“Sometimes, when you lose your way, you find yourself.”

It’s funny the way life works, I always thought that life was in some way a conveyer belt and we are the products and like any product, you go through a life cycle. Now as many of you may know a product starts with the introduction and then embarks on a journey to growth, maturity and eventually decline. We spend a long time in the introduction part of the cycle, branding and promoting ourselves to fit today’s marketing needs. I graduated high school with A levels in Physics, Chemistry and Biology and ended up doing a degree in Marketing and Management in university. It was alright; I thought to myself, I’m still in the process of finding myself. It wasn’t until my 3rd year in college that I realized that this is not what I wanted to do. I did not have the same passion and drive my friends seemed to have in what I was studying. I went through a stage of depression. Maybe I was just lazy, maybe I’m just the kind of person that gets easily bored. How was I supposed to make something out of myself when I didn’t even know who I was as a person? I read a post once from a blogger. She wrote: “When I take time for myself, I always feel guilty. There is so much suffering in the world; I should be ashamed of myself, thinking these thoughts! But then I remember: I matter. My trivial issues matter, they matter because they affect how I behave in the world.”With that thought in mind, I jumped to the first opportunity I could get, I traveled on a volunteer program to teach underprivileged children in a rural village in China, it was a challenge, it was unlike anything I have ever done before, but in the midst of it all, I found myself.

With that said, here are the 5 steps I believe everyone should go through to find your purpose in life

1- Be honest with yourself

Look deep within yourself and find that one thing that catches your interest. Look back to the times when you talk with people, what subject matter can you find yourself talking about for hours? Be honest with yourself, you will find that one thing soon enough.

2- Lend some of your time and do some volunteer work.

Remember, the volunteer work that you should be doing must be connected with the one thing that you were able to pinpoint in step one. Just do the work without any expectation of being compensated or being given the credit

3- Get away from your comfort zone.

This is a very pivotal step, as human beings we are easily influenced by what is around us being peoples’ opinions of a specific matter to trying to do something that is “accepted and not looked down upon”. The best way around this is to do that volunteer work abroad; we do have very helpful youth organizations that can help you with those arrangements. Use those tools! It’s very important to surround yourself in an environment where you actually have to THINK for your own

4- Pinpoint your primary talent.

Some people say that they are good at everything, which isn’t true at all. You can be absolutely excellent at one thing and just average at everything else. So what are you wonderful at? What is that skill that compels people to come up to you and say “wow, you really have a skill for that!”

5- Act on it.

Your family and friends may discourage you. Now they do this because they think they’re protecting you, when in fact, they are just protecting themselves. Simply forgive them, forgive their negativity, their discouragement and their frustration. Reach out to mentors that are in the same industry you are targeting. Act on it!

Remember, finding yourself isn’t about attending classes or working on a thesis. It’s about exploration; it’s an adventure that you can take only if you are willing to. I found myself through teaching. I finally found my true calling and it wasn’t an easy ride. There were many bumps and obstacles along the way but at least some purpose came out of it. It was a major 360 degrees turn career wise but I am happy to say that I now wake up with a smile on my face every day I go to work. How many people can really say that about their jobs? Let me end this with one of my favorite quotes:

“I think you travel to search and you come back home to find yourself there”.

That said, happy searching!

La’ale Kamal

A passionate traveler, an aspiring teacher, and an opportunist. Her aim in life is simple: tick off things on her bucket list one journey at a time. A frequent question she asks herself is “Where to next?” There are always new things to see, people to meet and children to teach. She is not the same, having seen the sun shine on the other side of the world.

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