So, after reading my previous posts about finding your purpose, you’ve decided that you want to be just like the man in the image above. Your true purpose in life is to be in the sunshine in your pants drinking beer from a hat but also feeling content in your menial day job mowing lawns.
Ok, so perhaps the details of your story are a bit different but the intention is the same.
You’ve started to uncover some of the things which bring you a sense of real satisfaction and meaning, now want to make them more of a feature in your life but aren’t necessarily ready to give up the day job just yet.
I spent about five years in this space myself so get where you’re coming from. Knowing what you want but not knowing how to get it, can sometimes seem far worse than living in blissful ignorance. (Oh, to have had £1 for every time I’d rather have been blissfully ignorant.)
The reality is that most of us aren’t going to go from discovering our purpose to quitting our day job overnight. Some wonderfully crazy spontaneous folk do and good for them. But, be honest with yourself and get real about your life, if you’re a slightly risk-averse former accountant like me then it ain’t gonna happen like that. And, the brutal truth is that you may never get to the point where you’re either able or want to give up the day job anyway.
Following your purpose doesn’t have to be all or nothing and all-consuming.
It might be. But it can also be a steady and fulfilling part of your life which flows in the background.
In this post, I’m going to set out some really simple ways of gradually making the shift towards your passions and purpose without necessarily throwing the security of a stable job out with the bathwater.
1. Be an explorer of your passion
Accept that the exploratory phase of pursuing your purpose can be really fun. Luxuriate in research to open your mind about the chosen subject. Try not to feel in a rush to nail your colours to a specific mast. Read widely, educate yourself – be curious and indulge your insatiable appetite.
2. Find your tribe
Search out other people who share your interest and passion. I find that learning from others and hearing their stories is one of the most interesting and inspiring ways to immerse yourself in your purpose. Don’t know where to find them (surely not in the era of the omnipotent Google), then why not start your own tribe?
3. Get smart
It can feel that there aren’t enough hours in the day to start following your passion whilst also covering off the essentials of life (work, family, friends etc).You may find that you only need 30 mins a day to spend with your purpose in order to feel a real lift in your life. So get smart about how you use your time – get organised, get focused and get efficient.
4. The small things
The smallest shifts in our actions can have a disproportionate impact on our mood and mindset. You don’t have to overhaul your life to be engaged with your purpose. We only need a small nugget of fire in our belly to make a difference to our experience of life – small amounts of time and attention applied regularly can give us that.
5. Make the most of the overlap
Your purpose doesn’t have to be conducted alone in a darkened room, like some kind of black magic. Find ways in which you can bring it into other aspects of your life. Share it with your friends, family, colleagues. If there can be a link, not matter how tenuous, to your day job then make what you can of that.
6. Speak up
In my experience, people love to listen to someone who has a passion. It’s uplifting, inspiring and interesting. Who wouldn’t want to be those things? So don’t keep it to yourself. No matter how fledgling your interest, share it with others. They may connect you with someone they know, they may share your passion, they may want to help you out, you may even inspire them to find their own purpose.
A lot of people think that my MO (modus operandi to those who watch less crime TV) is to make everyone quit their day jobs, follow their passion and become blissfully happy but potentially destitute.
Please be reassured that it’s not.
My MO is to help people find balance, grow and be content. And that can come in many forms.
I encourage people to explore and make some time for their passions. It may be that by investing only a few hours a week, or making slight tweaks to their life or their job to align more closely to their purpose, that someone can shift the balance just enough to, more often than not, feel in a place of contentment.
So, perhaps the moral of this post is to keep the baby. And just change some of the bathwater.