Over the years, I’ve read lots of articles about finding my purpose. None of them really helped me find my purpose. Mainly because, I think, they were asking the wrong question: “What is your passion?” One book said that if you found your passion, the money would follow. Ok, maybe I agree with that, but what’s my passion? I guess to re-phrase it, what do I like to do? I was usually stumped about right there. Let’s see, I like walking my dog, watching decorating shows on HGTV, gardening, and jewelry. Liking jewelry and finding a good wholesale connection led me to have a jewelry company for a little while, until I discovered selling and servicing jewelry wasn’t my passion. What else do I like to do? Visit friends, drink a Cosmo, go to Palm Springs. That’s all well and good, but it still didn’t help me find my purpose.
Since deciding to leave the corporate world, I’ve been searching for what my purpose is. I even took some classes thinking interior design might be it. Then I realized I wouldn’t enjoy decorating in a taste other than my own, or trying to convince a client what “sofa” (couch is not designer lingo) to buy. I also didn’t feel a sense of satisfaction or meaning or contribution to the world. So I volunteered at a couple of places. It had meaning, but there was only so much one could do as a volunteer.
How do I find my purpose? I kept wondering. What if it was really a matter of asking a different question? How about, “What are my strengths?” Everyone’s strengths are unique and make them who they are. An excellent webcast about finding your strengths is “Marcus Buckingham’s Career Intervention” on Oprah.com. Marcus has a six part series about re-connecting with your passion at work. He recommends you focus on your strengths and ignore your weaknesses. You can always delegate your weakest tasks to someone else or find someone who has your weaknesses as their strengths. What are you better at than anyone else? What projects always land on your desk because you’re the best at them? What are you complimented about at work or at home? And, I’ll add, what fits your ideal lifestyle?
Maybe my strengths are to teach and write. Since I was a young girl, I’ve read almost every investment book published (at least the bestsellers). I am good at making complex subjects, like hedge funds, simple to understand, so I’ve been told. Hmmm. Then I went to my fourth Pacific Northwest Writer’s conference. I had an idea for an investment book called, “The Investment Spa”, a resource for investment education so you’re as comfortable investing as you are in a spa. An upscale financial book for investors. The idea received good reception from an agent and an editor of a publishing house. Hmmm. They said a “blog” (short for weblog) was a must. I wasn’t even sure what a blog was, but I knew I surely didn’t have one or a clue how to create one. Could writing about financial matters be my purpose? Writing and finances were things I loved, had meaning for me, and fit with the lifestyle I wanted: being able to work from home or Palm Springs or anywhere on the planet. A day later, I created my blog, and here I am talking to you. Basking in my purpose.
But what about you? Do you know your purpose? Have you been wondering too? Well, what are your strengths? What have you enjoyed about your career (something drew you to it, even if you’re not so in love with it now). What are you better at than anyone else? What makes you, you?
What books are in your bookcase? (I probably could have figured out my purpose by looking at the myriad of books in my bookcase on investing and writing). In what section of Barnes & Noble do you browse books and lose track of time? What magazines do you subscribe to? What websites do you subscribe to? Even if you are on email lists of department stores, it shows you likely have style and are interested in fashion trends. Maybe being a stylist or personal shopper? You like fixing things? Maybe a website about that. The internet allows you to use your creativity and personality (strengths) to set up a business or hobby you’ll enjoy. So go look at your email inbox and your bookcase. I’ll bet somewhere in there, you’ll find your purpose.