My Simple Formula to Discovering Your Purpose
Do you ever feel like the idea of “discovering your purpose” seems overwhelmingly complex, like you have to delve into the depths of your existential purpose of life and uncover your most deepest, subconscious thoughts and feelings, and analyse every single relationship you’ve ever had and its’ impact on who you are today? I used to, and I would get so frustrated trying different methods, trying different tips and suggestions, but not being able to come up with an answer. Eventually I’d get sick of going around in circles and would leave the burden of discovering my purpose to another day.
It wasn’t until I challenged my beliefs of right vs. wrong, what my definition of success and happiness looked like, and the reasons why I had developed these beliefs, that I uncovered that discovering my purpose doesn’t actually need to be that hard.
I’d like to share my simple formula with you today. But in order for it to work, you’ll need to challenge your own thinking. More specifically, you’ll need to challenge your ego. That’s right, the ego that tells you that you should be doing certain things that a successful person needs to be doing, the ego that is so set on you taking home a healthy pay packet each month, or the ego that chastises you for giving up an influential position in a company. Unless you can do this part, you’ll never truly discover your purpose. Instead, you may find a direction that will keep you entertained, or somewhat satisfied, for a finite period of time, but sooner or later, you’ll find yourself asking the same question again — what is my purpose?
Your purpose is simply the perfect alignment of who you really are and how you best serve others.
Let’s break this down.
Who you really are = what you’re good at and why (your skills & why you’re so good at the things that you’re good at) + what you enjoy (your likes/dislikes).
It’s important to get this part right, because you might be really good at doing something but you don’t enjoy it. Like my friend who’s an excel whiz but hates numbers.
You might also really enjoy doing something but you’re terrible at it. Like me playing tennis (I do like to channel Serena but somehow the execution is never quite right).
Think about when you’re functioning at your optimum — you feel totally comfortable in your skin, you’re confident, you know exactly what to say and do. What is it that you’re doing? Who are you with? What outcomes are you inspiring?
P.S (In my previous article, I’ve introduced to you Caroline McHugh and her amazing talk on The Art of Being Yourself. If you haven’t already seen it, I HIGHLY rate it and recommend that you check her out.)
How you best serve others = how do you leverage who you really are to help others.
This part is equally important as part 1. You may be an expert and really enjoy simultaneously juggling 5 balls AND completing complex maths equations out loud, but this doesn’t really help people (or maybe it does and I’m making a totally outlandish assumption).
What do people need help with? How can you make a difference in their lives to help them with something you’re really good at and really enjoy doing, which concurrently brings them some type of benefit, be it joy, convenience, more free time, confidence, etc?
Once you’ve figured this part out and you’re anything like how I used to be, you may find yourself (your ego) questioning if you’ve lost the plot. “What do you mean you want to create photo wall installations for events so that the attendees can take memorable event-inspired photos? How will you make the same money that you used to make doing THAT?” (yes this is an actual business I’ve partnered up with my girlfriend to do, and yes this was literally a question my ego has thrown at me).
My suggestion to deal with your ego is to confront it face on. Write down its’ concerns and ask yourself the 5 Why’s to understand the root cause of where this concern is coming from. So using my salary example above, my deep-seated notion of success, which I acquired from being brought up by first-generation immigrants, was that I needed to earn above the average wage (or to be a either a doctor, lawyer or accountant), otherwise I would not be considered to be living my life successfully.
Critique your notion of success, and define your own. Why? Because you’ve clicked into this article for a reason, most likely because something in your life doesn’t feel right. You may have made significant progress in discovering your purpose, or you may be at the very beginning. Either way, it’s important you start living on your terms, terms that you’ve defined — like success and happiness.
Your purpose will probably change throughout your life and discovering it is the easy part. Learning to live with your ego, your inner critic, your inner voice of destruction, that’s the hard part.
I’ve created a free 5-module series to help you identify your purpose and align it to the external world. Check it out here.