7 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” – Matthew 7:7-8 NIV
In this materialistic world of ours where success has been defined by the acquisition of material possessions, purpose has even become more elusive than ever. I was once approached by parents of this so-called “problematic child” who after matric had decided to pursue a career as a chef. This caused a family crisis which led to countless family meetings and ultimately landed to me as a life coach. To these parents, being a cook was not glamorous at all. Believe it or not, one of their major concerns was what they would tell their friends, neighbours and colleagues about what their child was studying for a living when ‘normal kids’ were studying medicine, engineering, law, etc. I am certain, you can relate to this ‘crisis’ where parents live their unfulfilled dreams through their kids. This is the first stage where true purpose gets lost.
As a speaker and life coach, I get to be asked almost every day as to how to really find one’s life purpose. I think the word purpose is very confusing to most people. It has been depicted as something magical, so big and that once found, all your problems just disappear. David McCullough, one great author, once said, “Don’t climb mountains so that people can see you. Climb mountains so that you can see the world.” Our materialistic world is definitely promoting the view of climbing mountains to be seen.
To me, purpose is about finding your strengths, things that you are good at. Yes, the world says: “find your passion and you will never work a day in your life.” There’s some truth to this but I find it being over simplistic. Passion means what you love doing, something you’re passionate about. Here is what I’ve found in life, there are so many things one is passionate about. Let’s say one’s passion is basketball but he is too short to play professionally, then what? Another passion may be singing, always singing but the voice is not so good for you to be paid for singing! Then what?
So, finding your passion is not the automatic answer to finding your purpose. The answer to finding your purpose is to identify your strengths. Once you have done so, you need to check as to which strength matches your passion. Using the two examples above: You are tall (say 2m) which is your strength and you are passionate about basketball; You have a great voice and you are passionate about singing. This is the balance that we should be striving for, starting with the strength not just with a purpose.
I am certain you have heard the saying:” you can do anything you set your mind to.” I don’t personally buy this, it sounds too motivational. You may set your mind to something but if your strengths don’t lie there, you will be mediocre, period. Now, once you find the combination of your strength/s and your passion/s, you then focus all your time, energy, hard work, discipline and get coaches and mentors and that will be living a purposeful life. Let your focus not be on what pays the most but what your strengths and passions are, in that way, you’ll never work a day in your life and you’ll be the best at what you do.
Veli Ndaba is an Insightful Speaker, Life-Coach and Neuro- Linguistic Programming Practitioner, Author of three books (You Are Born to Win, Your Dream is Calling You and SWITCH ON!), Newspaper Columnist and Entrepreneur. To book him to help you and your team unleash your greatness, contact him on firstname.lastname@example.org, www.velindaba.com and 083 304 9773