The journey to follow your purpose is one that is filled with both highs and lows, but a journey worth taking nonetheless. Often stories about people taking bold steps to re-mould their careers and lives according to what truly matters to them focus mainly on the end result – how it has brought greater meaning and fulfilment to their lives. Which is all true. There are however, some other realities that go hand-in-hand as you journey towards leading a values and purpose driven life.
My personal journey began 24 months ago when after much soul searching, I acknowledged that despite building a successful global marketing career spanning more than two decades; what truly fulfils me is making difference with individuals on a deeper, more personal level. That realisation led me to leave the comfort zone of a successful marketing career and plunge head first into the world of personal development. Thus I began my personal journey to follow my purpose.
Here are the 5 things I learnt during my journey this past year –
- Be clear about your ‘Why’
Following your purpose has to start with a clear self awareness of why this is important to you. What will following your purpose give you that is currently missing in your life ? How is it aligned to what truly matters and is most fulfilling to you ? Understanding your ‘why’ is like finding your north star. It will help you stay the course when you encounter naysayers or when self doubt creeps in – both of which I guarantee will happen ! Articulate your purpose in the form of a personal mission statement. It’s a great way to clarify your thinking and a useful tool to strengthen your resolve.
2. Find ways to leverage your strengths
Before you go charging off to an alternate career path for the sake of following your purpose, ask yourself this question – does following my purpose leverage some of my strengths ? All of us have innate strengths and often, our strengths provide insights into what fulfils us as we enjoy doing things that we are naturally good at. However just because you enjoy doing something and get fulfilment from it doesn’t mean you’ll succeed at it as a career choice. So before you quit your day job, look at your strengths and see if you can leverage them as you follow your purpose. If not, there are other ways you can integrate life and work to bring greater fulfilment into your life.
3. Be ready to step out of your comfort zone
The path to a life of greater meaning often involves growth beyond our comfort zone. And if, like me, your purpose involves a mid-life career change; be ready to embrace “stepping out of your comfort zone” as your constant companion for the immediate future. The good news is – you’re not alone. You’d be surprised by how many people have successfully transitioned to new, more fulfilling careers regardless of age.
4. Curate a circle of mentors and confidantes who understands and supports your journey
We all know the benefit of having mentors, but never more so than when following your purpose, that you need to surround yourself with the ‘right’ circle of mentors and supporters. Finding and following your purpose can be a profound and confronting process. You will benefit most from having mentors and confidantes who are equally self aware and can share insights from their own journey.
5. Have a financial “Plan B” in place
Thoughtful financial planning will help take the pressure off especially if your income takes a temporary hit as you transition into a new career. As with any change, there will be unforeseen setbacks so be prepared to make some hard choices about your spending patterns as you learn and ramp back up to your full earning potential.
My journey has taught me a lot about myself and has been enriching and fulfilling in itself.
I hope this helps you in some way on your journey to your purpose ….
“Sometimes it’s the journey that teaches you a lot about your destination” – Drake