Where are you on the ‘Path To Purpose’?

What does the journey to finding your calling and a more meaningful life look like? Where are you on the journey?  Read on to learn about the steps on the path, and get a sense of what your next steps should be.

So you want to avoid drifting through life and make a difference on the things that are truly important? To make any kind of major transition we need some kind of map, some set of guide posts for the journey.  In this post I want to set out six stages that I have seen people move through as they learn to refocus on what matters.  Indeed, I have been on the journey myself.

Read them and spot where you are, and where the next step lies.

1. Becoming aware.  We start with an itch, with a growing awareness that something has changed, that our life is no longer quite in alignment with our goals.  Perhaps our external environment has changed (such as a new child or the loss of a job); or perhaps it is something within us that has changed (like a new motivation or a growing maturity).  We start to realise something needs to change.

2. Clarifying convictions.  We realise that we long to make a meaningful difference in our family, community and beyond, but are not sure what, nor how the competing priorities in our lives should be resolved. We start to reflect on our convictions, our values, and what we really hope for and long to see in our lives.

3. Righting the boat.  It becomes obvious that we are in no position for much of a change.  We’re too busy, over-scheduled, over-committed, financially stretched, or whatever.  At this point we need to make some changes to our schedule to free up a little time and rebalance our lives in accordance with our true priorities. We’ve not made radical adjustments here, but have re-calibrated our existing life.

4. Exploring options.  We start to explore a few more significant options, to dream about some bigger adventures. We ‘try on’ a few possible future identities and dip our toe in the water with some small experiments. We start to learn and focus in on the next big adventure we feel called to.

5. Making a transition.  Now we swallow hard and commit to a fresh direction. But radical change won’t happen overnight.  We need a transition plan: a way of getting from A to B.  For some of us, this itself might be a journey of several years.

6. Doubling down.  We are now in the place we feel called to be… and the questions before us revolve around how to measure and maximise our impact, stay motivated during the tough times, and leave a true legacy.

Of course, real life and real people aren’t so linear, so the reality will involve jumping around these steps somewhat, iterating, learning and gaining clarity.  This is the grey wibbly-wobbly life bit of the diagram! But the six steps above still represent a helpful way to understand the journey we are on.

Question: Which phase of the journey are you in right now? Let me know in the comments, below.

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