Purpose unlocks potential.
The evidence is anywhere you see people with a clear sense of resolve or determination. For these people, a weight has lifted from their shoulders because instead of trying to work out how they fit in the world, they can focus on optimising and being the best at their craft.
If you’ve discovered your purpose you know the feeling. It’s incredible!
If you haven’t, discovering your purpose isn’t as elusive as you think. It comes down to two clues, both of which hide in plain sight for most of us.
Let’s rewind. For years I felt lost. And there are few things more frustrating than knowing you have much to offer the world but remaining clueless about how to put that energy to good use.
Knowing what I know now, I’ve always been an entrepreneur. I started my first venture aged 10, organising kids in the neighbourhood (and ‘borrowing’ their parent’s gardening tools) to convince neighbours to pay $20 to ‘fix’ their garden. The model was simple. We spent about an hour tidying up the garden (and working out how to use the tools we had acquired) before moving on to the next house. All the money we made was split equally among the posse of kids who worked. Of course, at such an early age financial gain wasn’t sufficient to the maintain the team’s interest and the model proved unsustainable.
When I put Reid’s advice and that of my daughter’s school principal to the test, this story served as early evidence of my purpose.
Clue 1: Where Your Mind Wanders When You ‘Zone-Out’
This clue is all about the themes you think about when you have a moment to yourself. Take a moment to be mindful. Where did your mind go when you zoned-out the last five or ten times?
There is a strong chance that thematic consistency connects each of these ‘zone-out’ events. These themes are important because this is your mind taking you to a place of natural curiosity and interest. Imagine if your mind could spend a lot of time there?
This clue, via Reid, is THE essential first step.
For me, my mind naturally goes to ‘what if we could…’, and business models and extends to the fascination of how we (as founders) can bring ideas to life that create habits to change the world and the lives of many.
Side Note — If the answer to the questions above is ‘lying on a beach’, ‘visiting the snow’ or ‘taking a year off to travel’, you need a vacation so take one! Don’t mistake your zone-out thoughts for where you would rather be at that particular point in time.
Clue 2: Your Heart Song
This beautiful phase comes from my daughter’s school principal. You know your heart is singing when you’re thinking or talking about a topic that makes your eyes light up, makes you stand a little taller and takes you closer to being the best version of yourself.
When was the last time you sang your heart song?
It won’t surprise you to know that thematic consistency usually connects each of these events too. Make a note of when this happens and the topic. It happened to me just yesterday as I talked product and market entry with the amazing Rhonda Brighton-Hall and the team at MWAH.
Next, Examine The Overlap.
Take the themes arising from where your mind wonders and when your heart sings.
Purpose can be found where these themes overlap.
It might reveal the unexpected. It might be confronting. It might challenge your lifestyle or the investment you’ve made in your career and education to date. However, if you discover your purpose a weight will lift from your shoulders. And now, instead of trying to determine how you fit in the world, you can focus on optimising and being the best in a potentially different craft.
So as you reflect on the year that was and perhaps your purpose, I hope these two clues help provide you with the same potent clarity I enjoy.