“I would love to find more fulfilling work. I just don’t know what I want to do.”
There seems to be a growing movement. We’ve achieved success ‘on paper’ but feel like something is missing. It’s hard to quantify, it’s nothing in particular but there’s a nagging feeling that says ‘I better not still be here in 5 years!’ It’s challenging to figure out what we truly want to dedicate our lives to but when we fail to ask the question, disillusion becomes reality.
The most visible confirmation of this trend is surely the sheer number who’ve taken the ‘What Career Should you Actually Have?’ quiz that filled our social news feeds. If we consider the recipe for viral content it’s unsurprising that almost 13 million have attempted to find out. The posts that go viral capture emotion, personal identity and the current social climate. Ultimately we share what we care about, what we want to associate ourselves with and what’s relevant. With Randstad reporting that 10 million UK professionals (one third of the workforce) are unsatisfied at work, this kind of quiz is unquestionably capturing the spirit of our times.
Problems arise when the things we love and our vocations are disconnected. When we’re passing the days in an environment detached from our core values it’s natural to feel bored, unfulfilled and even depressed.
While these quizzes may seem like just a bit of fun, they could hold the key to a deeper understanding of ourselves and our unique purpose. In short, it asks:
What do you love to do with your time?
Who inspires you?
What do you surround yourself with?
How do you prefer to socialise?
How do you spend your money?
What kind of escapism do you indulge in?
Together these answers astutely reveal what we’re really inspired by and want to be known for.
How do we tap into that latent inspiration to create lives that truly fulfil us?
Simply observe how you spend your free time.
When our vocation doesn’t inspire us, we live for weekends, holidays and eventually retirement. Yet we come alive when we dedicate ourselves to what we love. We all have something. It’s what we’re inspired to talk endlessly about. We’ll study and improve without anyone having to remind us. We don’t need external motivation to find time for it and we’ll happily hand over our hard-earned cash to fund it. Despite ‘What do you do?’ habitually forming most first impressions, it’s our leisure pursuits that invariably define us and suggest what we really want to be known for.
So observe your weekend choices! Take time to describe your ideal day and build the picture of a life that fulfils you. If the first step in creating a career that you love is acknowledging what you love then the next step is backwards. A review of the obstacles you’ve overcome will show you how you can be of service to others. Perhaps you’ve nailed living in a foreign country? Dealt with redundancy or divorce? Mastered a skill that others want to learn? We all have a unique purpose. Our mission in life is revealed when we connect the dots of what we love and the challenges we’ve been given to figure out. Your past and your pastimes hold the answer. Asking new questions will show the way to your inspired future.