The other day a doctor I was working with said to me:
“Many people don’t know what their purpose is, so they make their work their purpose.”
This stuck with me.
I thought anyone’s purpose would be embedded within their work because, at least for those of us who are privileged enough, they will choose to enter a profession that brings them the utmost joy and value. Becoming a surgeon has been my ‘purpose’ for over a decade, and that’s because I believe that this profession will enable me to build on my strongly held values, such as service and compassion.
However, when a doctor said that to me, I was forced to stop and reflect. If work isn’t my purpose, then what is? How do I find it?
The doctor was talking about how we, as students, should not take academics as seriously as we do being premeds and even as we grow older. This is because he believes that work should never engulf one’s entire life.
I agree with this wholeheartedly, however, I have a slight problem. I can’t even envision myself as having any other purpose. I don’t want my purpose to be limited to family, friends, or any one sector of my life. I want it to be more, and being a medical professional fulfils that desire for me.
Because I was so deep in confusion over what my purpose would be if I can’t rely on my future profession, I googled how we can find out our purposes.
According to Richard Leider, who is “a nationally-ranked coach and purpose expert…the equation for purpose is G + P + V = P.” (gifts + passions + values = purpose)
Let’s break this up.
I’m not sure what my gifts are yet, but I’m sure I’ll discover them as I progress further.
My passions are deeply rooted in service, specifically in helping & advocating for children and mental health rights. I am also passionate about the performing arts. As a dancer and someone who grew up watching way too many Telugu/Hindi movies, I believe the performing arts has the ability to change one’s perspective on various occurrences within our world.
This one is tough to reflect on as I have never actually sat down and thought about them.
Using the list from this website, I would say that these are my current values that I hold very dear to me:
Combining all three of these aspects, I would ideally find my purpose. However, we know that discovering what we truly want in life is not as simple as cracking down on an equation. I feel like our purpose can only be found by either experiencing a lot in life or by having a life-changing experience.
And maybe we don’t need to settle with having just one purpose. Maybe we’ll have more than one purpose and that’s okay. Maybe we won’t discover our purpose(s) until we take our final breaths and that’s okay too. And maybe one’s profession does become their purpose, while for others it’s just something that they’re passionate about but it’s not their true calling. It’s our life and we get to shape it in whatever we want to.