Finding your passion isn't supposed to be easy
September 28, 2020
When I graduated from college, I was ready to take over the world. I was motivated, driven, ambitious, and hungry.
I wanted to do big things, have bigger conversations, and put a dent in the universe. I wanted to feel like I was making a difference.
When I reflect on my first day of professional work, I smile at how eager I was. I gave new meaning to the phrase “bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.”
I was so ready to begin advancing through my career that it didn’t even bother me that the work I was doing was monotonous. I was reporting for duty as an internal-auditor, which for anyone who is unfamiliar with the role, consists of telling people who strongly dislike you, to follow the rules.
Sounds fun right?
Wrong. Very wrong. I had about two months of auditing under my belt when I had my first opportunity to bring our “findings” to the attention of the Treasurer of the bank we were working at.
Not only did he seem rather perturbed that a young man (who apparently was younger than his son) was telling him that he needed to do things differently, at one point he referred to me as a “young twerp.”
Don’t worry though, he immediately said “no offense” afterward so the insult was instantly alleviated. Or so he thought.
As the meeting came to a close, I managed to flash him a smile and escape with the few remaining pieces of my battered ego. The rest of it would need to be swept up off his floor.
The point of revisiting the dark days of my misstep into internal auditing is to point out that it was no mistake at all. It was meant to reveal aspects of my character that had yet to bubble to the surface.
Something terribly beautiful happens when an individual realizes that the career path they chose is not what they are meant to do. The realization can slowly develop over time, or it can instantly flash into the conscious mind. Sometimes it may even manifest in a Satori moment of sudden enlightenment. However it happens, it’s a beautiful realization because it ignites a spark of hope that there is something better out there waiting for you.
Despite the allure of living a new life, realizing and admitting to yourself that you are currently stuck in the wrong story can be a painful process. In order to change narratives, you will have to have many difficult conversations and leave friends, colleagues, and mentors behind as you transition into the next chapter of your life.
The most challenging aspect of all, however, is that you will have to ask yourself the question:
“What do I want to do with my life?”
And thus the magnificent process of purpose hunting begins!
I began purpose hunting before I even knew what I was doing. I had energy, ambition, and burning desire to make a measurable impact, but as an entry-level internal auditor, there’s sadly not much room for greatness. So I took the fire burning within me and began directing it towards the one thing I could impact: me.
I began waking up several hours before I had to be at work so I could go to the gym, read, write, and meditate. My mornings became the best part of my day and it was my disciplined routine was that fueled me. I discovered Tim Ferriss, Stoicism, and the concept of personal development.
I immediately began to see results as I became healthier and happier. Despite working a job that was attempting to suck out my soul through a bendy-straw, I felt fully alive.
It was my love of personal development and my newfound desire to become the best version of myself that got me through my darkest days. It was Stoicism, Fear-Setting, and hard physical training that saved me when I was working 50-hours a week while studying an additional 25 hours to pass Level 1 of the CFA.
As I began to think more seriously about quitting my job, I used my morning journaling practice to introspect. I started asking enormous questions such as “why am I here?” and “what is my purpose in life?”
I was frantically searching for answers and a way out. Sadly, they didn’t come right away.
I spent many Saturday nights sitting alone in my room making lists of what I wanted most from life. I would write down the experiences I wanted to have, the growth opportunities I desired, and the contribution I wished to have in the world.
But despite my dedication, I did not have a kundalini spiritual awakening. Nor did I experience a lightning-bolt moment where I suddenly knew what I was supposed to do with my life. Instead, I had countless hours of anguish, frustration, and hopelessness as I desperately searched for my purpose.
Purpose hunting is not an easy process. It leads to unprecedented self-discoveries, some of which can be very painful. For me, the process revealed that I had been living a life that was not my own. It showed me that I had been living a life that my parents, teachers, and society had quietly guided me toward living. When I finally discovered my true purpose, it required me to take off the mask I had been wearing, have dozens of difficult conversations, move cities, and quit my job. Twice.
The most difficult part about finding one’s purpose is that we have been led to believe that it should come naturally and easily. While that may be true for some people, that was definitely not the case for me. My journey has been messy, uncomfortable, and terrifying most of the time. But one thing that I can sit back and laugh about now is this:
The activities that I was using to help me uncover my purpose was actually the answer to my question. I was using mediation, journaling, reading, and self-led learning to find my purpose. I had no idea that I had already found what I was looking for and was in fact utilizing it. Personal development was the reason I made it through hell unscathed because learning and teaching personal development is my life’s purpose.
Or at least that’s what I believe it is at this point in my life. Given how much I have grown and evolved in the past three years, I realize that I may look back on this article and smile when I realize how far off the money I was. But for now, I am pursuing my dream of positively impacting the lives of everyone I meet by equipping them with the tools to reach their highest potential. These tools consist of all the incredible teachings and practices I have learned throughout my journey into the personal development world.
But if I could only tell people one thing, it would be this:
Hunting for your purpose isn’t supposed to be easy. While it may be the hardest thing you ever do, it’s also the most fulfilling. Never give up on searching for what lights your soul on fire. And realize that sometimes it may be hidden right in front of you, in plain sight.