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Three keys to finding your purpose | The Career Toolkit
Three keys to finding your purpose Three keys to finding your purpose Three keys to finding your purpose

Three keys to finding your purpose

Career | Work

We hear a lot of people talking about purpose. How you need to find your purpose, be on purpose, work and live with purpose. And I’m one of those people. Because it matters. It matters deeply.

But so many people are walking through their lives with a greyness about them. No colour. Like ghosts living in the machine of their life.

They may have given up on their purpose, discarded it in the trash one evening, thrown out with the dinner scraps. Or maybe, as is the case for so many, they never actually had it to begin with.

How do you find it? And what does it actually look and feel like when you do?

This is what it looks like.

I woke up the other morning with a burning desire to get to my desk to write and work. As I lay in bed for ten minutes as I do every morning while my son is in the shower, daydreaming, and thinking about my day, I was alive with possibilities for a new program that I’m developing. An answer to a question I’d been pondering popped into my head a few minutes after I woke, as often happens, another piece of the puzzle slotting into place.

As I got up, I felt so excited about my day ahead. And yes I tweeted about it (as you do): Perfect day planned: beach walk, green juice, write a chapter, devise leadership program, do PhD research, create some magic #awesomeday.

I went for my walk, got my green juice and rushed home to start writing. I was working on my new book, my mind filled with thoughts on conviction, commitment, purpose and passion. After writing, I turned my thoughts to my latest program for women on Positive Leadership, helping people become the leaders they want to be, standing in their power, and creating better lives for themselves.

This work is almost involuntary, my need so strong to write this content, develop these programs, coach people to build the businesses and careers they desire, and find peace, happiness and their true sense of themselves. And I have absolute clarity on who I am and what I am called here to do.

So how does it feel?

Energising. Electrifying. Like there are butterflies in my stomach and a warm glow in my chest at the same time. Like my brain is constantly buzzing with ideas and concepts and business plans for how I can have more impact and help more people. Like I can’t get enough knowledge into my head through books and from talking to people who know what I want to know, to do what I need to do. 

Have you ever found yourself searching desperately for your purpose, or avoiding what you just know is your true calling? Here are some strategies that work with my clients, who often come to me as seekers for what they are truly meant to be doing in this life.

Run toward the resistance

First ask yourself, what am I running away from? We have this mystical view that if we are called to do something, we will magically run toward it with open arms. That it will be effortless. And that there will, of course, be rainbows and butterflies.

But it doesn’t always happen like that. In fact, it rarely does. Often we hear the call, but we are so resistant to it, because it’s inconvenient, demanding, and will cause us to make major changes and step out of our cushy comfort zone.

This was my story. For years I played around the edges of what I knew I was called to do. I didn’t want to leave my big important job with the equally big and important pay packet. I didn’t know who I would be in the world without my impressive title. And more fundamentally, I didn’t know if I was cut out to succeed on my own terms. I just wasn’t sure I could do it, this calling I felt so deeply I was destined for.

So it’s not always convenient. And it’s not always easy. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it. If you are feeling great resistance, run toward it, not away from it.

Take one step

You may also be thinking that you need to have it all figured out before you take your first step. That you need to know what the endgame looks like. But you don’t. You just need to start.

Want to be a thought leader? Pick your area of expertise. Read something. Learn something new. Then go tell someone.

Want to be a writer? Know that you are called to share your stories with the world? People always ask me how to become a writer. They think it’s complicated. It’s not. Sit down and write. Then keep writing each day so you get better.

Want to completely change careers and need to re-skill? What is one thing you can do today that will move you a step further on your path? Go do that.

When we move toward our calling instead of away from it, the energy shifts and synchronicity has the chance to flow. The right people show up. Opportunities appear. Time becomes available.

That job that you hate showing up to everyday when you really want to be an artist? The boss walks in and tells you that you’re no longer required. Devastating? Perhaps. Challenged about how to put food on the table? Probably. Completely free to look at new options and opportunities to walk a new path and create the life of your dreams? Absolutely.

Honour your vision

Often our calling is triggered by a vision of what something could look like, how it could be different, or the difference we could make. It can come from a frustration that something is just not right, and we could make it so much better.

You have the vision. You feel the need to make change. And you sense that this is your work to do in the world. This is the voice you need to listen to. But it will surely be accompanied by another voice that tells you all of the reasons why you can’t do it, which can sound something like this:

Seriously? Who are you kidding? Who do you think you are to say you can go do that? Don’t quit your day job baby. You aren’t cut out for writing/leading/changing the world. Calm yourself down, get back in your corner and keep going through the motions. You don’t have any brilliance to offer, and even if you did, the world doesn’t need or want it. It’s all been said and done before anyway. Get over yourself. Loser.

Sound familiar? This is our self-talk at it’s worst. And it can be brutal. We show up with courage and get slapped down by a bitch on a mission. We’ve all heard this voice when we have expressed our deepest dreams and desires, out loud to someone, or just quietly and secretly to ourselves.

And the closer we get to our calling, the more we want to do something, change something or make a difference, the louder the noise can get.

Don’t listen to that voice. That is your ego talking, your smaller self, yelling at you because it’s resistant to change. Fearful of what may come. Pay attention to the other voice, the voice of truth and longing. And trust and honour your vision.

Our callings shape us. They grow us into the person we were born to be. And it is already destined. The things you need will appear on your path in divine timing. The skills, relationships, resources and opportunities will show up when you do. Trust that you will get what you need, when you need it.

You’ve been called. It’s time to listen. 

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