Know your life purpose in 5 minutes?

I recently watched a TED Talk titled “Know your life purpose in 5 minutes.” The speaker claims that it’s possible to figure out your “life purpose” by asking yourself 5 questions:

  1. Who are you?
  2. What do you do?
  3. Who do you do it for?
  4. What do they want and/or need?
  5. How do they change as a result?

For me, the answers are:

  1. I’m Anne.
  2. I’m an business analyst in information management.
  3. I work for the province.
  4. They want to be able to find, access, and share their information efficiently.
  5. They have a better understanding of how to manage their information and are working towards better findability, accessibility and collaboration.

It’s a job, but this definitely isn’t my purpose in life.

As the speaker notes, this isn’t a perfect system. What you get paid do to doesn’t necessarily define you (this is especially true for people who aren’t privileged with being able to choose their jobs and/or career path because of barriers like poverty, lerning disabilities, etc.).

I am privileged in the sense that I have a good education and a job that allows some freedom with regards to the type of projects I work on and the type of career path I eventually take.

But, this isn’t my life purpose. It has loose connections (being able to help and teach people), but my job is mostly just a paycheck.

All that said, while this exercise may not have helped me find my life purpose (because my job does not define me) it does help me to find a better way to market myself: I teach people how to work towards better information access, I help improve efficiency and I help find solutions for faster service to citizens.

It also made me think about what’s missing and what I might like to do when I grow up. I think the biggest missing piece for me passion. The concept of information management and why it’s important both in the corporate world and in our personal lives does interest me, but I don’t feel passionate about it right now. I’m not sure if that’s because I’m losing interest in it (I’ve gotten about as much as I can out of the position after being buried in it for a few years) or just because it’s a really frustrating job when you’re surrounded by red tape and a lack of resources.

Whatever the case may be, the 5 questions are interesting and have reminded me that I really need to decide what I’m going to do: stay the course and find a way to re-ignite passion, or move on to other things?



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