Importance of Having Clarity of Purpose as Immigrants

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By Chizobam Ekwerike-Oluikpe

Have you ever witnessed the reaction of a man whose pregnant wife has suddenly gone into labour? While grabbing some clothes to put on, would he try to match his shoes with his belt? Or looking to vacuum the car just so that his wife is comfortable during the ride to the hospital? Suppose this was a movie scene and the man did anything other than a frantic rush to the hospital, you’d probably mutter more than once, ‘what on earth is this man doing?’

By asking that fundamental question, you infer that our man should know better. Even if this was his first rodeo, he should know that going into labour is a medical emergency, and time is of the essence. You expect this to be as clear as the Northern Lights to him.

Let’s leave our silly man for a second and talk about you – yes, you. As the main character of your movie, it is important to pause at different stages in your life to ask yourself the same question – what am I doing?
This introspection is vital as you navigate the changes in being in a new country. Why? Because it is easy to get distracted. You must stay laser-focused. To achieve this, you need to build and maintain clarity of purpose.

In simple terms, clarity of purpose is having an ultra-clear idea of what you want to do, why you want it and being very intentional about how you plan to achieve it.

As an immigrant, you have to uproot your life from your home country to stand at the back of the queue in Canada and rebuild your life from the ground with zero connections and non-existent family support. It takes a lot of resilience, which you clearly have – to survive the culture shocks, initial financial stressors and struggle to find your tribe.

You were very clear on your reason for deciding to migrate to a new country. Your vision was so clear that you didn’t mind leaving behind meaningful relationships, well-paying jobs, thriving businesses and your comfort zones for the unknown. You left almost empty-handed but with a heart full of great expectations. It is essential to maintain your clarity of purpose.

Clarity of purpose is required when searching for jobs, switching careers, pursuing further education, or investing in a business. You need it during those head-scratching moments when you must decide between working full-time or part-time, staying home with the kids or putting them in a daycare, or figuring out if you can work and school at the same time. With every decision, big or small, you must be clear on your purpose.

Without clarity of purpose, it becomes easy to take on other people’s dreams. For instance, you may decide to make a career switch to digital marketing because your friend says it is a lucrative career and that she earns megabucks as a digital marketing manager. Meanwhile, your strength is in accounting or performing financial analysis. So, instead of preparing for your Certified Public Accountant (CPA) exams, you’re thinking of writing Direct Marketing (DM) exams.

Focus, my friend!

Clarity of purpose eliminates noise and distractions. When you clearly understand your goals, you pay little or no attention to whiners and naysayers. Your purpose is your path, and it is yours to dream and create. Clarity of purpose helps you stay motivated during bad days of overwhelming sadness, borne out of disappointments and rejections. It enables you to dust off those negative feelings as soon as they come; you persevere because you know where you’re headed, even if the path is zigzag. The zigzag might be the temporary survival jobs that help you pay the bills, the sacrifices you make to acquire further education or the extremely modest lifestyle you have to live. Because you know your destination and want to get there more than anyone else, you hang in there.

Having clarity of purpose also means envisioning your future. Imagine what your life in a particular career would be? Do you like what you see? Would you be happy with the choices you’ve made? As an immigrant, going with the flow will not cut it. Without clarity of purpose, it is easy to settle or get stuck in a routine that leads to unhappiness and unfulfillment. If you know you have excellent project management skills, do not settle for a packer role unless the packer job genuinely makes you happy and you find meaning in your role.
You took that leap of faith by migrating to Canada. Make sure you are not following the blueprint of someone else’s life. Create a blueprint that’s authentically you. Never lose sight of what you truly desire. Your purpose reminds you of your worth. No change of environment should diminish that. Always carry out routine self-examination; ask yourself, ‘what am I ultimately driving at?’

The opposite of clarity is confusion or chaos. So, it’s either you have clarity of purpose, or you become confused. The clearer your purpose, the better results you’ll get. You would hardly go off on tangents when you clarify your purpose and live it. It might take a few months or years to figure out what you want, and that’s okay.

Have faith in yourself but be sure to back it up with some actions. Clarity of purpose leads to action. Do all your research, ask questions, find a tribe, weigh your options, and know when to stop researching and start doing the grunt work.

You’re smart, let’s be clear on that. Don’t let anything or anyone tell you otherwise.

We’re rooting for you!

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