We spend a lot of time working in this country. Actually, we spend 90,000 hours of our lifetimes working. According to the International Labor Organization, we outwork the Japanese by 137 hours per year, the British by 260 hours per year and the French by 599 hours per year, as stated here.
This recent article in Forbes states that 53% of Americans are unhappy at work, as reported by The Conference Board. In addition, according to a chief scientist at Gallup, 51% of the 100 million people working full time in this country feel no connection to their jobs and 16% are actively resentful of their jobs, meaning they “tend to gripe about it to co-workers and reduce office morale as a result.”
That is a lot of people who haven’t found their purpose in life.
It is a pretty big deal to have a fulfilled life. One of the ways to have a fulfilled life is by feeling like we are living up to our potential. Why? Because we like ourselves more! And if we like ourselves more, we will have more confidence and higher self-esteem. And if we have more confidence and higher self-esteem, we will be kinder to ourselves. And if we are kinder to ourselves, we would be kinder to others. And if we are kinder to others, the world will be a better place for us all to live. If we are working a job we have no passion for or an absolute disdain for, there goes world peace!
Just kidding. Sort of.
My question is, aren’t we supposed to be making the most of the lives we are given? I think so! Life is a gift! But it doesn’t always feel like it when we spend 1/3 of our lives not doing what we love.
Here are 3 steps to help you figure out what your life’s purpose is:
1. Understand that you have purpose here. We all have a reason we are here and have something valuable to contribute. It isn’t always falling in love, getting married and having kids. There are some who find gratification in that, there are some who aren’t looking for that, and others still who thought that marriage and kids would fulfill them, but have found themselves dissatisfied and wanting more.
2. Think of one thing you are good at and that you love to do. What would you do, even if it were for free? We really only have to be good at one thing. If you are drawing a blank, think back to when you were between the ages of 7 and 14, a time when you were developing your interests and figuring out who you were as a person. For instance, when I was a kid, I remember being asked which superpower I would rather have: flying or being invisible? However, my answer was ‘reading minds.’ I wanted to know why people did the things they did. Cut to me later in life as an actor breaking down characters and “turning psychology into behavior,” as my revered first acting teacher in NYC described it. Then, cut to me later in life as a hypnotherapist getting to the root of my clients’ behaviors and helping them to have better lives. Think back to what kinds of things fascinated you when you were young and remember why they peaked your interest the way they did.
3. Figure out a way to make money doing what you love. Sometimes it isn’t so obvious. This step may require some flexibility and imagination on your part.
Let’s say, for example, deep down you always wanted to be a doctor. Maybe it doesn’t make sense to go through the many years of schooling and training at this point in your life. So, ask yourself, “what it is about being a doctor that makes me want to do it?”
Perhaps the answer is that you love the idea of helping people heal. There are a number of careers that require less time to qualify for that you could do that involves healing people, like a nurse, an energy worker, any of the specialties in the medical field, or hey, a hypnotherapist! You can find something within the realm of what you wanted to do as a child that would still encompass the reason you wanted to do it. You would be surprised at what you can find fulfillment doing.
If you are feeling unsatisfied with your current job, think about finding a way to do what you love, even if it is a side hustle. Sometimes amazing things come out of side hustles! It may feel like a risk, but if you do what you’ve always done, you get what you’ve always got. Plus, we spend so much time at work, it only makes sense to find a way to do what you love.
Maybe it’s time to shake things up a bit.