May 31, 2018 By Nick
Every man needs a mission. I have said it before and I’ll say it again. You need something that makes you jump out of bed in the morning and run headlong to meet the world. But what is your passion? How do you find your purpose in life?
I have an action plan for you here.
If you know there’s something missing and you’re not leading the life you want, then even that’s a start. It’s nothing to be scared of.
Believe me, I know. I had my mission handed to me on a silver platter. I went straight from university into the media, travelled the world, drove supercars and never had a proper job.
When that came crashing down, I was lost.
It took years, some painful and expensive failures and a lot of soul searching to find what I really wanted in life. Now I’m here, helping a few and giving the rest of you the odd laugh.
You might be stuck in a dead end job. Or worse. You might be living the life everybody else wants you to live and dying a little inside each day. If you’re not living up to your potential then that can suck. It can be even harder to be ‘doing well’ and hating every day.
Yes, there are practical things we need to think about. The bills need paying and we need a roof over our head, but there are a thousand ways to achieve that and you only get one shot at this life.
At the end you won’t remember the cars, or the designer labels. You’ll remember if your life made you happy and if you made a difference.
It’s too big a deal to get wrong.
So take a moment and honestly look at your life. Are you doing what you think you should? Are you chasing success to fit in? Are you just a wage slave that will look back with regret?
If that’s happening, you’ve got some thinking to do…
Find what you really love and it will never feel like work again. It will really set you free.
How? It’s pretty simple.
1. Make a list of your talents, skills and characteristics
Forget your job for a moment, if it isn’t making you happy then go back to the drawing board. Write down what you like to do, what kind of person you are.
Start with these:
- Are you a manager or are you a specialist? We all want to be leaders and manage the team, but you’d be amazed how many people actually can’t stand that part of the job and find true fulfilment focusing on one thing.
- Are you a good listener?
- Are you creative or analytical?
- Do you speak other languages? Are you using them at work?
- Are you really a people person or is that the part of the job that grinds you down right now?
- Are you good in a crisis or do you prefer to work without pressure?
Carry on, write down everything you are good at, everything you enjoy and everything you want to learn.
2. Write down everything about your current job that you enjoy
Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. Something took you to that place and there are things about your job, your life and the place that you love. It’s just all the other crap that isn’t working.
So figure out what it is, from the dealing with people through to the paperwork.
Whatever it is, that’s your strength, that’s your love and the part that you can take with you to a new life.
3. Write down everything about your current job that you really don’t like.
It could just be that asshole in accounts. It could be the client facing stuff, it could be THAT job, not THE job. So really pay close attention, talk it through with people you respect.
It could just be a case of moving jobs or even cutting some responsibilities and taking on others. You might find true Zen happiness by simply switching departments.
You might even find that you want to make a difference and some weekend volunteer work as a firefighter or even down the local soup kitchen gives you that drive right back.
That really could be the answer. But let’s say it’s not…
4. Compare those lists to find your true purpose
There’s a good chance you could find real happiness doing something very close to the job that you’re doing right now. Of course you could have gone down a complete blind alley, but that’s rare. Sometimes all you need to do is switch companies and reinvent yourself.
You’ll be amazed how often we dig our own ruts and eventually our graves in a company by taking on jobs and responsibilities we don’t like. We get driven down a path we don’t want to walk.
We can even deal with a colleague badly and create friction that turns into bigger problems down the line, just like a bad relationship. These are fixable problems that will improve your life.
Sometimes, you have to cut the cord and start something new. Even then, it’s a chance to put what you’ve learned to good use and not make the same mistakes again.
But let’s say it’s more than that. It’s time for a total reinvention….
5. Make a list of the people you admire.
This can be your neighbour, it can be a celebrity. Now is the time to figure out what you really appreciate about them and why. What is it about their life that draws you to them?
This can really help you figure out your passions in life and the kind of person you want to be.
You might find you’re a materialistic son of a whore that should be in sales. That’s OK, we need people like that. You might find you actually want to give up your job at the investment bank and save three-legged dogs on the banks of the Rio Grande.
You might regret giving up on your education and want to go back and do an evening class or even a Masters.
And that is cool too… This is your life.
6. Think back to your childhood
OK so you’re probably not going to make it as an astronaut now, or a pro footballer. But what did you dream of as a kid? You don’t literally have to do the job you played at in the back yard, but you chose those childhood games for a reason.
You chose them with an imagination unfettered by the weird limitations of adult life. You chose them without the desperate need to cover a mortgage payment or your kid’s braces. Your authentic self chose those games and that path.
So think back, what did you enjoy? Is there a clue there that could influence a career change or even a side business that gives you a hit of passion to get you through the day?
It might be nothing to do with work, you might really need to go and climb a mountain or build a school in Nairobi. You could even get the same thrill from getting up at 5am every day and running that marathon at the end of the year.
Cool, do it.
7. Forget the chance of failure, just for a moment…
Forget the limitations and think, just for a moment, that you cannot fail. Write this sentence and finish it: “If I was absolutely guaranteed to succeed, I would…”
Maybe if you’ve been a wage slave all your life you’re crying out to start your own business, maybe you want to retrain and do another job or maybe you are self-employed and you dream of a high-flying corporate job. Just run with your ideas. See where they take you.
8. Remember the happiest times in your life and use them
Think back to the happiest periods of your life, professionally. It may be a time when you were free from responsibility, it might be a time when your paycheck turned up every week and you didn’t have to wait to get paid.
It can be any number of things, but you should really pay attention to the times that made you happiest.
Now think, why? Dig deeper than you ever have before and you might be surprised at what pops into your head.
It can be working as a team and enjoying the back and forth bullshit in the office. It might be working outdoors, meeting new people, things that you’re not doing now. Getting those things back into your life could be the answer.
9. Go deeper with those happy times.
Your instincts know where they want to take you, but most of us have long since stopped listening to them. So really understand that feeling you get when you think back to happy times. Float in it, immerse yourself in it. It’s a way to get your instinctive compass back on track.
Now think back to a time that you know you don’t ever want to go back to. It’s a real different feeling isn’t it?
Good, now you’ve remapped your gut instincts in the quickest, dirtiest way possible. Put them to work with the simple things.
What do you really like the sound of on a lunch menu? What do you want to do tonight? Then… What do you want to do next month, next year and for the next decade?
10. Follow your passion, let it lead you
You’ve got your instincts and your passion back on track, so follow it. Let it lead you through the options like a bloodhound. Don’t make a giant leap, the dog will lose the scent. Just meander through the options and really take note of your own feelings.
Don’t force it, see what feels right and then keep going down that path. You might be truly surprised where you end up as a possible career or life option.
11. Get real…
I’m a firm believer in positivity, setting your sights high and going for your dreams. But if you decide you want to be a doctor at 50 years old then you’re really going to sacrifice a lot for a few years in a white gown. You’d be like the opposite of Doogie Howser.
So find your passion, understand your dream and then it’s time to figure out just how close you can get with the means and time you have. Don’t use this as an excuse to bullshit yourself. You have time to do outrageous things, you are not too busy. But this is the time to fuse fantasy and reality to come up with a plan.
Most people that want to be a doctor want to help people, which you can do in other ways. Figure out the driving force behind what you dream of doing and see if there’s a faster way to get to that goal. Is there something else that will give you that level of satisfaction?
Is there a way you can merge your goals in life with the skills you have right now? Can you find that ideal job that flexes all the right muscles that you can apply for today? Will a side business satisfy all your needs?
Sometimes you really have to take a leap of faith and go nuts. But sometimes, with a little lateral thinking, you can create a life that makes you happy without razing everything to the ground.
12. Hypnosis time
You know by know I’m a big fan of guided meditation and this type of big question is tailor-made for it. You should have a lot of big concepts floating round your head right now. So it’s time to let your subconscious filter through them and help you find your true purpose in life.
Michael Sealey has you covered here. The bloke is a legend and try this one right now.
13. Make your plan
Now you know where you want to go and it’s your journey. Only you can know how long it is. But it doesn’t matter if it’s taking up a hobby, changing job or a complete life transplant, you’re going to need an action plan. Start with where you want to be and write down every single step between where you are right now and where you want to be.
Without a plan you can keep on drifting and write the whole thing off. Don’t do that.
14. Take action
You can sit and dream forever, but all it will do is frustrate you further. You have to take action and it can be small. It can be an evening class to get your skills up. You can even learn online.
You can start a side business to experiment with something you think you might like before you sink the kids’ college funds into a venture that you hate in two months. That can even be enough to ignite your passion and reinvent you as a human being. You could do that now, today.
You might even learn to love your day job again if you’ve got something awesome to work on when you get home.
Honestly, it can even be a hobby that you gave up, or one you never started. You can even volunteer your time and get the warm fuzzy feelings that way.
The point of the whole venture is to figure out what makes you tick, find a realistic way to scratch that itch that gnaws away at you daily and take some positive action at the end, whatever it is.
If you even do half of these things then you’ll have a clearer idea of what you want to do in life and you might find you just need a tweak, rather than a complete change. Whatever you find, though, follow your dreams and take some action.
You will never regret the things you do, only the things you don’t.