Finding Your Purpose

Signs You’re Not Living Your Purpose

I know someone who’s been doing the same job for almost 20 years, but recently told me he’s never felt like he was on the right track.

Hopefully, that’s not you.

Hopefully, you don’t have to spend two decades walking in one direction before you stop to realize that you have been on the wrong one.

Here are a few signs taken from the Callings talk I went to a few weeks ago. {Yep, I’m still reaping benefit from that event.}

Signs You’re On the Wrong Path

1. You spend much of your days thinking, planning and studying about your dreams.

That sounds like a good thing right? All that preparation means you’re going somewhere.

In reality, you could be stalling. If you find yourself signing up for webinars, classes, booking consultants and experts to help you, you may be unconsciously keeping yourself busy so you don’t have time to take action and start pursuing your dreams. You may be waiting for the perfect moment to do A, B, or C. But there really is no perfect time.

2. You choose a path that’s parallel to the one you’re called towards.

You’re an editor, for example, who really wants to write for a living. Or you work in a bookstore instead of writing a book. You may be a seamstress who dreams of being a fashion designer. Or an art buyer rather than an artist. Think about what you do for a living. Could you be slightly off track? Are you in a job where you are watching those you want to be like succeed while safely standing out of the limelight?

3. You’re a workaholic.

People who spend all of their waking hours working or worried about work may be doing so because it feels safer than thinking about what they really want to do in life, but aren’t doing. Being a workaholic is a great distraction, a way to keep yourself busy that you don’t have time to pay attention to what really needs your attention.This could be your kids. This could be the book you’ve always wanted to write.

If any of these sounds like you, take heart.

There are a few things you can do:

  • Start easy. If you’re thinking of starting a business or trying out a new creative venture, start by surrounding yourself with positive, supportive people. Begin with easy customers, not tough ones. This means you shouldn’t ask your cynical uncle what he thinks about your plans to open up a new craft business or your pessimistic pal about your latest design idea. Find people who are optimistic and supportive. You will need them especially to have the courage to go through the long haul to get to your dreams.
  • Take small steps. Because the road to following your calling feels so scary, it’s important to take small steps so you don’t overwhelm yourself at the beginning. Just quitting that day job or calling potential clients can be enough to make you want to give up. So start small. Make weekly, monthly even daily goals for yourself that look like this: 1) create a list of potential clients to contact 2) buy file folders and a new notebook to keep track of all of your expenses and potential projects/ideas 3) set up a website 4) contact 1 customer/client.
  • Form a community to help you. No one becomes successful by doing things on their own. You can hire a designer to help you design your web page or find a mentor to give you advice and encouragement to follow your path. Ask your relative who is an entrepreneur how they got started. Or contact a Twitter or Facebook friend and ask if they can give you some tips.

Do you have any tips or words of wisdom that helped you go from dreaming to living your dream career? Did this post resonate with you? Are you living a life parallel to your dreams? Share your thoughts below.

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  • Valerie

    So I’m curious about something… What if what you felt was your purpose was something that popular opinion says few people can make a living at, let’s say 3%. I actually just read that today in an email from Seth Godin (since I would love to make a living as published author). Do you press on in spite of the odds? Or seek out parallel paths?

    • Brandi

      Great question Valerie! I definitely think that successful people in the past did things despite the chance for success. Walt Disney, for example, had a vision of a large amusement park that no one believed would be successful. Same for a lot of his other ventures. Guess it is a choice about how you want to get there. A lot of writers do side jobs, even full-time ones while writing their book. It is possible. The main thing is your determination to pursue your passion. If you are the type of person who can work 9 to 5 and then carve out time to write your book, I’d say, “Go for it!” Does that help answer your question?

  • Gold

    What do you tell the people who have no passion or find out quickly that what they thought was their passion really isn’t?

    • Brandi

      Hi Gold. I can’t imagine someone having no passion. If that is the case, there may be deeper issues there. It could just be a situation where the person hasn’t given themselves time and the energy to find out what that is. Passions can be something as simple as gardening or having a love of hiking or they can be a career. It’s totally normal to go towards one passion and find out it’s not the right one. Also, we all have several dreams to pursue in our lives (thank goodness!) at different stages in our lives. Hope these answers help!