Finding Your Purpose: Five Surprising Questions to Ask

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Having quit yet another engineering job after too many hours sitting behind the computer, I was ready for a change. So ready that I was willing to follow the advice of my good friend, Emily. She had gushed about how she and her husband found the career assessments at CU to be incredibly valuable. I didn’t really understand how they could be, but I was desperate enough to get help. (Isn’t desperation what it usually takes to ask for help?)

So, at age 55, I participated in a Career Counseling Assessment Series through the University of Colorado in Boulder. We did a ton of assessments and exercises and each was helpful. With each class, I felt layers of confusion melting away as I was beginning to recognize the true me.

The last class was called Career in Translation, led by Kevin Glavin. As part of the class, we interviewed a classmate using the following five questions. I was reminded of writing poems about pollution at age 10, the Jane Goodall book by my bedside and that my forays into engineering began with a quest to work on solar energy. It was this experience that cemented in my mind, that at my core, I’m an eco-nut. Always have been. Always will be.

What are you? What’s your purpose?

Find a friend to ask you these questions or write your answers. (Just thinking them through probably isn’t going to do it.) If you find a friend to work with, you can ask each other.

  1. Who did you admire when you were growing up? Tell me about her or him.
  2. Do you read any magazines or watch any television shows regularly? Which ones? What do you like about these?
  3. What is your favorite book or movie? Tell me the story. (What books are on your bedside now?)
  4. Tell me your favorite saying or motto, and explain how it resonates with you.
  5. What are your earliest recollections? Tell me three stories about things you recall happening to you when you were three to six years old.

When our class did this, the teacher demonstrated with one student first. It was amazing to hear her tell the plot of the Wizard of Oz, through her frame of reference. It was a COMPLETELY different story than I would have told, but it aligned with her memories, hopes and dreams.

If you try this exercise, please write here if you discovered anything about yourself or your partner.

Happy interrogating, er, interviewing! 🙂

I encourage you to contact your alma mater or community resources and find out if there’s a career counseling program you can enroll in. You’re never too old to find the true you!

 

Joan Gregerson is a Wellness Coach, Writer and Eco-Nut! She is the author of Tuning In to Inner Peace: The Surprisingly Fun Way to Transform Your Life and the upcoming books Eco-Nut and One World Wellness. Visit www.PositiveEnergyWorks.com for more info.

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