Your personal legend is the reason why you were given a set of special skills, strengths, and even weaknesses. You are wired to do that special something that only you can offer into this world. I believe that a person’s purpose is predetermined, but you are usually given more than one skill so that you can still have the freedom to choose how you will do it. These extra skills and talents aren’t always helpful, though. They add some seemingly right answers to the multiple-choice question, “What is my life’s purpose?”
Here are some of the signs that you’re on the right track:
1. It’s one of the reasons why you wake up in the morning.
Lots of people are dedicated to their jobs, though only a handful actually enjoy doing them. Dedication to something because of the benefits, fame, compensation, and stability is a misnomer. It’ not dedication. It’s a gamble. You’re gambling away your soul, happiness, fulfillment, and sanity trying to run after these things that you can also achieve by doing you life’s purpose. You just have to be patient and know what it is.
If you’ll do something for stability, would it really hurt if you can do it for joy, too? Let’s work for something that’ll keep you a bit longer in the evenings trying to plan for your next move. Let’s work for something that we can happily wake up for in the mornings. Let’s find something that’ll make our hearts flutter and our eyes water just thinking about how it would feel to actually make it.
2. You rarely or never experience burnout.
Burnout happens when you’re giving way too much of yourself to something. Journey towards your personal legend is also a journey to discovering your authentic self and this is why it would rarely leave you feeling drained. If you’re fulfilling your life’s purpose, it shouldn’t feel like you’re giving yourself away. Instead, you’ll be filling yourself with hope and wonderment. It should feel like you’re finding pieces of yourself through every challenge you face and every person that you meet.
3. You’d do it for free.
I know that this isn’t practical, but let’s say that you don’t have to work for money anymore. Would you still do your job for free? This is difficult to think of, especially when you’re still starting. But that’s what day jobs are for.
It is, of course, important to take care of yourself and to keep yourself from being in a precarious situation. It’s better to be a bit frugal while you’re still figuring out your purpose for a few years than to dive headfirst to a secure job and realize after 10 or 20 years that you’re in the wrong track and therefore wants to start from scratch again.
4. You can visualize yourself doing it for the rest of your life.
Choosing a career is very much like choosing a life partner. Do you get filled with joy and hope just by visualizing your future? Do you see you wrinkled and kyphotic self still doing or succeeding in your job? If the answers to these questions is yes, then put a ring on it and do your best to keep the fire burning. If, however, you feel suffocated just by thinking about it, then it’s about time to take her to the ice cream store and have a clean break.
5. You’re okay with ‘the catch.’
Every job comes with a catch. Now, you might overlook this when you have just freshly graduated with a twinkle in your eye. You’ll never know it unless you get your feet wet or rather trapped in a neck-high flood of your workload. ‘The catch’ can be in the form of rants from patients, delayed salary, incessant whining from your boss, or years of not being published. Every job has it. It’s just inevitable, but if you’re okay with the catch that comes with your job, then you’re probably on the right track.
6. It makes perfect sense.
You probably already have had a couple of jobs that just felt…wrong. You know it’s quite childish, but sometimes, the office is too far, the shifts aren’t right, your coworkers are boring, the salary is okay, but society doesn’t really benefit from it. The list goes on, and you feel ashamed because everyone is telling you to just suck it up and do your job. You try to do that, but you know in your gut that something is just wrong. Sometimes, you got to trust your intuition. When you’re on the right track, everything just sort of falls into place. The Japanese call this Ikigai. It’s the sweet spot where your passions, talents, financial stability, and world needs meet.
7. Your challenges will feel like stepping stones, not hindrances.
“When you want something with all your heart, the universe conspires for you to achieve it.” – Paolo Coelho
This is true, but the universe will also not give your something that it hasn’t prepared you for. You’ll meet challenges along the way, but these things should help you to become closer to your dream job. In short, it gives you a lesson on how you can improve yourself. If it doesn’t, it’s not a challenge. It’s a blinker to keep you from going through the wrong track.
8. You hear it from other people.
Have you ever met someone who you haven’t seen in a while and when you say what your current job is, you’ll hear them say, “I knew even then that you’d become a lawyer. You’re brave and articulate,” or “You know you have the aura of a teacher even when we were in high school.”
These ‘guesses’ aren’t always accidental. Since you’ve always been wired to do something, other people pick it up, too. They’re not always right but consider what they say to you. Don’t just throw it out of the window. After all, their judgement isn’t clouded with the other choices since they probably don’t know about your other skills. They only notice what stands out.