No, not the Justin Bieber album.
Your life’s purpose.
I’ve heard the whole finding your purpose thing many times.
I didn’t quite know what to make of it.
I know that people who are living purposeful lives are probably happier overall because they’re doing things they love, doing things they were “called” to do.
By who? And why haven’t they called me yet?
It seemed like most people just stumbled upon their purpose through life’s circumstances.
So I believed that one day my purpose would just find me through trial and error.
It turns out that whilst you might not be able to find an all-defining “purpose” that easily, you can determine what is important to you in order for you to live a fulfilled life.
I’d just never been given the tools to do the necessary self-exploration that would enable me to figure this out. And within the last week, I was given two.
Looks like I’ve finally gotten the call.
Using Ikigai to Find Your Purpose
I attended a workshop run by Katrina Too with NewCampus where she introduced Ikigai.
It’s a Japanese concept that means “a reason for being”, which helps you to figure out what makes life worthwhile for you.
She showed us this diagram and made us list down at least 4-7 things in each of the four categories, going one category at a time:
- What you love
- What you are good at
- What the world needs
- What you can be paid for
Once you’re done writing the lists under each category, look for the cross-overs:
- What you love + What you are good at = PASSION
- What you love + What the world needs = MISSION
- What the world needs + What you can be paid for = VOCATION
- What you are good at + What you can be paid for = PROFESSION
I was writing in my notebook and had my stash of highlighters handy so I colour-coded everything as we went along.
We then got into groups and discussed what overall patterns we noticed. I came up with three things: quality conversations, social impact and learning & growing.
Once you have clarity on this, you can reflect on your current situation and see how it lines up with what you’ve determined makes life meaningful for you.
Questions to ask
Which of your needs are not fulfilled?
Is there anything in your life that you need to eliminate?
How can you take these elements and turn them into your ideal lifestyle or profession?
Finding Your Soulprint
A few days later, I watched a webinar run by Vishen Lakhiani of Mindvalley where he talked about a soulprint, which is “the reason why you were born”.
According to him, every significant experience in your life shapes who you are. So he said to start by reflecting on the peak moments and painful moments in your life.
Once you have listed these moments down, look at what values or beliefs come to mind in each situation.
One of my peaks was living on my own in Sydney. It gave me a lot of freedom and growth, which are two of my key values.
If you come up with many different values and beliefs, you can put similar values into “buckets” so that it’s easier to see the overall picture. Besides freedom and growth, I also came up with connectedness.
Then, you should define what each of them mean to you.
To me, freedom means choices and opportunities. Growth means being better than I was yesterday. Connectedness means being present with others and having deep conversations.
Now that you’ve identified your key values, bring them to everything you do.
Bring them to your job interviews. Bring them to your social media and anywhere that you’re showing up. If you’re running a business, build them into your company.
If you’re interested in watching the full webinar, you can check it out here.
A combination of these two exercises helped me figure out what was important to me in life.
As Katrina said, most people already know what’s important to them, they just forget sometimes and make decisions that don’t match up.
Then they wonder why they’re unhappy or feel like their life is out of whack.
None of my values were a surprise to me, but having them written out and in my face provided me with a set of clear guidelines that I hadn’t followed before.
I now know whether to say yes or no when opportunities are presented. I only say yes to things that are aligned with my values because they will enable me to live a more fulfilling life.
Cover Image from Unsplash