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How Finding Your Purpose Changes the World — Bright Space Coaching | Leadership Development for Women in STEM

(Last Updated On: May 16, 2021)

Last Updated on May 16, 2021 by Admin

In the Ikigai, one of the questions to ask yourself to find your purpose is, “what can you be paid for?” Your purpose is meant to sustain you and contribute to the world.

In many cases, you can think of your ikigai as a career path where you earn money by serving customers or providing a service to those in need. In others, your ikigai may be a business you start that creates jobs for people in your community or around the world, which allows you to serve others in a bigger way.  

No matter which path you take, your ikigai allows you to contribute to the economy. You’re earning money for living your purpose and spending money in return. 

Living your purpose also helps close the gender pay gap. Currently women are making 82 cents for every dollar a man earns (Black and Latinx women make much less). By living your purpose and earning an income, you’re contributing to closing the gap.

Women are powerful drivers of the world’s economies, and we can work together to demand the salaries we deserve. When we earn what we deserve, we can lift up those who earn less.

What could be better than doing what you love, helping others, and getting paid for it?


Related: How to Get Paid What You Deserve (Part 1)


Your Purpose Demands Justice

Along the lines of closing the gender pay gap, finding and living your purpose allows you to improve justice, equity, diversity and inclusion around the world.

One of the other questions in the Ikigai is, “what does the world need?” This is one thing that differentiates a job from your purpose. You’ve probably had many jobs over your career, but how many of them allowed you to live your purpose?

The world needs a lot right now. Many women, especially in war-torn countries, are living off less than $1 per day. Hundreds of thousands of people are still dying from the Coronavirus. Black and brown people continue to be oppressed through overt and unconscious bias. Children have been separated from their families at the U.S. border.  

Not to mention environmental issues that affect us all, including global warming, plastic and air pollution, loss of biodiversity, and deforestation. There are a lot of problems to be solved. By finding and living your purpose, you can solve them.

You are not your circumstances. Things may be harder for some people than others; that’s today’s reality. But it doesn’t have to be tomorrow’s.  

There are people alive right now whose purpose it is to demolish oppressive systems and fight for equity and justice. At the same time, we can all do our part to make the world a more equitable place. We can create and lead businesses with inclusive practices and policies. We can pay our women and employees of color a salary on par with our white male employees. We can step up to mentor women of color in our workplaces or business masterminds or community groups. We can speak out against inequality and take a stand for antiracism. We can boldly live our purpose in a way that makes room for others to step up and do the same. 

Yes, people are suffering today. There may continue to be suffering in this lifetime. But if you can make life easier for just one person, you’ve made a difference. Wouldn’t you want to try? You will never know the true impact you’ve had on one person’s circumstances.

And if you’re someone who is suffering or struggling with oppression, know that a shift is happening. The world is awakening. It may be too little too late, it may still take time. But we are healing the collective with eyes wide open.


Your Purpose Helps You Serve Others in a Bigger Way

The last two questions to ask yourself when seeking to find your purpose are, “what do you love to do?” and “what are you good at?” When you love what you do and you’re good at it, you can serve others in a bigger way. 

These are your strengths and passions. There’s so much power in contributing to the world by using your strengths every day. Research shows that people who use their strengths every day at work are more productive, more engaged, and more satisfied in their work.

And just because you’re good at something doesn’t mean you actually enjoy it, which is why the combination of strengths and passions is so important to living your purpose. When you enjoy what you do each day, you’re more likely to be self-motivated, overcome challenges and look forward to what each day brings.

After all, that’s the entire concept of the ikigai – waking up to joy.

Imagine the impacts you can make when you lead from a place of passion and strength! When you’re motivated by your passions, you can bounce back from mistakes more quickly. You have a vision you’re working toward, and that vision helps you think creatively to solve problems.

This helps you serve others in a bigger way. You’re not doing your work because you have to or because you feel obligated or because someone is paying you to do it. You’re getting your work done, helping others and solving problems because it’s what gets you out of bed in the morning. And that makes all the difference when you’re serving others.

One question I’m asked often about finding your purpose is: “I’m not a leader. How can I find my purpose? How can I help others?” 

A leader is someone who boldly lives their purpose in pursuit of making an impact and serving others. You don’t need to be the CEO of a company to do that. 

And remember: everyone has an ikigai. It’s not a matter of being a leader, especially in the traditional sense. I believe you can lead from anywhere, and living your purpose makes you a leader. You don’t need people reporting to you or to be in charge of million-dollar projects. You’re a leader if you’re contributing to the betterment of society.


Your Purpose Helps You Connect to Something Bigger Than Yourself

Research shows that having a connection to something bigger than ourselves, a religious belief or spiritual side to our lives makes us happier and healthier.

If you feel connected to something larger than yourself, you’re driven by the very highest level of achievement, whether that means God, the Universe, spirituality, or your core values, rather than external validation or tangible metrics.

Living your purpose helps you connect to something bigger than yourself because you know that how you spend your time and what you contribute to society has a deeper meaning than simply a job you go to each day. 

Psychiatrist and Holocaust survivor Dr. Viktor Frankl once wrote, “He who has a why can bear any how.”

When you’re connected to something bigger than yourself, you build resilience. You may not see the path ahead clearly. You may encounter obstacles or roadblocks. But when you’re driven by your purpose, those roadblocks don’t seem as daunting. In fact, you trust that you can easily overcome anything in your way.


Related: How Core Values Help You Find Your Purpose


Your Purpose Creates a Ripple Effect

Finally, finding and living your purpose creates a ripple effect. When you’re waking up to joy each day, contributing to the economy, and serving those who need your support, you’re living your purpose. And when you live your purpose, you give others permission to do the same.

Returning to the concept of Ikigai, one of the philosophies is that our physical wellbeing is affected by our mental and emotional health and our sense of purpose. When we are in a greater state of wellbeing, it impacts those around us. Many studies show how we can improve our own wellbeing simply by spending more time with those who prioritize their wellbeing.

And because your purpose contributes to the good of others, it goes beyond your immediate family to create a ripple effect around the world. Consider this scenario:

A young girl watches as her parents, both doctors, help people in the community heal from illness and injury. She dreams of helping others in the same way, and when she becomes a doctor herself, she joins the family practice.

One day, another young girl visits the practice with a high fever and strange symptoms. Through testing and trial and error, the girl is healed of her illness. Her parents told her the doctor saved her life. She becomes fascinated with science and how different medicines work to heal different infections, and she devotes herself to research.

A few years later, the scientist visits a remote village to bring a new water filtration system to the community. This invention improves the health of the people in the community and provides a means to grow bigger crops.

A woman in the community learns to start her own farm, growing crops and selling them in the market. Soon, she has more crops than she can handle herself, so she is able to hire other women from the village to work in the farm.

One of the women working in the farm is grateful to have a job to support her four children. After her husband died, she worried she would not be able to take care of them. With the income she earns, she is able to send her children to school to get a good education. 

With their education, her children learn vocabulary and math and read novels. Soon, they are able to go to University and pursue their dreams. All because one girl decided to become a doctor.

That’s the power of the ripple effect. You’ll never know the true impact you have in the world, because most of the time, we’re limited to witnessing the smaller and more local impacts on our family, clients, or coworkers.

Imagine the possibilities that extend from helping just one person. That person goes on to help one more person and so on. You will never meet every person you’ve impacted, and each person will be impacted in a different way.

If you’re a relationship coach, you might help one person overcome their fear and sign up for a dating app. That person might meet the partner of their dreams and tell someone else about the app. The other person might decide to create their own dating app and help even more people find love. Who knows?

These stories may be fictional (they may be real – we’ll never know!), but I love how they illustrate the ripple effect that comes from living your purpose. That’s what I mean when I say if every woman lived her purpose, every need in the world would be met.


The Takeaway

Your purpose is at the intersection of what you love, what you’re good at, what you can be paid for, and what the world needs. You may never know the true impact you have by living your purpose, but you can commit to being part of something bigger than yourself and creating a ripple effect that changes the world.

Take action now: Sign up for the free masterclass, Thrive Beyond the 9-5, where you’ll learn how to turn your strengths and passions into a thriving business. You’ll learn how to leverage your strengths, skills, and career experience to start a business that aligns with who you are, so you can get paid for what you already know – at double (or triple!) your current rates. Click here to sign up for instant access to the free training!

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