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Discovering Your Life’s Purpose After College

Joseph Meyer

Finding our place in the world is so important to many, including myself, but the world is a big place, even if you’re living in a small town, the world can seem even smaller.  Going through years of education from kinder to college, a lot can be packed in all those years. Depending on where you live your education will be different, some of which will teach you the life skills to succeed in the job market and some will not.

It would be nice if in your years before going to college that certain skills could be learned as there are two major influence in our life, Parents/Guardians and Education. Going to Elementary, Middle and then High school or Secondary school, those skills were not strong areas I was taught, and my parents didn’t really seem to learn it in their education.

What do I do Now?

Coming out of secondary school I honestly was in a haze of what I wanted to do with my life, as naturally I was set to go to college, education my education a degree and I guess hope for the best afterward in the field I studied.

Finding my place after high school is probably what I needed at that point, knowing I had choices, but really those in my life did not speak to me about choices. Such as if I didn’t go to college, how I would be impacted and If I did how my life would be impacted, sometimes it’s just good to know.

Cup with "What is my life purpose?" napkin.

What was drilled into my mind throughout life is if you don’t go to college, you will not make it, you will not be successful. Truthfully I considered that a lie in the sense that those who don’t go to college still can be successful, you just have to take a route to get where you need to go, which may including getting a job to learn certain skills and building up your career right out of high school. Whereas in college, you go to college, get your degree, and then start your professional career in the field of study you choose.

What Your Not Told

What many will not tell you is what happens after you leave college or High school, how do you find your place in the world. When it comes to finding your place, you may say, what does that mean?

Finding your place is simply finding your purpose in your life and making a difference in the world.  Going through life you want to feel like what you’re doing has meaning, that you are working towards something.

Everyone is obliviously different but for myself, it took me a long time and I mean years to feel like I was finding my life’s purpose. One of the ways this happened for me was when I had a family a wife and daughter. Others look to find meaning in their careers, focusing solely on your career, trying to reach the top before they feel a sense of accomplishment.

I will say that we all have a life’s purpose and at times it’s not always clear especially going through those formative years of trying to discover what you are good at. There will be times that you will have to try different jobs and careers to have a sense of fulfillment in your professional careers.

How to choose the right career?

It is said that you will change careers every five years, why is that? That is because you are changing, your skills are growing and when they grow, you essentially outgrow where your place of employment.

I can contest to changing jobs every 5 years, because simply I outgrew that role and if there were no place to grow within the organization it was time to move and there is nothing wrong with that.

I will not speak for everyone just myself when I say I worked in Jobs, places to gain skills when there were no prospects of growth after a while, my own timeline to determine this is two years, after which you will see if there are growth opportunities for you and if you will be allowed to grow.

Having a master’s degree, I am very capable of doing a lot for an organization, but that’s not how many organizations think, they do look at your skillset, but they look at other factors that may not have anything to do with the job, such as If your likable, your age and even your looks. You may think that sounds preposterous but it’s true and studies have shown that to be true, it’s an area that many struggles with.

Help in my Search

When you are feeling like your life’s purpose is stagnant, there are some key steps you can try to take you mind of those pressures and stresses until you reach your life’s purpose which include:

https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/how_to_find_your_purpose_in_life

  1. Read – Reading connects us to those in history that have experienced what you are experiencing in your life. It’s important to see that you are Not along especially in literature where Life Imitates art in many ways. I have found getting lost in a book relieves some of my stress as it naturally destresses us, preventing our minds from wondering on those things we may not have control over.
  2. Turn hurts into healing– Finding one’s purpose although is an intellectual pursuit, it can also be a physical one, feeling like you physically making a difference.  I am someone who really does self-reflect on my life and what I have to be thankful for in my life. Growing up I tended to look at those who have what I don’t constantly compare myself to them, which led me to look at my life purpose in a different way. I had to really see others who were hurting in their life to see how much I had and that my life purpose was taking place, it was going at a slower pace than I thought it should.
  3. Cultivate awe, gratitude, and altruism – For some reading this you may be asking what is this, well ultimately is knowing that there is a bigger picture to look that. Around you, there are many moving pieces in your life to get you where you want to go and it will work in its time. Have a sense of awe, is really feeling connected to something larger.
    • Gratitude or feeling grateful for what you have, I think it’s so important to remember especially living in the United States or in Europe or very industrialized countries you have more than most. I can contest to living and growing up in the United States and looking at countries that restrict what their citizens can do to fulfill their life’s purpose such as going to school.
    • Altruism – Helping others is associated with a meaningful, purposeful life. Have you ever noticed when you help others, you feel a great sense of satisfaction knowing you made someone else’s life better? Such as if you serve the homeless in your community or volunteer for a worthy cause, that is altruism, finding purpose by helping others.  
  4. Listen to what others appreciate about you – It’s always great to hear good things about us, not to seek compliments but really to see what others see in you. It’s so easy to look down at ourselves when others around us so much more in our talents and gifts. For example, you may be a great writer, but feel you are a terrible writer, but others read your work, loving your words and by hearing that uplifts to you see what you may be missing.
  5. Tell your story– know your story is important and its constantly changing but your story is important and should be told. I know I love hearing about what it took a person to get where they are in their life’s purpose.
  6. Listen to what others appreciate about you – It’s always great to hear good things about us, not to seek compliments but really to see what others see in you. It’s so easy to look down at ourselves when others around us so much more in our talents and gifts. For example, you may be a great writer, but feel you are a terrible writer, but others read your work, loving your words and by hearing that uplifts to you see what you may be missing.
  7. Tell your story– know your story is important and its constantly changing but your story is important and should be told. I know I love hearing about what it took a person to get where they are in their life’s purpose.

I will say that finding your purpose in your career and life is not always easy, depending on how you were raised may have a different mindset. Personally, I can say that I was brought up in an environment where I was told I had no value and would never amount to anything.

I had efforts to find my purpose, but always in the back of my mind, I would not amount to anything. Although those thoughts are no longer there because I have struggled to get where I am today, it did affect how I approached my Life’s purpose and the direction I took.

Finding What Drives You

I will say to you don’t ever believe those who tell you what your value is, but you will discover your incredible value on your own. You have an incredible power within you to do great things, you just need to apply yourself and it will happen.

Your Career, Your Choice!

There are so many ways to you can discover your life’s purpose but I found these key ways to help you:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/click-here-happiness/201712/five-steps-finding-your-life-purpose

  1. Find out what drives you – What are your passions, what do you love to do when you get up each day. As a writer myself, I have that passion to communicate with others and to have a voice and also a storyteller. For you,  what drives you to each day, do you look cooking, drawing, film, whatever it maybe it’s within you, bring it out.
  2. Find out what energizes you – Life really is too short, find out what you energize you each day and not drains you. There will be points in your professional life you will fill tired and overworked but at the end of the day, you love your job and or life’s purpose. If you have something the energizes to you give going, do it.
  3. Find out what you’re willing to sacrifice for – For those things that we truly want a certain job, for instance, will require sacrifice, sometimes it will be going to school for years, other times it will be making little or no money or moving away from family to pursue that Life’s goal, what are you will to do get there. Some may say I would do anything, but many times others will not because of inconvenience, lack of motivation and lack of support from those around them.

Lastly, remember you are in charge of your life, your choices, your mind, and thought think positively and know you can accomplish your life’s purpose.  There will be those who attempt to distract you from what you want to pursue, listen but be cautious about what advice you take, it’s not always correct. As someone who has lived and work to find my life’s purpose, it’s not perfect, but getting there each day.

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