How to figure out what you really want to do with your life.
Feeling confused on how to find your purpose? Here are our five questions to help you get unstuck!
Don’t fixate on the words. Look beyond to the purpose of the question and don’t worry if it takes you off on a tangent. They are designed to get you thinking and to help you find answers. Try writing or doodling as you go.
1 // What is the one thing that keeps you awake at night?
The answer shouldn’t be focused on fears like heights, snakes, dying or day to day challenges like paying bills. They are all legitimate and you should definitely deal with them, but what we are looking for are those fears that you will regret on your deathbed, so keep drilling. No one dies saying they wish they faced a snake – but many do wishing they spent more time with their kids, travelling the world or being a better partner.
Q. What will you deeply regret not doing?
2 // What is the one thing you are the best at?
We all have innate talents. Some might be hard skills like being silly smart or being able to play the piano blindfolded at the age of three. Others might be more subtle like being a really good listener, being able to make people laugh or being able to empathise with others.
I believe that our innate positive qualities are there to guide us on our journey to happiness. Sometimes they are easy to unearth, at other times we need to battle our ego and perceptions of what we should or shouldn’t be to find them. However, when we do, everything changes if we are willing to listen to them.
Q. How can you use your talents to find your purpose?
3 // What puts a smile on your face, inspires joy and cultivates gratitude?
Whilst happiness is important, joy tends to be more deep rooted – contentment which lasts. You can be going through a hard time but still feel joy from the gratitude of the good things in your life.
On the other hand it’s tough to feel happy when things are tough (this is a complex point, one which many wiser people than me contemplated, so I would encourage you to read more about joy, happiness and how to find them)!
By being self-aware you can pay attention to those activities, people, situations which bring you joy. Sometimes it’s the little things like making someone laugh, playing with your dog, sitting in a park, going for a swim – by finding your joy you will get closer to your purpose.
Q. What would you be happy doing for the rest of your life?
4 // What did you want to be when you were a kid … doctor, superhero, dancer?
I wanted to build bridges. Odd really and I have no idea where that came from. Eventually I realised that there aren’t that many people that built bridges and gave up. But who knows what would have happened if I persisted.
When we are kids, our perception tends to be clearer, not muddied by our upbringing, culture, opinions etc and definitely not impacted by our logical questions like what will give us the most money, make us comfortable etc. Whilst we might not be doing what we wanted to when we were kids, we can still use that as a way to inspire us.
Q. What would you do if you had no constraints?
5 // What’s the worst thing that will happen if you get it wrong?
Going back to the starting point, our career, we often get the questions from generationYOU members on what to do if you think you are in the wrong course/degree. How do you know, and what should you do?
I ended up in the wrong course and spent 5 years studying something I would never really use in my life. Do I regret it? No. Would I do things differently? Maybe. To me, university wasn’t just about the studies – sure they were important – but my life was far richer through my travels, experiences working with student organisations and all the people I met along the way.
Q. What is the biggest learning that arose from a mistake?