Finding Your Path to Purpose Through Fear
I was never that person who knew exactly what I wanted to do in life. I had friends who knew from an early age that they wanted to be a teacher, a nurse, a dentist, or a social worker. That was never me. My ideas of what I wanted to be were always changing because I enjoyed doing many things. I remember wanting to be a marine biologist because I loved dolphins, I wanted to be a veterinarian because I loved animals, and I wanted to be a kindergarten teacher because I enjoyed teaching little kids.
I never had a fulfilling certainty of what I was meant to do which never settled right for me. I knew that I wanted to do something that really made a difference in my life and the lives of others but what that was, was far from clear to me.
I changed areas of focus a handful of times throughout university. Unlike others in my classes, I didn’t have tunnel vision on my field of studies or my career path for after graduating.
I tried out different subjects that interested me but nothing stuck. I ended up moving across the country to be closer to home and decided to enroll in a hospitality and tourism program at a much smaller school. Travel was something that I always yearned for but never thought that it was possible for a broke college student like myself. I hadn’t really traveled outside of the country before and definitely not by myself. I was nervous and terrified to just think about traveling to a foreign country alone.
Graduation was approaching and I felt an immense amount of pressure to have a plan for afterward. Although I was going to graduate with a degree in an industry that I was interested in, I was still frustrated that I didn’t know what my exact passions and purpose were.
I knew that I needed to do something drastic if I was going to find what I was meant to do. I knew that traveling was going to challenge me. I knew that I was going to be forced to find my way, solve problems, and learn new skills.
Travel was also going to open my eyes to new places that I never knew existed and introduce me to people I never thought I’d meet.
It seemed to me that traveling was just what I needed to help me find the answers in life that I was looking for, in one way or another. I managed to save enough money after working up to five jobs in my last few years of college and the summer after graduating, I packed a bag and set off to find myself and what I wanted out of life.
My decade’s on and off journey of travel the globe to over 80 countries is the primary factor that led me to find my purpose. I knew that I would be challenged but I didn’t know just how much travel would transform my life. I used my time traveling to fill the voids in my life. I enriched my life with new people, places, experiences, and knowledge. I learned as much about the travel industry, the power of travel on the human being, and the problems and voids in the industry.
Just like in university, I struggled for quite some time trying to figure out what my path and purpose was still. I knew a lot about the travel industry and what traveling did for people but my heart didn’t align with the careers that others had. I believed that my personal experiences were valuable, my perspective was unique, and that I wanted to make a lasting impact in an industry that I was so passionate about. I put all of the pieces together in what I wanted out of life and a career and created my own path as a travel coach.
What I recognize now is that you are not supposed to know what your purpose in life is at the age of 22. You need to have experiences that shape who you are and your perspective on the world.
You need to be challenged, solve problems, build meaningful relationships, open your eyes to new places and your heart to new cultures and ways of life. You need to try different things, see what you enjoy, learn what you care about and what you don’t, and have experiences that transform your mind, body, and soul in some way.
Taking risks or stepping out of your comfort zone can be scary but, you’ll never open yourself to a genuine opportunity to find what you are meant to do. Weigh the pros and cons of not following your heart and taking action to create your own path. It's one thing to have ideas and dreams and it's another to put those into motion. Consider what good for your personal and professional wellbeing can come from making definitive decisions for your future. Will you be happy if you just settle or keep stalling or will you feel fulfilled by following your intuition and making your goals a reality?
Align your passions and what you know most with your future path.
Many people do what they think they should do or what seems easiest but that path isn't always the most fulfilling one.
Instead, use your personal experiences and passions in life and create a career path out of them. Find mentors or coaches to learn from, dive deep into research, establish a game plan, get in the right mindset, and own what impact you want to make in this world.
Listen to your inner self and what will make you happy, not what society or anyone else expects or wants of you. Many people tend to make excuses for staying in their comfort zone and following a path that already established.
Some of the most successful innovators broke outside of the "norm" and tuned into their inner self to figure out what truly mattered in life most to them and what problems they saw solutions to. Find what aligns with your values and vision, think about what problems or voids you noticed, and tap into what you care about because you need to love what you do and lead with passion.
If you are finishing college or you feel like you are living a life that is in misalignment with your values, heart, passions, and purpose, make a change.
Believe that everything that has happened in your life up to this point for a reason. You were meant to face your struggles, hardships, and frustrations in order to feed your motivation to take action and find a more meaningful path in life.
Use everything that you have experienced in life as learning lessons that will bring clarity and structure to your new mission. Find something that forces you out of your comfort zone and makes you uncomfortable. It’s times of discomfort that often open doors to revelation.
Everyone has a purpose in life, it’s up to you to find it.
About the Author
Sahara Rose De Vore is an Intuitive Wellness Travel Coach and the founder of The Travel Coach Network. Through her Thrive Through Travel Initiative, she helps companies improve their corporate wellness and business travel programs while also helping passionate travelers find their own path in the travel industry.
Sahara spent a decade traveling the globe to over 80 countries before publishing her travel and mindset book “Hey You, Just Go!”. She was a 2019 nominee for career-changing women in the travel industry organization WINit for rising female leader, best female coach, and best innovative trailblazer.