As I mentioned in my motivational talk a couple weeks ago, the most common question I get asked or hear nowadays is “How do you find your purpose?”
I’ve been pretty passionate (excuse the pun) about this topic lately and shared this on Quora earlier this week:
“So many people are trying to find their passion. But as Tom Asacker mentioned in an interview I did with him, your passion isn’t out there, it’s in here (in you). Instead, try experimenting with and exploring the things that interest you. And when you can find the combination of those things that you enjoy, you’re good at, and that people need, that’s when you’ve hit your sweet spot. Basically, you don’t find your passion by thinking about it. You find it by doing things, getting really good at something and then leveraging that skill to create a life you love.”
I also sat down with Paul Sohn this week, where we discussed this topic further.
Paul recently pivoted his own career to focus on empowering twenty-somethings to find their true north, which he does via his new organization QARA, as well as his book Quarter-Life Calling: Pursuing Your God-Given Purpose in Your Twenties.
In our interview, Paul mentioned something he calls the vocational sweet, which he describes in more detail in the book.
Basically, he defines this sweet spot as the intersection between your passion, personality, gift and life experience, as illustrated below.
Let’s take a look at each of these components in a little more detail.
THE 4 INGREDIENTS TO FIND YOUR PURPOSE SWEET SPOT
Your passion is those things that get you excited. It’s the things that you would pay to do for a living, let alone get paid to do them. What gets your heart beating a little faster as you are speaking about it to other people?
Your personality is the combination of things that make you uniquely YOU. I like to think of this as a combination of your values and general operating principles.
Your gift is the things you do naturally well or have learned to do really well, without having to try really hard. It’s your natural talents, skills and strengths. What do others tell you you’re really good at?
Finally, your life experience is those situations and circumstances that have brought you to where you are today. Many of these will probably be tough experiences, but as Jason Goldberg said in our interview back in episode 19, “our biggest struggle is our greatest gift.”
Paul’s model obviously differs from mine slightly. While he suggests finding the sweet spot between your personality, passion, gift and life experience, I talk about finding the intersection of what you’re good at (gift), what you enjoy doing (passion) and what people need.
I believe that your personality and life experience will greatly influence what you enjoy doing, however, I think it’s important to also consider that 3rd component: what people need. Without it, we could end up creating an awesome hobby rather than a business.
And while money shouldn’t be the primary driver in what we choose to focus our time and energy on, our work is the vehicle through which we make an impact in the world.
I suggest keeping some kind of journal or Evernote notebook to record everything that catches your attention as potentially valuable data, so you can refer back to it later on.
But remember, the idea here is not to try to sit and figure this all out. Rather, we discover these things by experimenting and exploring, until we start to paint a picture of what our purpose might be.
Lastly, your purpose will more than likely change over time, and that’s okay, too. Approach it from a fun-loving scientist point of view, and enjoy the process.
OVER TO YOU…
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