All our childhood and teenage lives, we’ve been told and encouraged to go to school so one day we can be somebody, but how can you be somebody when you don’t know who you are? The American dream encourages us to pursue selfish ambitions, where we can never have too much money and instant gratification and popularity are kings and rulers of our lives. We go into college and enter the job world with these ambitions as the motivators of everything we do. But career should be a spiritual pursuit, not just a physical or financial one.
I’m not talking about living your passion. Passion is defined as “any powerful or compelling emotion or feeling, as love or hate.” Oftentimes, passion can’t be trusted because it is centered on feelings, and feelings, like emotions, are fleeting. Think about how many things and people you’ve been passionate about from childhood to now. You can’t build a solid life on passion or the pursuit of money and popularity.
Our career paths should not be about passion but purpose. Purpose is defined as “the reason for which something is done or created or for which something exists.” If we don’t know who we are, we’ll never know what we were created to do and will spend most, if not all of our lives, listening to others tell us who we are and what we cannot do. But when we know who we are, we value the discovery of what we’re born to do. This foundation of identity allows us to live on purpose and have careers that fulfill our purpose. Unfortunately when it comes to our careers, we’ve been conditioned to put money and popularity over purpose.
When we seek purpose over passion, financial or physical ambition, we live, function, grow and thrive doing what we were created, equipped and gifted to do. We’re no longer moved by selfish ambitions or popularity pressures or expectations. If we’re not living in pursuit of our purpose, we’re making a living without making a life. Whether you’re just starting your career or have been in the workforce for decades, it’s never too late to discover your life’s purpose. After all, success is not a job title or corner office. Success is not where you live or how much you make. Success is discovering and living in your purpose. Let this be our pursuit.