Anxiety and uncertainty often accompany us on the journey to finding our passion and purpose.
With so many job options and fields to choose from, and now with the increasing popularity of entrepreneurship and freelancer work, it’s difficult to know which path is ours to take.
Through trial and error we try different options- change our majors a few times, dip our toes in a few fields, but often with each change, we find ourselves having to start all over again.
What if we could speed up the trial and error process?
According to Steve Jobs and many others who have lived their passion and purpose, the dots connect when you look back. But most often when we’re trying to find our place in the world, we look forward. We look at the future job prospect to help us choose what to study. We look at future trends to help us decide what business to start. This is a smart way to make sure we can pay our bills, but not the way to find our passion and life purpose.
If you are still trying to find that thing that gets you up in the morning, stop looking ahead and follow the steps below:
Divide your lifetime into smaller timelines.
Ages 1-12 (elementary/middle school years)
Ages 13-18 (high school years)
Go up by 5 years from 25 years and onward.
Investigate and build your case.
Dissect your story piece by piece from your childhood to the present. Write down any memories, events, and emotions in as much detail as you can. This activity should take a few months to complete, so don’t rush through it.
Decode your life.
Look for themes, recurring patterns, and dots that connect.
For me, the recurring patterns were all about making small, incremental achievements. My family immigrated to Canada when I was in grade 7, and I didn’t speak a word of English. Through putting in a lot of hours honing my learning and study skills I not only learned English within a short time, but also started scoring the top marks. In grade 9 I had the second highest marks in the entire school among my peers.
Another challenge I had overcome was my selective mutism, a severe social anxiety disorder that impacts your ability to speak in certain social settings. Until I was 12 years old no other adult, besides my parents, had heard me talk. Through slow and small steps, with lots of failures and disappointments along the way, I overcame my selective mutism, and in 2018 I spoke at TEDx.
In my work, I naturally gravitated towards helping people achieve success through incremental progress. I coach and mentor others to achieve their academic and life goals by focusing on small wins. My work is ingrained in who I am and my story. It’s my passion and purpose but it took a while to find it because at first I, like many others, I looked to the future to try to find my dream job.
Look back, connect the dots and find what themes you uncover from dissecting your story.