Are you struggling to find your purpose in life? Do you feel like you’re stuck in the wrong place, the wrong job, the wrong relationships? You’re not alone. So many people find themselves wondering what they can do to begin living a more authentic life.
If you feel you’re on the wrong path, there are some very specific strategies you can use to help you find your way. All of these strategies are based on coming to know yourself more consciously. They help you identify and focus on your strengths and your past successes.
Once you clearly see the things that you do well and enjoy, you can begin to identify where they intersect with opportunities. This point of intersection, where who you are and what you do come together, is your purpose in life.
This is where you’ll find the people you’re supposed to be with, the work you’re supposed to be doing, and the life satisfaction you’ve been longing for. Try one or all of the four following strategies, and you’ll begin to find your purpose. I found these 4 ways to be very effective.
Ikgai is a Japanese word that’s translated as “reason for being.” The Japanese believe that everyone has an ikgai and that searching for it is a worthy and respected journey.
Your ikgai rests at the point where four elements of your life overlap and this is where you’ll find your purpose.
• Your passion.
• Your mission.
• Your vocation.
• Your profession.
Your passion consists of the things you love. You may have one overriding passion, or you may have a few. Whatever you’re passionate about, it’s inevitable that it will be integrated into your ikgai.
Your mission is what you have to contribute to the well-being of the world. Don’t be intimidated by this. It doesn’t have to be on the level of world peace. There are many people who live in small, quiet lives that nevertheless make the world a better place. Whether your area of influence in your neighborhood or your planet, the world needs you.
Your vocation includes the things you do well. These may be specific job duties, or they may be more nebulous. Drafting perfect mechanical drawings maybe your vocation, or being able to tell where a wine was produced by taste alone, or making people feel included. Any of these could be a part of your ikgai.
Your profession includes the things that someone is willing to pay you to do. “Finding your bliss” is well and good, but it doesn’t pay the rent.
Once you’ve identified the four elements for yourself, you can begin to see how they intersect. Your goal is to find a purpose that includes all four elements. You can follow this ikgai and find spiritual fulfillment, even in times when things seem dark.
The Five Years, Four Squares Plan
This method uses your vision of the future to find your purpose. The first step is to take a piece of letter-sized paper and fold it in half. Then fold it again so that it’s divided into four squares.
Think about the four areas of your life that you value the most. These may be “family,” or “career” or “health.” Write one value at the top of each square. The next step is to think about where you want each of these areas to be after five years.
Once you have your five-year goals, you need to write a step-by-step plan to get there from where you are now. Keep this paper close to you, and review it when you awaken each morning and before you go to sleep each night. Don’t be afraid to change the steps if you need to redirect yourself. You’ll find your purpose not only in the destination but in the steps it took to get there.
The Hierarchy of Job Satisfaction
If you look at all the jobs you’ve had in your life, you’ll be able to think about aspects of them that you did or didn’t like. That’s the purpose of creating a hierarchy of job satisfaction.
First, make a list of every job you’ve ever had along one side of a sheet of paper. Next, put a happy smiley at the top of the other side, a neutral face in the middle and a sad face at the bottom.
Look at each job, and put the positive and negative aspects along the “smiley scale” that you’ve created. Write the words for each job, even if they’re already there from one of the other jobs. Take some time with this task, and try to go deeper than the obvious. “Teamwork; everyone did their share” is more helpful than “liked the people I worked with.”
When you’re finished listing the job qualities, count up how many times you used each word or phrase. You’ll be able to clearly see which specific job characteristics bring satisfaction and fulfillment and which make you dread going to work. You’ll know that you’ve found your purpose when the work you’re doing has the qualities you enjoy and lacks the ones that drag you down.
The Outside Advice Strategy
Self-analysis has its limits. Sometimes you need an outside perspective to help you find your purpose, and asking your friends for their insights can be tremendously helpful.
For this strategy, you’ll need to draft an email to send to your friends. Ask them to respond to the following questions and explain their suggestions, if they can.
• What do you consider to be my biggest passions? How have you seen me express these?
• What do you think my greatest talents and strengths are? How have you seen me use them?
• Have you ever thought I would be particularly good at some career or activity? Why?
• What skill do I possess that you would pay me to teach you? Why?
Your friends may be able to make you see things about yourself in a new, surprising way. You may find your purpose in a place you weren’t even looking.
I hope this helps, at least this will give you some ideas about what you want to focus on.
Comment below if you found this helpful.