search for purpose may present itself as a buzz-in-the-background, a undefined longing, or as an in-your-face insatiable achiness, an emptiness beyond fulfillment.
Some never figure out whether to search or what to search for. Others never knew that they had to search. The lucky ones found that purpose without a search.
But for those of us who want to visualize and realize their purpose, here are some guidelines and thoughts to structure and fuel your journey.
1. Passion – You can’t find your purpose unless you know where your passion lies. Find or rediscover that which you love, unfiltered by the parameters you and others are setting for you. You can decide later whether what-you-have is practical or profitable or sustainable or even silly. Start with identifying what you love and go from there to guide it in a sensible direction.
2. Curiosity – Be open-minded about who-you-are, what-makes-you-tick, and what-makes-the-world-go-around. Exploring areas of discomfort and newness can open up whole new facets of possibilities, as will opening up networks of people and resources.
3. Self-awareness – Know what you’re good at and what you’re not, what makes you happy and fulfilled, where you can learn and grow, and how others can support you as you grow. Having self-awareness is essential to growing and learning with purpose.
4. Discipline – Nothing worth having is easy. Having the discipline to work hard and apply yourself to a specific purpose and cause is another essential element for happiness and success. There is no substitute.
5. Perseverance – Without passion, and the discipline to achieve something, there’s no momentum. And even with both, it takes perseverance and persistence to keep trying despite disappointments, disapprovals, barriers, rejections and other obstacles.
6. Practicality – Most people start with what’s practical, rather than exploring what they are passionate about. But if you should start that way, make sure that what you’re passionate about is also practical, especially if it’s related to your professional goals. If there’s no market need for that-which-you’re-passionate-about, explore the intersect between what you like and what people would pay for.
7. Experience – Having experience personal, professionally and spiritually helps you clarify your purpose. Without experience, it’s much more difficult to find your fit. So rather than focusing on what-you-did-wrong-when, focus instead on what’s ahead now that you know yourself and your world better.
8. Support – It’s hard to find your purpose, or even to know to search unless you have the foundational emotional, physiological, and financial support you need. Make choices to meet your needs and surround yourself with supportive people.
9. Connected – Surrounding yourself with a supportive network will give you the strength and resources and perspective to continue the search.
10. Led – Beyond the general network, having experienced and open-minded, someone you respect, someone you trust implicitly, support you in your search will help you think through your options and you company in your journey.
Best of luck with your journey, and kudos to those who have the courage and grit to continue the search.