It flows through the mind of high school graduates, college students, and experienced workers alike. It is a simple thought: “What is my purpose?” Each person has a unique set of skills that can be used and improved to achieve fulfillment. Some people spend their entire lives dabbling in different careers/interests and never find their true passion. Others get stuck in a job that they do not enjoy and keep the job simply because it pays the bills.
More than likely, you’re reading this deeper dive because you do not want to fall into one of these categories. You’re taking a step in the right direction, and there are many ways one can find their calling. Often, it is by accident. Yet there are a few ways to help push you in the right direction, or even find that one thing you want to do for the rest of your life. Every method works differently for every person, so I recommend trying multiple techniques to see which one(s) you resonate with.
One of these methods is called a “brain dump.” The idea here is to get all of your thoughts out on a page or word processor, so that you may appropriately respond and ponder each one. Here are the steps you need to take to perform a brain dump that will help you discover what you want:
Title a document (written or digital) “My Passion” or “My Purpose”15-20 minutes to write down as many ideas of things you could do with your life as possible. No idea is a bad idea. Keep it broad, and keep it general for now.
- When you write down an idea that you feel an emotional response to, underline that idea.
- Re-read all of your underlined ideas slowly, and allow your mind to wander and respond to each one.
- Every emotion counts. These responses are all perfectly valid:
- You can feel angry at a problem and want to solve it
- You can feel excited about the thought of you in role that you wrote down
- You can feel sad that you are not living the lifestyle you are pondering.
- If you want to dive even deeper, create another document titled with the idea you had the strongest response to.
- Repeat steps 2-6 for this idea
Another method that can give you insights into your purpose is taking a trip down memory lane, back to your childhood. Answer these questions on a piece of paper or word document and look for any patterns. Spend time on this, and give thoughtful answers.
- Were there any activities you found yourself doing for hours without even realizing it?
- What did you daydream about?
- How would you remediate boredom?
- Was there anything you really wanted to do but your parents/guardians wouldn’t let you?
The final method that will be discussed involves keeping a journal. This is the most difficult method, but it will likely reveal the most about yourself. The journal method is difficult because you must write an entry at least once a day for three weeks without fail. Every time you find your mind wandering–whether while at work, in the shower, or before you sleep–write down what you were thinking about before you caught your mind wandering. If you do this for three weeks, you will begin to see patterns in your thinking as you re-read your entries. These patterns can give you insight into what you really want in your life.
I implore you to try all three of these methods, and see which one works best for you. You may discover something with one method that connects to an insight you gained from a different method. The possibilities for discovery are endless. If you feel overwhelmed with the number of interests you have, do not worry. Take some more time to group these interests into categories, and you may fall in love with one of these categories you created. I wish you all luck on your journey, and I congratulate you for being the Author of Your Own Story.