The lockdown period in 2020 gave me valuable time to think about my future and where I’m at especially in terms of my career. During challenging times we have two choices. We could get cynical and negative especially around the uncertainty that potentially lies ahead, or we can use the challenge as an opportunity to review our future and formulate some new goals and aspirations. Over the last few months, I have been doing just that in order to reinvent myself. One of the first steps has been to define my ‘purpose’ which will allow me to search for greater meaning in my life.
I have used the following themes to get some clarity along the way.
What is your purpose? Time needs to be spent unpacking this key question. Once you have clarity around what you are here for, it’s important to protect this purpose and not to be negatively influenced by others. Your purpose is rare, so nurture it.
We can’t underestimate the importance of creating an identity for ourselves. What characteristics make us unique and special? How can these characteristics be highlighted, utilised and marketed?
I think it’s important that we spend time formulating and continually reviewing the values that define us either as a person or leader. I often discuss these with people I respect and ask them to give me feedback around how I am ‘living out’ these values.
At all stages of your life, it’s important to be your true authentic self. It’s really easy to get drawn into people or groups that don’t necessarily fit your values and beliefs, which can make it difficult to maintain your purpose. As a result, we can end up living a life that’s not ours.
I’m always aware of not chasing or pursuing things that are not important or don’t relate to my goals. Run your own race and don’t get too tied up trying to compete with others. The competition needs to be in our own space and pace.
Strengths and weaknesses
Are you aware of your key strengths and do you make the most of these strengths? I think it’s necessary to understand what our weaknesses are and be courageous enough to place yourself in uncomfortable situations where you can develop these. This is where real learning takes place.
Self-doubt cripples our ability to take risks, have a go and be creative. We all have to work hard on strategies for increasing our confidence and self-esteem. This happens by setting small, achievable steps for ourselves.
‘We’ not ‘I’
I firmly believe that real purpose comes from not filling our own bucket, but that of others. The people who often feel most satisfied and happy with their lives are those who have been generous and of service to others. Just remember, there is no cap on what we can give.