This is actually a guest post from Nick, a reader of The Promise of a Pencil:
I just turned 30, am working in a well-paying but emotionally bankrupt job and have found my life lacking the purpose or compelling mission that I so desperately want.
Your post, 3 Essential Steps to Uncover Your Purpose and Become Unstoppable laid out the “what” very well—but giving your audience a follow-up on “how” could be super useful. Here are four potential actions for each of the three main steps you encouraged others to take.
STEP 1: GET OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE
This is a great way to overcome irrational social fears and disconnect ourselves from outcomes—allow yourself to fail. You’ll be surprised what you’re capable of when you do.
Set a Colossal Ambition
This requires you to discipline yourself and accomplish smaller goals first. For example you can register for a Spartan Race or marathon that will require weeks or months of training. Or start planning a huge travel trip. Aim to learn a new language. The options are massive.
Allow a Friend to Make Plans for You
Give them complete control of an evening filled with unknown activities. Do this consistently to build the habit of being okay with uncertainty. A core tenant of improv comedy and storytelling is the Agreement Principle: to never say “no”, only “yes”, to whatever is presented. Try living your life that way and you may find it and yourself changed.
Enter a Competition Where You’re Likely To Lose
We learn very little from our successes. It’s through failure that we gain the greatest knowledge, yet we rarely set ourselves up for those types of experiences. Failure is a necessary experience for growth, and you’ll be surprised by how losing can lead to a thirst for perseverance and success.
STEP 2: NEVER TAKE NO FROM SOMEONE WHO CAN’T SAY YES
Spend Time Around People More Successful Than You
Being around people who are influential and have accomplished things you admire can be beneficial IF you use it as inspiration and motivation. Jim Rohn once said, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” Up the average!
Figure Out What’s Important to Others – Outside of Work
This is huge in today’s world. A 2013 Cone Communications Study indicated over 90% of millennials said they’d switch brands to one associated with a good cause – i.e. cause marketing works! Aligning yourself with a decision-makers’ personal motivations is a great way to gain their attention.
Position Yourself Where Successful People Will Mingle
Successful people are often tough to get in front of in business settings, but doing some research to identify their passions and get involved in those areas. Use social media to your advantage. What do they have linked and liked on their pages? People are proud of what they’re passionate about. A little homework can put you in the right place at the right time.
Reach Out To Those Who Work With Leaders You Admire
Many great romantic relationships start as friends-of-friends – business is no different. Talk to people you already know and work with to see if there are introductions to be made. Linkedin has a new Introduction feature, use it!
STEP 3: CHOOSE TO MAKE YOUR LIFE STORY WORTH TELLING
Find a Passion That Makes You Come Alive
Don’t look around for what the world needs, ask what excites you and moves your emotions. What the world really needs, and what every great story has, is a character that’s electrified by the pursuit of something that matters to them.
Work Your Ass Off Every Single Day
Ironically, the best dreams happen when you’re awake, present and working on something you’re truly passionate about. The stories that resonate most clearly with us have a character that is working creatively, tirelessly, in pursuit of a vision for the future.
Understand What Creates Happiness
Read Gretchin Rubin’s The Happiness Project. Make a happiness plan and stick to it every day! You have to pave your own unique path. A successful life is defined differently by everyone – but one thing remains true, we’re all looking for happiness. The best story you can tell is one with a happy ending.
Let Go of The Past and Live In The Present
Hindsight is 20/20. Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards. We learn from the past, and live in the present. Time is the only truly unrenewable resource we have – don’t waste it by dwelling on what you cannot change. Do something today to move towards the compelling future.