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I promise, it really is possible to discover your life's purpose

How To Discover Your Life’s Purpose

If you ask people if they know what their life’s purpose is, you're likely to only receive answers from a few. It's common to feel dissatisfied with life and to believe that your life lacks purpose and meaning. But I promise, it really is possible to discover your life’s purpose.

In this article, I provide 3 steps you can take to discover your life’s purpose. If you would like help working through these steps, please contact me.

What is Purpose?

The Macquarie Dictionary defines purpose as:

“the object for which anything exists or is done, made, used, etc.”

I believe this definition applies just as much to human beings as it does to objects.

Why go to the trouble of Discovering Your Purpose?

I firmly believe that If you discover your purpose, you will discover the thing you are made to do. If you live out your purpose, You will enjoy the life you were created to live, and be your happiest and most fulfilled.

How To Discover Your Purpose

I believe that there are three steps that you need to take to discover your purpose. They are:

  1. Examine your present
  2. Examine your past, and
  3. Examine your passions or dreams

Examining Your Present

Examining your present is vital because it shows you where you are, much like the “You Are Here” arrow on a map. Like navigating with a map or GPS, you need to know where you are before you can decipher how to get where you want to go.

Wen examining your present:

  • reflect on as many areas of your life as possible, such as career, relationships, environment, hobbies and interests, values, faith, and finances
  • pay particular attention to what is working for you right now and what isn’t
  • consider why each thing or area of life is or is not working, and what you would like to change.

Examining your past

If you look at your past from the outside, through the eyes of a keen observer, you will notice patterns of thought, reactions to various situations, likes, dislikes, and preferences. If you examine your past with a reflective, questioning mind, you will begin to see the “why” behind some of these patterns, which will point you towards your purpose.

When examining your past:

  • reflect on as many areas of your life as possible (see above for examples)
  • pay particular attention to what worked for you and what didn’t
  • consider why each thing or area of life did or didn’t work, and what you would have liked to change.

Examining Your Passions and Dreams

Your passions can give you insight into what your purpose might be, and your dreams can give you clues about how you might like to live out your purpose.

When examining your passions and dreams, reflect upon questions such as:

  • what do you cry about, or what breaks your heart?
  • what, if you did it every day, would cause you to wake up with excitement and enthusiasm?
  • what makes you want to jump for joy, even just thinking about it?
  • what have you always wanted to do or be?

If you need help working through these steps, please contact me.

In this blog post, I will describe what happened to me when my agency was suddenly downsized, and will offer some tips on how to take the catastrophe out of redundancy. When the Commonwealth Public Service job cuts started in late 2013, I used to laugh when people would ask me if I was worried about redundancy. “of course not,” I would say, “the government will always need legislative drafters. And besides, I’m blind, a woman., and a union delegate. They wouldn’t dare!” I couldn’t have been more wrong. One day, we were all called into a meeting and were told that our agency was going to cut the number of legislative drafters by half. We would all be interviewed for our current jobs, and those who were ranked in the top 50 % would keep their employment. The rest would be offered voluntary redundancies. After the meeting, I shut myself in my office and just sat there for half an hour, sipping water. I couldn’t think, and all my bravado had disappeared. Then the questions flooded in – why should I have to apply for a job that I already applied for and won? What happens if I’m not in the top 50 %? Should I take a package, or take my chances trying to find a job during the redeployment period? What happens if I can’t find a job? How will I pay the mortgage? Know That Your redundancy is not the catastrophe it feels like If you have just found out that you may be made redundant, I promise you you’ll get through it. I’m living proof! It may feel like the roof is falling in, but it’s just creaking ominously overhead, and you’ll be OK. When Applying For Jobs Give It Your All A couple of weeks after the announcement, I had to reapply for my job. I really struggled with the injustice of this, as I had applied for and won my job on merit 7 years before, and felt that I had gained 7 years of valuable experience, and was really quite good at my job. I fell into the trap of feeling that I didn’t really need to justify my case for keeping my job. When I had applied for, and won, jobs in the past, I had always approached the application and interview processes with the attitude that “this job is mine, and if I don’t get it, it’s my fault for not making the panel understand that I am the best person for this job” Unfortunately I wasn’t able to write my application with this attitude. The interview was even worse, and by the end, I almost felt like getting down on my knees and begging to stay. I hadn’t put my whole heart into the process, and this is one of the reasons why I was not successful in keeping my job. So, if you have to go through a “spill and fill” process as I did, or you decide to apply for another job, apply for it as if your life depended on it. Build up your belief in yourself, and convince yourself, and the panel, that you are the only one who can do this job. Give it your whole heart! Join Your Union I can’t tell you how grateful I was for the support of the CPSU. From the time I found out I had to reapply for my job until my last day at work, they were in almost daily contact with me, keeping me updated, and just seeing how I was. They also advised me on the interpretation of my Workplace Agreement, which was extremely helpful. The good thing is, even if you hadn’t been a union member like I had, you can always join as soon as you find out that things aren’t going as expected, and you will get help and support from day one of your membership. Consider All Your Options As I had not been successful in keeping my Job, I had to decide whether to take a voluntary redundancy, or stay on the redeployment list for up to 3 months until a job was found for me. Both options terrified me. I’d I’d specialised and was afraid I wouldn’t be able to go back to general law work, and there was a job freeze on at the time, so new jobs were few and far between. I was offered the opportunity to join a friend’s network marketing business, and this was the first time that I considered that perhaps I could do something outside of Government. With the help of a coach, I used an online tool called Career Storm Navigator, to assess my skills, strengths, values, style and goals, and consider what careers would suit me. It was only then that I realised just how many options I had. I am now licensed to guide others through this tool, so please contact me if this interests you. Seek Financial Advice This is extremely important, whether you are considering taking a voluntary redundancy or not. Make sure that you get advice from someone who is qualified in both tax and superannuation matters. There are agencies who are not linked with superannuation companies, but who can provide unbiased advice. I used Stateplus for my superannuation advice, and Lifestyle Advisers for my tax and other financial advice. Make A Budget I looked at my finances over the previous two years, and worked out what I could do without, for a substantial period of time, and what I couldn’t. By the end, I had worked out, down to the last cent, what I could sensibly live on. This will show you how long your savings will support you while you look for work, and will also give you a good idea of the minimum income you will need to earn. Find Good Coping Mechanisms The period between the day I found out that I had not been successful in keeping my job, and the day I accepted my voluntary redundancy were extremely hard. I was feeling all sorts of emotions ranging from depression and rejection to anger and loneliness, and the reactions of my colleagues towards me were equally varied. My employer had an Employee Assistance Program, and I was able to obtain free counselling from them, and was given some great coping strategies. So see if your employer has such a program, and get in touch with your Employee Assistance Program provider for help. Take Advantage Of Everything That Is available To You Look closely at the provisions of your Workplace Agreement as this will provide for any entitlements you may be eligible for when facing redundancy I was, for example, able to get reimbursed for the cost of obtaining financial advice, and my employer also paid for some short retraining courses that interested me. This May be An Opportunity For A fresh Start At the time, I felt that my redundancy was the worst thing that could ever happen to me. Now, looking back, it was the best thing that has ever happened to me. Why redundancy was the push I needed to follow my dreams and start my own business. What Next? If you are facing redundancy or job loss and don’t know what to do next, please just reach out to me.

How To Take The Catastrophe Out Of Redundancy

In this blog post, I will describe what happened to me when my agency was suddenly downsized, and will offer some tips on how to take the catastrophe out of redundancy.

When the Commonwealth Public Service job cuts started in late 2013, I used to laugh when people would ask me if I was worried about redundancy. “of course not,” I would say, “the government will always need legislative drafters. And besides, I’m blind, a woman., and a union delegate. They wouldn’t dare!” I couldn’t have been more wrong.

One day, we were all called into a meeting and were told that our agency was going to cut the number of legislative drafters by half. We would all be interviewed for our current jobs, and those who were ranked in the top 50 % would keep their employment. The rest would be offered voluntary redundancies.

After the meeting, I shut myself in my office and just sat there for half an hour, sipping water. I couldn’t think, and all my bravado had disappeared.

Then the questions flooded in – why should I have to apply for a job that I already applied for and won? What happens if I’m not in the top 50 %? Should I take a package, or take my chances trying to find a job during the redeployment period? What happens if I can’t find a job? How will I pay the mortgage?

Know That Your redundancy is not the catastrophe it feels like

If you have just found out that you may be made redundant, I promise you you’ll get through it. I’m living proof!

It may feel like the roof is falling in, but it’s just creaking ominously overhead, and you’ll be OK.

When Applying For Jobs Give It Your All

A couple of weeks after the announcement, I had to reapply for my job. I really struggled with the injustice of this, as I had applied for and won my job on merit 7 years before, and felt that I had gained 7 years of valuable experience, and was really quite good at my job. I fell into the trap of feeling that I didn’t really need to justify my case for keeping my job.

When I had applied for, and won, jobs in the past, I had always approached the application and interview processes with the attitude that “this job is mine, and if I don’t get it, it’s my fault for not making the panel understand that I am the best person for this job” Unfortunately I wasn’t able to write my application with this attitude. The interview was even worse, and by the end, I almost felt like getting down on my knees and begging to stay. I hadn’t put my whole heart into the process, and this is one of the reasons why I was not successful in keeping my job.

So, if you have to go through a “spill and fill” process as I did, or you decide to apply for another job, apply for it as if your life depended on it. Build up your belief in yourself, and convince yourself, and the panel, that you are the only one who can do this job. Give it your whole heart!

Join Your Union

I can’t tell you how grateful I was for the support of the CPSU. From the time I found out I had to reapply for my job until my last day at work, they were in almost daily contact with me, keeping me updated, and just seeing how I was. They also advised me on the interpretation of my Workplace Agreement, which was extremely helpful.

The good thing is, even if you hadn’t been a union member like I had, you can always join as soon as you find out that things aren’t going as expected, and you will get help and support from day one of your membership.

Consider All Your Options

As I had not been successful in keeping my Job, I had to decide whether to take a voluntary redundancy, or stay on the redeployment list for up to 3 months until a job was found for me. Both options terrified me. I’d I’d specialised and was afraid I wouldn’t be able to go back to general law work, and there was a job freeze on at the time, so new jobs were few and far between.

I was offered the opportunity to join a friend’s network marketing business, and this was the first time that I considered that perhaps I could do something outside of Government.

With the help of a coach, I used an online tool called Career Storm Navigator, to assess my skills, strengths, values, style and goals, and consider what careers would suit me. It was only then that I realised just how many options I had. I am now licensed to guide others through this tool, so please contact me if this interests you.

Seek Financial Advice

This is extremely important, whether you are considering taking a voluntary redundancy or not. Make sure that you get advice from someone who is qualified in both tax and superannuation matters. There are agencies who are not linked with superannuation companies, but who can provide unbiased advice. I used Stateplus for my superannuation advice, and Lifestyle Advisers for my tax and other financial advice.

Make A Budget

I looked at my finances over the previous two years, and worked out what I could do without, for a substantial period of time, and what I couldn’t. By the end, I had worked out, down to the last cent, what I could sensibly live on. This will show you how long your savings will support you while you look for work, and will also give you a good idea of the minimum income you will need to earn.

Find Good Coping Mechanisms

The period between the day I found out that I had not been successful in keeping my job, and the day I accepted my voluntary redundancy were extremely hard. I was feeling all sorts of emotions ranging from depression and rejection to anger and loneliness, and the reactions of my colleagues towards me were equally varied.

My employer had an Employee Assistance Program, and I was able to obtain free counselling from them, and was given some great coping strategies. So see if your employer has such a program, and get in touch with your Employee Assistance Program provider for help.

Take Advantage Of Everything That Is available To You

Look closely at the provisions of your Workplace Agreement as this will provide for any entitlements you may be eligible for when facing redundancy I was, for example, able to get reimbursed for the cost of obtaining financial advice, and my employer also paid for some short retraining courses that interested me.

This May be An Opportunity For A fresh Start

At the time, I felt that my redundancy was the worst thing that could ever happen to me. Now, looking back, it was the best thing that has ever happened to me. Why redundancy was the push I needed to follow my dreams and start my own business.

What Next?

If you are facing redundancy or job loss and don’t know what to do next, please just reach out to me.

My Aim Is To Add Value To You

Leadership Development with Amanda Heal

When I started this blog, my aim was to add value to my followers. It still is.

I have my own ideas about future topics for this post, such as:

  • A series on how to increase your influence at work;
  • A series of posts on how to communicate better with colleagues, clients and stakeholders; and
  • Possibly a post or two on how to find and follow your dreams.

But I would very much like your ideas.

What would you like me to write about, that would bring value to you inside and outside the workplace? My expertise are in the areas of leadership and personal growth, and public sector employment. Please let me know in the comments section or, if you prefer, contact me directly.

Facing Redundancy – Where To Go For Help

Moving from Corporate to Business

In my previous post, I started to tell you about what happened to me when I found out that I may be made redundant. In this post, I want to recommend to you the best sources of help and advice when facing redundancy, particularly if you want to keep your job.

Firstly, I would highly recommend that you join your union. they were an immense source of support and advice to me. Believe me, they won’t hold it against you if you join at this stage, and can be an excellent source of legal, financial, and other advice, including assisting you in interpreting the redundancy provisions of your workplace agreement.

Secondly, even if you’ve decided to take a package, it is essential to seek financial advice, preferably from a qualified financial adviser who is an expert in tax and superannuation. If your adviser is not an expert in superannuation, there are agencies who provide unbiased advice on superannuation, as they are not linked with any superannuation schemes. The agency that provided very good advice to me was StatePlus. Your employer may even pay for you to obtain this advice.

Thirdly, the Employee Assistance Program can also provide free counselling, which can help a great deal in coping with the emotional response to what is happening. This is confidential and free, and your employer doesn’t need to know where you are going, just that you have an EAP appointment. I had one of these sessions, and found it very beneficial.

Lastly, look closely at your workplace agreement, as there may be provisions referring to other assistance your employer will provide you with when facing redundancy, such as retraining, and career counselling. I was able to do a couple of online courses on technical writing, and starting a business, and also worked with a great career counsellor.

Finally, I recommend that you take up everything that is offered to you that you think may help you make a decision whether or not to take a package, or which will help you keep your current job or get another job in your chosen field. This is your chance, so make the most of it!

If I can help in any way, please let me know in the comments section or, if you prefer, contact me directly.

Editor’s Note: this blog post was updated on 15 July 2016 to add a reference and link to StatePlus.