This month, I’m going to dive into an important topic that doesn’t always come up when we talk about how to build a personal brand: purpose. When was the last time you showed up to work in the morning and thought to yourself, “Yes! I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be!”? If you’re like a lot of working professionals, the answer is probably, “I have no idea.”
So many of us are going through our lives on cruise control. We go to the office, sit at our desks, and do the same tasks day in and day out for years on end without every pausing to ask the critical question: what am I meant to do with my life? The good news is that it’s never too late to discover your true purpose.
Trust Your Instinct
I recently stumbled upon a box filled with paperwork from my high school days. Inside, I found a card with the word “beautician” scribbled on it. I was totally astounded. I had no memory of ever writing that word down but there it was, staring me in the face.
Years after high school, I took a special interest test to determine what career would suit me. My results came back with five suggestions: insurance, sales & marketing, real estate, travel and – wouldn’t you know it – beautician! I had two kids to care for and knew I couldn’t commit to a four-year college. For that reason, I enrolled in a 10-month beauty program at Aveda Institute.
I then spent the next twenty years working in the industry. Towards the end of my beauty career, I toyed with the idea of opening a salon, but my heart wasn’t in it. I liked cutting hair and helping people with their image, but I didn’t want to manage a bunch of employees. Finally, someone introduced me to the term “image consultant,” and it was like a punch in the gut. I’d never heard that phrase before and certainly never thought I could make a living teaching people how to build a personal brand.
Put Yourself Into Action
Did I know my exact purpose in high school? No. But I always knew that I had a higher calling. It just took some time – and a lot of soul searching – to figure out what it was. If you’re struggling to identify your purpose, here are a few tips to try:
- Do some “research”: Take an 8 x11 sheet of paper and draw a line down the middle. Make a list of everything you’ve done from the time you started working in one column and everything you liked or didn’t like about each job in the other. Then circle the common denominators.
- Put yourself into action: Make time to do the things you love. Maybe it’s crocheting or brewing beer. Don’t worry about whether or not you can make money doing it. Above all, indulge in your passions and see which of them make you shine and feel the most alive.
- Keep quiet: Some people like to squash dreams. It’s okay to talk to the people who believe in you but hold back on sharing what you’re up to with the negative people in your life.
- Pay attention: When you make the conscious choice to explore your purpose, you become tuned into messages you may have never heard before. Turn off your mouth and turn on your ears.
The process of identifying your purpose doesn’t necessarily have to end in a new career brewing beer or knitting hats. It can, but only if you do those things to serve others. A hobby – while incredibly worthwhile – is about serving yourself. Your purpose is about serving the world.
If you’ve been struggling to define your purpose but know that there’s more out there for you than the life you’ve been living, contact me today to discuss how I can help.