Today, it can seem like finding a job that you enjoy is a privilege reserved for a lucky few, and that living a life you love is a phenomenon even more rare. However, collective wisdom and countless studies show that if you do what you love you will live a happier, longer life. So, how can you begin to embark upon the path of aligning your passions and your career?
Frederick Buechner expressed the sentiment that ‘we are called to the place where our deepest gladness meets the world’s greatest hunger’… What calls you to feel joy? Where does that intersect with a need in society as a larger whole?
To begin exploring this inquiry, here are a few questions to set you off on the right track:
1. Ask Yourself – “What Makes Me Come Alive?”
When was the last time you asked yourself: “What make me happy? What do I love to do? What makes me come alive?”
Sometimes the biggest barrier to finding your higher purpose is just asking yourself the tough questions and this happens to many of us. We get caught up in routine and get comfortable within it – we come to terms that life or work will never be fun or fulfilling and will always be lackluster. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. A greater purpose can be waiting patiently around the corner if you are willing to explore your own mind and passions in order to discover it. You can begin to unlock your purpose by first exploring what activities make you lose track of time. After all, joy is a barometer for a purpose-filled life, it indicates that you are on the right track!
2. What would the your younger self or “inner child” say?
If you ask most 8 or 9 year olds what they want to be in life – almost none of them consider the limitations that you likely place upon yourself today. The only difference between yourself some years past and you today might only be your attitude towards following your dreams. At a younger age we are freer with our imaginations, and allow ourself the permission to be creative in ways that we later block as adults when we conform to the so-called “Real World”. Tapping into the child within you and giving yourself some time set aside to “play” again can start those creative juices flowing again as you start to dabble in the activities that once inspired you to a more limitless and abundant future. The magic of a child’s mindset is that they Believe. How can you cultivate more faith in your own ability to thrive by inhabiting a life that you love?
3. Take a big idea that calls to you and run with it.
Sometimes the best way to find your higher purpose is to just let go of everything and embark on an adventure. It’s not that your gut idea is gonna be a straight path to a higher purpose but it is very true that the magic of life doesn’t happen in your comfort zone. Sometimes what you need is a change of scenery and perspective to give you further clarity. If you grab hold of a huge idea in your mind that you would love to achieve and run with it you would be surprised at how many doors unlock once you begin walking the path. It is often our own resistance that holds us back and traps us- we get in our own way far too often.
However, take the first step down this road and immediately your actions are rewarded because you are finally in motion. You will have no choice but to learn, experience and grow from both the positives and negatives and it will bring back a certain swagger to your step and confidence in trusting yourself and the road ahead of you.
4. Find Answers through “Anti-Purpose”
For some – the answer is often a process of elimination. Ask yourself what don’t you stand for. What you don’t want in your life can be as critical to know as what you do. You might find some interesting answers via this method. In identifying what is not a fit, you get ever closer to knowing what IS, by virtue of illuminating its opposite. This method might not lead you to a definite answer but it will surely knock off a few options.
5. Fast Forward & Repeat
1) Think of “what you want” right at this moment. Sometimes beginning in the present moment will shine a light on the simple things you can do starting from right where you ARE. Begin to visualize what you would desire if you could have everything your heart wanted.
2) Fast-forward to when you have all of that. Immerse yourself in the triumphant moment when you have achieved and accomplished all those dreams, and soak in the feeling of having reached the top of your figurative mountain. Only then, you will probably realize that there is even further to go as new desires emerge. You already have all that you currently want, so what will your new desires be?
3) Repeat this process a few times and eventually you will come to the point where you have every earthly possession and the world is at your fingertips. So what then? You can’t just stay stagnant because you have everything, that would be extremely boring. What would you do with your life if you could do anything?
As Mary Oliver says: ‘Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?’
6. Have the Courage to Ask for Help
There is absolutely no shame in asking others what they think. Sometimes an outside perspective is what you need to help give you the courage to embark on your own personal Hero’s Journey. Sometimes to become the person we want to be we need the help of those who we respect and who are looking to help. You might find this in a friend – a family member or even a stranger but one thing is for sure – talking and thinking about it is the first step towards doing it. The slogan does not say “Here I go!” but rather “Here WE go!” – anything done in collaboration is sure to get you further along, faster.
It is for this reason that part of my Higher Purpose extends beyond Valhalla to helping others as well and to do such I am a proud partner of a project known as The Higher Purpose Project – a unique 90 day experience that takes place a few times a year dedicated to making it’s attendees unlock their potential in bringing large scale dreams to reality. Mention Valhalla if you end up applying as they will donate money back to our cause for all attendees we send over!
One thing I have learned is that to be a great teacher is really to be a student. I am excited to see some of you there as I know I will better myself by listening to your dreams and aspirations – seeing you guys emerge from the old you into the new you and invest in yourselves and your future in a way that is beyond inspiring.