How to Self-Discover Your Purpose (in Sabbatical)

5 decision making scenarios for finding your purpose and destiny

Image for post
Image for post

You may be entering a sabbatical because of wanting something else. Out of boredom. Or life interrupted with our world’s new normal. Or because you were laid off (or may soon be).

That’s how I started writing. I left a job, and entered a sabbatical.

In the unknown, you may not be sure what direction to take in your discovery.

That’s where a deliberate sabbatical is less prescriptive than an unintended, forced one (where your next step is most likely to find a job).

If your financial situation is favorable, you may not be immediately looking for your next job.

In an intended sabbatical, your mission is certain (to self-discover), but your next outcome is not.

So, then by default, a sabbatical can take you to unchartered internal spaces and external places in your life.

You can get rest and start to think clearly. You may have needed a life pause for a long time (or a sabbatical could be your first time).

Especially if you are coming from a busy, go-go-go schedule-filled lifestyle.

In a deliberate sabbatical, self-discovery and exploration guide your decisions. You can try a variety of new things, and your interests can change often.

You can pick up an interest as quickly as you lose other interests.

That’s healthy, helpful and expected. That’s how you learn what you like (and by default, what you don’t like).

As part of the journey, you can also be trying to figure out who you are. Inside yourself you can be terrified by the uncertainty. You may even be a bit disoriented. And if you’re being honest with yourself, a little lost (soul searching).

Your self-talk can be one with mixed messages to sort and sift through. Figuring out your attitudes and how you think can be part of your process.

You can look at your current sabbatical as a blank canvas. The not knowing of what’s next makes life fun and exciting.

You can be hitting reset and starting a new chapter… or even (what seems like) a radically new life.

A sabbatical can be a fresh beginning.

What takes you out of your sabbatical can be the same reason you entered: ennui boredom, listlessness, or finding your purpose.

Boredom vs. Purpose

In boredom, your goal can be to pass time. Boredom can breed productivity. You can become creative and come up with all kind of new adventurous ideas.

In purpose, your goal is somewhat defined. You’re expecting, and excited about entering a brand new day with ideas and activities. The day can fly by and you may look forward to the day ending and starting a new tomorrow in anticipation.

Purpose doesn’t have to be complicated. More simply, your active contribution can be purpose. You could be applying what you’ve learned or are learning instead of taking on a passive activity, such as reading.

You could be reading about a specific topic to gain knowledge to teach, encourage, serve or show up in some other way for human use or consumption.

Being mindful of what you’re doing could be (part of) your purpose. If your actions develop and last, then that can become (part of) your destiny.

Finding Your Individual Purpose

Finding your individual purpose can define your getting a sense of coming back to the world from (intended) sabbatical discovery.

Your purpose thrives in your being present (and not pre-occupied). Being in the NOW is where things work (not the future or the past). With your focused and be-all-in attitudes.

Your purpose can be paid work, volunteer, or a combination of the two. You could be on a work team mission, serving a greater world passion, or working towards meeting a personal goal.

Your now purpose could be or turn into your life purpose (destiny). A seemingly temporary assignment could lead you to the next purpose.

You just never know. But — destiny knows (your purpose destination).

Every small, walking in the dark step can lead you there.

What Purpose Feels Like

Your joyful waking moments can be consumed with working or doing something towards this purpose (that doesn’t feel like work).

One thing is certain. It’s fulfilling. And one day you look back and you see all that you’ve accomplished.

Maybe you dictate your own schedule now and that provides a sense of joy.

That cheerfully gets you up in the morning. You may not even need an alarm.

Your internal clock is like morning birds singing or flowers blooming.

Overall, inside you feel good and whole. Your purpose is helping your mental health.

You can gain a peaceful outlook for life and your contentment meter can be positively high.

You can see gratitude for what you have now, as your mind isn’t clouded with negative thoughts from a job you hate.

You can want to fulfill this purpose more than you want to go out, play and have fun. That’s saying a lot to your body taking in account your overall contentment and moods.

Your purpose is your current reason for loving your life or being.

With your new found purpose, even doing chores can be satisfying and not seen as mundane.

Activities in between are good gratitude and refreshing breaks.

Mindless chores give you a chance to reflect about your purpose from a close distance— what you did, what you will do and internally propagate new ideas to further your purpose.

Cleaning, vacuuming, or doing laundry can be relaxing.

You get to clean because you gratefully have four-sided walls that make up your sheltered home. You may even have a gratitude practice you take a moment or two to practice.

When you’re satisfied in the moment, you can appreciate the simplicity in your actions.

That allows internal space where you can even be exuberantly creative. You can use nostalgic memories to propel an idea. Getting wildly fresh ideas in your present and your future.

Your perspective can be to see life as a Gift. You don’t want to waste any more time. Doing meaningless work. Or sitting around in boredom.

You want that unique project that uses at least one or more of your gifts and unlimited talent.

In the process, you may even discover a hidden talent, when you’re in the right environment to unleash your gifts.

You’re doing what you love that serves others. You have freedom and choices. You don’t have to do things because your boss said so. Or do tasks that are draining you. You find another way.

There are desired challenges. You can be working hard, but really it doesn’t feel like work. It may just seem like work to others.

Because they’re not gifted to do this special purpose that could start as a project. You are.

If you’re 20, 30 or 50, and still haven’t found this purpose described above, then maybe this will encourage you. Or light a fire in you to go searching for your unique reason for being here— as it’s out there.

(It took me over 40 years to find my passion. It was there all along sitting on the sidelines, not ready to be fully used until just the ripe time. Looking for the right time to emerge.)

You may just need to take a sabbatical or find free time to deliberately explore. And maybe take some risks along the way.

Here are some different scenarios of where you are now, to help you assess your next move (that could take you to your purpose or destiny)…

Life’s Different Scenarios You Can Be In Now

You may not be ready for a sabbatical. Here are some scenarios to consider with where you are now.

1.Right place but wrong assignment for me. Explore the possibility of other departments within the company. Maybe your skills, gifts, and talents aren’t being put to the right use, but could be within the walls you exist.

You already know more about the company than an outsider. You may decide to go to a sabbatical if you don’t land the right opportunity.

2. Wrong place, but right role. Look for similar jobs outside your company with the same titles. You may have to look under the rocks. What does the world need that you can provide?

No one will fault you for looking if you’re not happy (or if you feel like your job is in jeopardy). Work schedules and conditions can make all the difference in the world.

Life’s too short to give to a place that can’t dedicate and return the sentiments. Gone are the (Xerox or IBM company) days where you dedicate your life to one company.

You know when it’s time to start exploring, when you get a silent nudge — that strange feeling in your gut like this isn’t a permanent spot for you (even though you may have once thought it would be).

You can be sure of one thing. Things are always changing.

That’s this life.

You get to take yourself home every night, your peace, and if you’re not happy, something else could be calling.

Refer/re-read above (again) if you still need encouragement to find your next calling or go on a sabbatical.

3.Right place for now. Stay put until you get clarity. The experience you are acquiring you may need in the future. At the very least, you will use the skills and new tools you learn.

Trust that nothing goes wasted. But every day you don’t do something, can be wasted.

4.In work limbo. If you just left a job, possibly build a side passion while looking for work. This will keep your mind and skills sharp. Taking too much time away from your work makes your knowledge harder to pickup.

And when potential employers ask what you’re doing, you can talk about your current passion. They can tell when words roll off your tongue because you’ve been actively practicing a skill.

Even if the skill has nothing to do with the organization you’re applying for, they may see a transferable trait that they’re looking for.

Such as your dedication or your ability to learn what is needed. This could make you stand out from the hundreds of other applying candidates.

5.Launching an entrepreneurial pursuit. This is great for those who like working for themselves. Not everyone does. Not everyone can thrive setting their own goals.

And sometimes feel like they’re on an island.

For an introvert, this could be a desired dream as there’s less pressure to do forced socializing or networking activities.

Once you find your immediate place (work or sabbatical), finding the right environment setting is important. This can help determine your success. If you’re not physically or mentally productive, any great pursuit can be killed before getting off the ground.

For work settings, you could either like remote working or you prefer an office to thrive (or combination). If you prefer working in a traditional team setting, then you probably want to seek a job. Either remote or bustling office environment may house your purpose.

When you’ve found the right place, you feel like the best part of the day is going to work and then coming home to start your personal life. Not feeling drained.

This is how your work-life-balance should feel. Maybe not at 20 or 30 when you’re exploring, but one day.

Keep your sights on this.

Along the way, through trial-and-error, and just doing something, a project you work on can turn to a passion. One day you look back and it’s your purpose. You can then congratulate yourself. For finding this long lost (or new found) companion.

That’s what happened to me in discovery after working at dozens of jobs, and writing 100 articles. Never give up and keep trying. Your purpose can happen for you at any time.

Written by

Inspired writer giving helpful advice for a happy and healthy life full of love, peace, joy, influence, and wisdom.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store