This blog post is Part 10 in a 14-part blog series on discovering and living your mission. (If you missed the previous posts, you can find Part 1 here.) In these next few posts, we will walk through some exercises designed to help you develop your expertise. In other words, what is the “how” that will help you live out your mission on a day-to-day basis?
This first blog post isn’t about a specific activity per se, but rather an encouragement to get in the habit of exploring and experimenting. Some people struggle to discover and live out their mission because they haven’t given themselves enough time to explore and experiment. They don’t know what their “how” is, because they haven’t tried enough things to have a good sense of who they are and what they are good at.
I see this in young people all the time. College students stress out because they don’t know what to major in, even if it’s their freshman or sophomore year of school. You shouldn’t know exactly what you want to do yet! College is a time for exploring and experimenting. Not sure whether you like biology, art, or accounting? Take a class and see. If you haven’t done much exploring, you don’t know yet.
Older people struggle with this issue as well. Maybe you got locked into a major or career early on in life, but you don’t feel like it is a good fit for you. But it’s scary to leave, because you aren’t sure what a better fit would be. The first step is to explore and experiment. Don’t leave your day job yet, but try something else on the side. Keep exploring until you find something that is a better fit.
Here are 3 ideas for how to explore and experiment:
Read a book. If there is a certain profession or job that you think you might be interested in, read a book on the subject. Spend some time learning about the career path, and see if it sustains your interest over time.
Take a class. One great way to explore a new field is to take a class. See if you can find an introductory class at the local community college. Sometimes you can even audit a class for free. Take the class and see if it might be something you want to explore further.
Interview someone. Try to find someone doing the job you are interested in, and see if you could interview or shadow that person. Get a sense of what it would be like to have that career. Ask about the day-to-day activities of the job, and what skills are needed.
When it comes to developing an expertise and living out your mission, there are so many ways to do it. The options are endless. But too often we decide on a direction prematurely, and don’t think about other options. If your job or career doesn’t feel right, take some of your free time to explore and experiment with other options. This doesn’t have to be a huge commitment. Just set aside some of your free time to explore one option at a time. If the first thing you try doesn’t feel like a fit, you can move on to something else. But you may find something that could lead you toward your mission and expertise.