There have been multiple studies done about how to find your “purpose” in life, or about how to find your ideal career, yet that information might be no further away than a review of what you have been doing all along!
Yes, I will be the first (and continual!) person to tell you that if you keep doing what you’ve always done, you’ll keep getting what you’ve always gotten. However, that does not mean that you can’t get clues about the things that will make you happy by reviewing what you have done in the past.
When it comes to being “larger than life,” what is it that you or the people who know you well would say about you? What character traits, hobbies, or habits have you maintained for years, probably without even giving it any conscious thought? When you find the things that you are already enormous at, you will have found things that are in alignment with who you are, and those things can then be used as an outline to create who you want to become.
It is very likely that when giving consideration to what type of person you have been for years, you will not need to dig very deeply. If you have to think really hard about what type of personality you have, or about habits that you have maintained over the long-term, you are probably putting too much thought into it.
Don’t think of it in terms of how a habit or a personality trait could make you happy, or about how you could use it to make money. Just stick to the facts, and then you can sort it out later to determine what it all means. I’ll use myself as an example to illustrate the process:
- Healthy – I picked up my first barbell when I was 15 years old, I am 38 years old right now, and I have never gone more than 6 months without being on a consistent exercise program.
- Happy – Although my life has had bumps and bruises just like anyone else’s life, I have always had a happy and out-going disposition. Yes, I can get cranky just like everyone can, but overall I have always been cheerful.
- Ethical – I got my first job within a week of being legally old enough to work, and I was mowing lawns and doing yard work for cash long before that. I have always done quality work, and I have always gone above and beyond the call of duty to earn the money that I’ve been paid.
- Outdoors – I grew up in the middle of nowhere in upstate New York long before everyone had an iPod, a cell phone, and a MySpace page, and playing outdoors was an integral part of my upbringing. To this day, I will literally get stressed out if I stay inside for too long.
- Inspirational – No, I haven’t always had my present technical and grammatical skills, but I have always been the kind of person that people come to for advice, and the kind of person who helps people to believe that everything is going to be OK.
- Disciplined – Whether it was walking 1 1/2 miles each way to see my girlfriend 3 times a week when I was a freshman in high school (again – upstate New York – brrrrr!), freezing or sweating during days and nights in the desert while I was in the Army, doing manual labor for days on end in the Florida heat, or BRINGING IT with P90X, I have always been able to rise to any physical or mental challenge put before me.
- Fun-loving – I have never consistently taken life too seriously. Yes, there have been times when I’ve worn the party hat a bit less often than other times, but for the most part I have always been the kind of person who believed in enjoying the journey, and I have the pictures (and the scars!) to prove it.
Just now when I typed all of that out, it took me only marginally longer to type it than it probably took you to read it. I did not have to give very much thought to those habits and personality traits because they are nothing new to me, and none of them are only in my distant past. All of those examples are things that I have practiced most of my life, and I could call out a recent example of each and every one of them. These aren’t habits or traits that I used to have, or that I would like to have, but rather that I already have, and that I’ve had for years.
Now, if there is something that I am considering – whether short or long-term – I don’t have to look any further than that list to see if it is something that I will enjoy doing. As I said back in the Winds of Change post, I am getting ready to start a new fitness program on the coast of Florida. Does it match my profile?
- Healthy – You can’t run a fitness business if you aren’t in shape yourself – not if you actually want customers!
- Happy – After 3 years as a personal trainer, I can tell you for a fact that a fitness instructor’s upbeat attitude is more important than their skills.
- Ethical – Again, if you want customers, you run an ethical business, and I always have, and always will.
- Outdoors – Doesn’t get much more outdoors than the coast of somewhere beautiful
- Inspirational – I’ll be in charge of inspiring not only a lot of customers to succeed, but a lot of employees and joint venture partners as well.
- Disciplined – I will go from working full-time at home in a temperature controlled environment to working outside in Florida in the summertime. Pretty safe bet that both physical and mental discipline will come into play!
- Fun-loving – I hatched this entire idea because I wanted to do something fun, and – without giving away the details of my business plan – yes, it will be loads of fun!
I will be personally happy because I will be practicing the very same personality traits that I have been using for years, and I have been using them because I enjoy doing so. I will be professionally happy because I will make a good living using those same personality traits, and at the same time I will be enhancing the physical and the financial success of dozens, hundreds, and ultimately thousands of people.
How to find your own Enormity
You already know what it is that you enjoy doing, so just sit down and right it out, just like I did in this blog post. Don’t study it, or analyze it, or try to figure it out. Just write.
When you have a list of 6 to 12 habits or personality traits that have been part of your life over the long-term, then you simply check your present lifestyle and/or your desired future lifestyle against that list.
If your life and your planned future are in alignment with your list, then you are probably lined up for long-term happiness. If your lifestyle and your list are on two different planes of existence, however, now might be a good time to ask yourself why the life you are leading or planning is such a far cry from what you actually enjoy doing…