You have some sense of your values, who you are and what you would like to contribute to the greater whole (that is great by the way, not everyone does). Or you don’t quite yet (give a shout, I help with things like that).
The next step is not trivial: What am I going to do with that? What does that mean in practice? How and where can I make a difference?
“I am helping X to get Y by using Z”. That is a good start to make things understandable for everyone not living in your own head. The more granular you are able to get, the easier it will make your search.What are these X, Y, Z? Where else are they relevant? Who else could benefit from this?
Brainstorm, and involve people who know you well. Involve well-connected near-strangers. If nobody is around, pick a magazine you would normally never read and mentally figure out what “your craft”, your business superhero power would look like for a company or organization like this or that, or for that sector mentioned, or for famous person A or B and the field they are in.
Also, watch what makes you angry. That is a fantastic guide to what you truly care about and where you are ready to storm into battle to defend it. Anger is often triggered when something you deeply care about gets violated. What is that thing that you are looking to protect? How can you apply that out there?
See if that sparks anything. Keep notes and over time, watch what sort of patterns emerge. You might already be in the right place where you are (and that is a good thing). Or we have an urge to try something different, to maybe find another outlet elsewhere where we feel we might be able to do more. Then a journey of exploration starts. Volunteering can be a good entryway to test the waters. Networking and talking to people in the field you are looking to enter.
And don’t forget: No matter how big your aspirations and purpose: You won’t have to do it alone. In fact, you most likely wouldn’t be able to. There’s 7 billion of us, that is a pretty good team size for a world changing assignment, and there are roles for everyone.
What is yours?
(2021 small edit as a section featured long flights and other travel which seems a bit outdated…)