The Reality Behind Finding Your Purpose

Published in The Border Mail on 6th July 2020 as ‘Finding your passion, finding your purpose’

My last two columns discussed transformational leadership and empowerment. They talked about finding a purpose and working towards it with sincerity and passion for success. The focus was on choosing a career that truly inspires you. An industry where you can make a difference. A job that aligns with your purpose so that you are intrinsically motivated rather than extrinsically. Pecuniary and fringe benefits and recognition of excellence are important factors that contribute to an employee’s performance. But they are driven by passion for a certain cause that arises from one’s purpose in life. While we shed light on all this in detail, we did not discuss the ‘go-betweens’. The realities that most of us face. The factors that make us lose our path.

The time between when we signed up for an undergraduate degree and the moment we graduated, flies past with the single desire to get our hands on that piece of shiny laminated italicised hard paper called ‘degree’. We spent sleepless nights over books and laptops to get here. Now our only purpose is to get ‘a job’. A job that pays well. Then, as we go down the road of job search and have faced a few rejections, we just want a job that pays. As time passes and we finally get that most coveted interview, we are desperate for the offer. Literally any offer. We land that job and it dawns on us that this is not what we wanted to do. But we put up with it any way as we like the money that’s coming in. After a few months we have been enslaved to this cycle and have bills to pay. We fear quitting our job as the previous job search turmoil is still fresh in our minds and hearts. Thus, begins an endless charade of waking up in the morning, going to work, coming back home, relaxing and partying on the weekends while cursing our work and bosses. The words ‘purpose’ and ‘passion’ sound dreamy and delusional.

How do we break this cycle? We need self-reflection. And a catharsis. We need to ask ourselves, why did I study for a particular degree? What intrigued me towards this profession? What did I really wanted to do? How has my perspective changed based on my current industry experience? What do I want now? Answers to these questions will help you find your purpose. They will reignite your passion. They will trigger a drive. Next step is to talk about it with someone positive, ambitious, and sagacious. You will have to go through a couple of people to find your motivator or your mentor. Sometimes we connect with someone instantly. Sometimes it takes us a while to find that someone who understands us and shares our passion and purpose. Persevere! it is only the second step.

Now find your way under this umbrella of a network of intrinsically motivated purposeful people. Do your research. This may be in your industry or in the one you are trying to switch into. Turn on your growth mindset yet again. Shove yourself to embark on the road to learning both formally and informally. Change supported by active learning is the key to progress.

I hear you say, “When do we do all this? Do we quit our current job to find our purpose? How will we survive?” Here, you need pragmatism. You have bills to pay. You can’t quit. You have to keep going while working toward your passion. You have to give up on some sleep. You have to give up some fun. You have to give up the comfort. Remember, you can’t move forward in life unless you stretch out of your comfort zone. No one said that the road to success is easy!

Keep working. Find or invent a side hustle that aligns with your newfound ‘purpose’. This will be your juice to feed your enthusiasm. It may not pay well or may not pay at all. Remember, it is your step toward reinventing yourself. You are still holding on to that regular job to maintain a constant cashflow. Passion needs peace of mind and a destressed soul to act as a motivator to initiate positive change.

Embark on a journey of self-discovery! Find your purpose. Find optimistic people that exude light. Learn, learn and learn. Keep a constant source of income with commitment and honesty. Be entrepreneurial. Remember, intellectual entrepreneurship doesn’t cost anything. Do what you genuinely enjoy whether that brings in the dollars or not. Be resilient and soon your passion and purpose will bring both recognition and wealth.

About the writer... 

Ayesha is a Career Development Consultant who has two gifted children. She is a professional member of the Career Development Association of Australia (CDAA). She has a Bachelor of Electrical Engineering, Graduate Certificate in Careers Education and Development (RMIT) and Certificate of Gifted Education (UNSW). She also holds a Certificate IV in Training and Assessment and Certificate of Fashion Illustration. 

She worked for a multinational engineering manufacturing industry before switching to career counselling, writing, teaching and case management.  She has worked in the British and American schooling systems and is now working with the Victorian Selected Entry and Regional Schools. Her diverse experience of working around the globe in the education and corporate sector and strong academic background enables her to see the bigger picture.