Path to your purpose!

Chadwick Boseman, of “Black Panther” T’Challa fame, recently passed away. While fighting cancer, he returned to his alma mater, to deliver the main address at the school’s 150th commencement ceremony and he said something which stuck with me: “When you are deciding on next steps, next jobs, next careers, further education, you should rather find purpose than a job or a career. Purpose crosses disciplines. Purpose is an essential element of you. It is the reason you are on the planet at this particular time in history.”

For each of us to be present in this moment, we needed parents, grandparents, great grandparents and pretty much a tribe to get us here. Their lives, their struggles, their stories happened to make this moment real. Let that sink in.  So many connections and so much magic had to happen to bring about our existence. Are you making the most of it and living your best life? Have you found your purpose?

I know, it may all sound very daunting, most of us don’t even know what we are passionate about, and if we do, will we make enough money by following it? It does sound easier said than done, but believe me, its worth it. We as human beings, are a product of our environment and our choices, and making intentional choices can help us find our passion and live more purposefully. Here are few 6 steps to navigate your journey.

1. Explore the things that give you joy.

Society has formed a structure around how lives evolve, we are born, go to school, then college, maybe fall in love, find a job, get married, have kids and it goes on. All that is good and contributes to the general well-being of our environment, but it might be good to take time and reflect on what we want. As kids we participate in a lot of extracurricular activities, to figure out where our interests lie, what we might be good at, or enjoy. Start your exploration there, talk to your friends and ask for feedback, look for things that give you joy.

Be patient, enjoy the exploration, develop on things that give you joy. It will come to you if you put in the effort.

2. Do your research. Seek guidance.

Can your passion be your career? While we follow our heart, it is important to take our brain with us. Explore ways to find how you can pursue it as a career or as a supplement to your existing job. Look towards role models to identify their journey and steps they took. Talk to career counselors, try freelancing, inject it into your current life in bits and pieces, to make your it more enjoyable and meaningful.

Through your research and explorations, your path will come to you.

3. Build your network. Make a plan.

Reach out to people who are on a similar journey as you. Familiarity makes the journey more enjoyable, and you learn from each other’s mistakes and create a support system. With the internet, the world has become an exceedingly small place, so join forums, read stories and share your own to help others too. Learn, and keep growing, information fuels the brain. Be open to new ideas and suggestions and you will only get better.

While you network, start working on a plan for yourself, and as part of this plan make sure to take a hard look at the issues that may come up in pursuing your passion. Recognizing the hurdles and difficulties is the first step towards overcoming them. Loving what we do requires us to put in efforts on various things to eventually get established, so if all the hurdles don’t faze you yet, you are on the right path.

4. Save money. Have a backup plan.

We all need a safety net, as we leap forward into an exciting future, we need to remember that life has a way of taking its own course. From health issues to accidents, we need to be prepared for the unlikely and worst-case scenarios. Here are 3 things to keep in mind:

    • Have the flexibility to be able to sustain yourself without a job for at least 6 months. Save accordingly.
    • Make sure you have skills to get a job to pay your bills while you work towards your dream.
    • Freelance, offer your services for work or mentoring. Be open to doing “some” work for free in the initial days.

5. Make a career. Market yourself.

As we talk about passion do know that I’m not advocating giving up your high paying job and taking off to the Himalayas. Unless of course you want to! Sometimes, we know our Ikigai right away and let go of our responsibilities in following it and losing ourselves in it. It’s about striking a balance; between our responsibilities and ourselves.

Now, having planned, prepared, and done all the groundwork, make your passion your priority, work, focus on it, grow it and make a difference. It will give you the courage and motivation to keep on continuing on, despite the struggles. And as your build your career, learn to set yourself apart. Be the best but also be noticed. Market yourself, create an online portfolio, get active on social media, be and active part of discussions. And opportunities will come to you.

6. Persevere. Enjoy!

In your path to your purpose, you will have setbacks and challenges, recognize them, learn from them, and use the lessons to move forward. It won’t be easy, but it will be a journey to remember. No movie is fun without the twists and turns, so why should this adventure called life be any different? Walt Disney was fired as an editor because he lacked imagination and original ideas, Thomas Edison was told as a child that he was too stupid to learn anything and it took him 10000 experiments before he created the first light bulb.

Doctors have found that people with purpose in their lives are less prone to disease. Purpose is increasingly being touted as the key to navigating the complex, volatile, ambiguous world we face today, where strategy is ever changing. So be curious, find your passion, take calculated risks. Don’t let the back and forth dance of successes and setbacks, deter you. Enjoy it, because none of us can guarantee success but learnings and adventure… ahh the beauty of it!