It’s Never Too Late To Find Your Purpose

When my daughter was twelve years old, she hated to go to bed. She was at that age when she felt that too much was going on all around her and if she fell asleep, she feared that she would miss out, FOMO. I wonder if you can journey back in time and through your mind’s eye, and see yourself when you were about nine, ten. Were those times more exciting than now? Did you have big dreams for your future?
I remember playing dress-up in my mother’s clothes, shoes and all, then putting on her make-up and posing in the mirror. I was the budding lawyer and I couldn’t wait to grow up to live my dream. Well, to make a long story short, I ditched the legal career idea when my mother said “lawyers are liars”. The strange thing is I never had a dream after that. Not in my teens, not in my twenties……

Why is it that sometimes our dreams seem to die as we get older. If the dream does not disappear, it’s the twinkle in your eye that seems to dim as you get older. And eventually the dream evaporates as drizzling rain on a hot road in summer. Somehow as adults we tend to settle for the mundane routine of life. We work day in, day out and the next thing you know you are checking the years remaining to pay off the mortgage, hopefully before retirement.

But it does not have to be that way. It’s never too late. In 2009, in An Anatomy of an Entrepreneur, a study of 549 company founders, Vivek Wadhaw, a fellow of Stanford University, determined that the average age of a successful entrepreneur in high-growth industries such as computers, health care, and aerospace is 40. Twice as many successful entrepreneurs are over 50 as under 25; and twice as many, over 60 as under 20.

Maya Angelou, the famous American author, was 41 when her first novel was published.
So wherever you are, whatever your situation, you can rekindle that flame. Just make the decision, commit yourself and start now. Here are some tips to get you started.

1. Write It Down

Writing does something to the mind. It is the evidence of your conviction and the very act tells yourself that you are serious about achieving your dream. Dr Gail Matthews, a psychology professor at Dominican University in California, did a study on goal-setting with 267 participants. She found that you are 42 percent more likely to achieve your goals just by writing them down. Writing forces you to clarify what you really desire. Your dream then becomes your goal if you use the SMARTER (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, time-bound, evaluate, reward) approach to defining your dream.

2. Develop A Plan Of Action
Writing your goals is just the beginning. You have to develop a plan outlining in detail how you are going to get to your destination. If you don’t have a plan, you will get nowhere fast. Do some personal skill-assessment. What are your strengths? What skills do you need to develop? You may need to take a course or do some volunteering to build your skills. Also don’t forget to have that discussion with yourself (then with your significant other) on how you think you can finance your goal, then probably seek some advice from the financial “gurus” if you have to.

3. Bring On The Cheerleaders

I remember many moons ago, my mother, my sisters and I would always go to watch my two elder brothers play their basketball games at Princess Elizabeth Court in Port-of-Spain. Rain or shine, we would be in the stands screaming at the top of our lungs,”GO HARAMBEE GO!” Sure enough they went on to be picked for the national team. Who are your cheerleaders? You need at least one cheerleader in your corner. Your cheerleader is someone who will genuinely support you all the way.  Whether they are able to give you advice or not is irrelevant. They just need to have your back.

4. Find A Mentor

Sometimes it is difficult to imagine that “big people” need a mentor. But having a mentor really helps to keep you on track. Your mentor will provide guidance, may introduce you to new networks and open doors.  A good experienced mentor should help you realize your potential, giving an objective view on your strengths and weaknesses. Also you may think you can make your to-do-list and get on with it by yourself. But sometimes we falter. A mentor will definitely hold you accountable for the tasks you promise to do.

5. Have Faith

It can be hard to have faith in yourself when things do not go your way and your dreams seem to be out of your reach. But the Big Man may have a plan for you. Create a vision for yourself and imagine yourself in your future state. Imagine yourself in your dream job. Imagine yourself having your first art exhibition. Imagine yourself celebrating your first on-line sale with some Moët & Chandon. Can you taste it?

I believe that we all have unique gifts. That nobody can deliver “it” the way you can or I can. The trick is to find your gift and nurture it. You may have to dig deep within to identify and unearth your gift. Pay attention to what people are saying to you. Listen for recurring compliments and positive feedback. Sometimes they see what you don’t see. It was my daughter who told me about my gift. About seven years ago she told me that my gift was to give hugs. And I’m now that she was absolutely correct. Now I find myself personally connecting with my clients and people I meet in my training programmes. Sometimes the hugs are psychological hugs, in terms of me being supportive, and sometimes they are actual physical hugs.

Real living is about finding your purpose. And it’s not too late to find yours. Have no regrets.

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