Explore Your Purpose
What are you going to stand for?
Where do I start?
Finding purpose is different for everybody. Take Clif’s founder—Gary. When Gary graduated from college, he didn’t set out to create a successful food brand. Instead, he explored many things and found his calling though the process. He made bike seats. He trekked through Yosemite. He played the trumpet. He baked and sold his Greek grandmother’s family recipes. It was on a 175 mile bike ride when he realized he could improve the quality of the bars he used on the long ride. And that became the start of Clif Bar & Company, a company whose success came not from selling out – but by staying true to their values.
Purpose doesn’t have to be scary or daunting. Everyone starts in a different place—you might need to spend some time reflecting on what matters to you, or maybe you need to get inspired by exploring something new, or maybe you feel like you already know what purpose means to you, and you just need a little help getting started. No matter what phase you are in, there’s always somewhere to start. And Clif is committed to helping you get there.
Here are a few tips for exploring purpose in your life: Reflection, Exploration and Execution
Reflection: Hit pause and reflect on who you are and what matters most to you.
Start Where you are
You’ve probably already have had purposeful moments at some point. Journey inward and ask yourself a few questions to help find what is most meaningful to you.
• What activity puts you into a state of flow?
• When have you felt the most proud?
• What social issues do you feel the most passionate about?
• What skill are you hoping to learn?
Ask your friends
Take some time to sit down with the people you are close with, and ask their perspective on how you have an impact. Your family, friends, and teachers can all help shed light on strengths that you may not even realize you have. They might help you see yourself in a new light and give you the confidence to explore your pursuits further.
Tell your story
Just writing down your thoughts, experiences, and even life story can help you connect the dots. Not only does it help you reflect, but actually having to figure out what “your” story is will help you think about what part of your identity are most meaningful to you, and might just help you think about what your next chapter of your life will be.
An outside resource to help with reflection
TED has a speaker series to help people start thinking about and exploring purpose.
Exploration: Get inspired by finding small ways to explore and experiment with new things.
Break with routine
Taking a break with your day-to-day routine can help you see things in a new light. Find an afternoon, or even a few days, to go to a new place, spend some time in nature, or go see something inspiring. Take a journal with you if you have one available. Capture what thoughts come up, ideas you have, or what the experiences inspires within you.
Do something kind
You might be surprised how easy having an impact can be. Ask yourself—what is something you’ve been meaning do, but haven’t gotten around to yet? Who could benefit from a little extra support right now? Taking even just a few hours out of your month to help others can make a huge difference and, likely, you’ll feel better about yourself too!
There’s nothing quite like getting your hands dirty. If you’re feeling stuck or uninspired, make a point to make something. It might be a piece of art, a meal, anything—the most important thing is that you give yourself some time to get creative and free yourself from judgement. You might just discover something about yourself in the process.
An outside resource to continue exploration.
The Character Lab, a non profit organization advancing the science and practice of character development, has lots of great resources for personal development and growth.
Execution: Pursuing something you care about doesn’t have to be daunting. There are small ways to take an idea into action.
Break it down
No matter how successful someone is, everyone was a beginner once. Instead of thinking about the end game, ask yourself—what is something small I could do to explore this now? Maybe interview someone who is an expert or simply watch a tutorial on YouTube. By turning an exploration into a series of small steps, it’s a lot easier to get started.
Share your ideas
Once you have an idea of what you might like to explore, share it with others. This can help you in two ways; One, it will let others build on your idea, which will help it evolve and get better. And two, turning an idea into a shared intention means that others can help keep you accountable and provide support along the way.
Account for adversity
Bumps will come up. Think about what challenges you might encounter before they even happen. Make a plan to address each issue. And, think about who you will go to for support if things don’t go as planned. Research shows that a person has a higher likelihood of succeeding at a task if they plan for adversity, rather than trying to avoid it.
Find a mentor
Behind almost every successful person is a great mentor. Finding a mentor can have many benefits. This person can help you think about steps you can take, they can provide tips to help you get there, and even support if things don’t go exactly as planned. Most importantly, a mentor can help you feel confident as you get closer to purpose.
An outside resource to help with execution.
A good way to get inspired by others and take impactful action in small ways. Check out Dosomething.org, an organization for social change volunteers and community service.
Stories of Purpose
For the Good of the Earth
Advocating for the Overlooked
The Business with Purpose Scholarship is designed to ease your financial expense following graduation, so you can focus on your purpose. Rewards include debt repayment, monthly stipends and mentorship.