Building a Career Around Your Purpose
I recently had a conversation with a few friends about the idea of discovering our purpose in life. More specifically, we talked about finding a job or career that is in line with this purpose and how, according to some people’s opinions, it is seemingly impossible to position yourself in a place where you are:
A. In a job that serves this purpose and feeds your soul,
B. Receiving fair and adequate compensation to fully and independently support yourself, and
C. Able to maintain some semblance of personal life outside of work.
Ultimately, we wondered if you can have it all.
It’s important to consider the idea of a purpose and how getting to the root of this concept and what it means for us as individuals can feel ambiguous and evasive; it’s generally not something you can discover instantly, as many of us are conditioned to expect.
I also think it is human nature for many of us to look for this answer externally. I like to talk with others and bounce ideas off of the people I trust. But, in doing so, I’ve found that I often dilute my opinions in the process and energetically glob on to ideas, fears, reservations, and past experiences that are not reflective of my own feelings. After several conversations, you start to loose sight of what it is that rings true for you—not for your mom, your best friend, or your hair colorist.
So, let’s assume that being aligned with your purpose essentially means that you spend the majority of your time and energy engaged in an activity or work that makes you genuinely happy. Let it be that simple.
I follow a lot of people who have created both small businesses and massive empires around doing work that they love that is seemingly right up purpose alley. I’ll even use myself as an example here as I feel that the work I choose to do with Vibe Elevated is definitely on the level of what I would consider to be aligned with my purpose; I feel a strong drive to help other people create happy and fulfilling lives and to bring clarity to situations and topics that create stress and anxiety for others. And, I LOVE it.
Because these people are running businesses, you don’t really get to see all sides of their day-to-day and we’re often only shown the peaks—not necessarily the valleys. We’re lead to believe that, when you do things to propel you on the path of your purpose, everything will be sunny and perfect. After all, it’s not necessarily going to make you want to purchase a product or service when you witness the leader of a company you admire have a breakdown or ugly emotional moment.
When we make a decision as a result of what we think a certain track will look like, we set ourselves up for failure.
The following is what I wish I’d known before building a career around my purpose.
Choosing a career that is in line with your purpose ultimately will bring you a lot of joy among so many other things. But make no mistake, working for your purpose is really hard—way more so than showing up to a job that just doesn’t resonate with you (at least in my opinion).
Don’t land on something because you are desperate to get out of your current employment situation. Your decision should be rooted in untamable passion, because the work that lies ahead is not for the faint of heart and takes a lot of time, patience, love, and daily commitment.
When you work for your purpose, you put your entire soul into everything you do. If something you put out into the world isn’t well-received, it can sting. With purpose comes deep emotional attachment and with that comes intense feelings on both ends of the spectrum.
I can say with complete honesty that doing work aligned with my purpose is more rewarding that I ever could have imagined. I’ve been brought to tears over some of the kind notes I’ve received from my clients and I wouldn’t trade that for anything, even on my worst days.
You can have a job that you love that feeds you on a soul level and get paid so that you are able to live your life in a comfortable and safe means. Call me crazy, but you can even have a life outside of whatever that work is. Sometimes it will not be as extensive as you’d like, but it’s possible.
It is so important to expect and accept that not every day will rain unicorn glitter. Even if you do reach a point where you find a career path or job that you love to pieces, there will probably be days where you want to walk away. I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve been there and will probably go there again. The important thing is that you embrace that life is full of ups and downs, and what good would the ups be if we didn’t have the downs as well.
Contrast is everything.
Don’t fight the low moments; try to sit with the discomfort and use it as an opportunity to learn about yourself and expand your self-awareness.
Here’s the good news: When you take action to live your purpose, your life will open up in ways that you didn’t even realize possible.
I can promise you that there will be days that you doubt yourself, the world, and the people closest to you. People that you think will support you will suddenly drop off and give zero shits, people that you think will criticize you will come out of the woodwork to tell you how proud of you they are and how much your work means to them. You’ll feel an incredible sense of personal power, but will also likely be equally as terrified.
So, that was a lot. Here’s the short version:
- Choosing to create a career around your purpose doesn’t mean you have to be a philanthropic martyr. This can be simple. Maybe, for now, your purpose is bringing light into people’s days. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to land on the right thing, especially because what resonates will always be evolving.
- What you see from leaders, bloggers, entrepreneurs, etc. is just a small snippet into their lives. Jessica Alba is no doubt an amazing do-it-all female, but I guarantee you she has ugly cry moments just like the rest of us. Don’t even think about comparing yourself to anyone, be it the woman across the hall or Oprah…Not gonna do you any favors.
- Again, not every day will rain unicorn glitter.
- Sometimes, people you share your work with will be so touched and moved by what you do, you’ll wonder how you ever spent your time doing anything else.