I recall being fortunate, or unfortunate, enough to attend my college reunion last Christmas. This occasion was a real eye opener to me. I was definitely out of my comfort zone. I got to meet people I hadn't even thought about for the last three decades.
Honesty began to unfold as the wine flowed. What became apparent quite quickly was that we had all passed middle age, the Pareto principle kicked in with about 80% of my ex-classmates admitting that they were extremely dissatisfied or miserable with how their lives had evolved.
"It feels like I've wasted my whole life, and I'm already three-quarters of the way through it," was the consensus of the 80%.
The second realization that became quite quickly apparent was the fact that all of the 20% had studied either creative arts or humanities related subjects. The joy of learning and the acquiring of knowledge in order to later apply it in a meaningful way became a key proponent of my theory that contentment, if not happiness, resulted from knowledge acquisition.
I felt must know more about the 20%. I also found out none of them had felt as though they had so far wasted a single minute of their lives to date. Constantly acquiring new knowledge, and enriching the lives of others along the way, seemed to be the other essential component of contentment and passion. Adding value and constantly adding to their knowledge were the two processes that would lead to my identification of the 5 steps to knowing your purpose.
1. Know who you are
2. Know what you are doing
3. Know who you do it for
4. Know what the people you help want or need
5. Know what the people you help get from what you provide
We all know that when you selflessly provide value, you are rewarded in many ways as result. If you can focus your life's efforts on enriching other people instead of grasping for all you can, extraordinary things do happen. Not least the boosting of your wellness, self-esteem, happiness and contentment.
The identified 5 steps to finding your purpose do warrant further explanation. As only the first 2 are about you, the remaining 3 focus on you helping others. This, of course, leads to where you need/want to be as fervent 20%er.
1. Knowing who you are includes more of an in-depth knowledge of your motivations and modus operandi. Just knowing you name is a start though.
2. Again, knowing a little more in-depth about what it is you immerse your time and energies into delivering on a daily basis. Having goals based around some sort of planned objectives is good.
3. Identifying your 'target market' is a must. Do you want to make children's dreams come true? You write children's stories. Do you design apparel for men and women who need affordable choices? You're a fashion designer. Whatever niche you wish to inhabit try to provide value.
4. The help and value you provide should coincide what those who you seek to help overcome their difficulties, require. You will need to have an understanding of these people.
5. Have a deep understanding of how what you provide is positively impacting those you are attempting to support. Feeling of contentment/happiness will come from you being able to see how you have made a positive contribution.
Knowing what you are doing and where you are going will help you to maintain a balanced life. Where you fit in, and knowing your purpose, will determine your satisfaction status as long as you stay consistent.