Lewis Hamilton admits that he was left feeling that something was "missing" during previous times of success in F1.
The seven-time World Champion has become known for using his platform to speak out on various causes in recent times, having particularly focussed his efforts on the issue of diversity and inclusion.
While Hamilton feels that he has always been an "outspoken" person, he found himself questioning how he could use his success in the sport to have a positive impact.
"I feel like we often live in fear of what people think, [of] how you're going to be judged, [of] how you're going to be received," Hamilton told the On Purpose with Jay Shetty podcast.
"[You can fear that] if you're very outspoken, you're going to lose your job, you're going to be fired. I've always been an outspoken person, I think that's just been a quality. I've never been a follower. I don't like to conform to what people expect from you.
"I was having success, and I was like, 'Okay, now I'm at the top, what can I do with it?' There are so many problems out there and there are so many amazing causes.
"There's only one of you, so where do you put the focus? It took a long, long time to really find what that was for me."
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Hamilton explains process of finding purpose
During this process, Hamilton become passionate about education after visiting countries where he met children struggling to access schooling, something that he says made him aware of how "privileged and fortunate" many of us are.
Despite his own success, the Briton felt that he had been missing a sense of purpose.
"I was winning, and it was giving me that tip of happiness," he explained.
"But then I would kind of drop back down to normality, and there was something missing.
"And it was that purpose, really, or understanding what that purpose is and understanding why you've been put here, why you've been given the platform that you've been given, why you're the only [person] of colour, this whole time through it all."
Focus on diversity
Hamilton has often spoken about issues relating to diversity and inclusion. As well as showing his support for the Black Lives Matter movement, the 38-year-old launched The Hamilton Commission in 2020 to identify the barriers to the recruitment and progression of people from ethnic minorities in UK motorsport.
Using his voice to focus on the topic is another way in which Hamilton feels that he has found his purpose.
"When I started speaking about diversity, people were like, 'Oh, you want to get more people of colour in as racing drivers?' There's only 20 of us. If there's 40-50,000 jobs [in the sport], there's 1000s of engineering jobs in the background, and there's such a lack of diversity coming through," Hamilton said.
"I want to be a part of shifting that narrative and shifting that conversation, and have people questioning themselves and have those difficult conversations with people.
"First I just started by having those difficult conversations with my boss. One of the things he brings up that he said hit him hard [was that] I said, 'Have you ever thought of, as a white person, walking into the race weekend paddock and being the only white person there?'
"He was like, 'I hadn't even thought of that'. I said, 'Well, that's what it's like for someone like me'. You notice that out of 50 people in a meeting, you're the only black person there.
"And it's not because we are less, it's because there are these barriers within society, through education, that are limiting people to be the best they can be. So my job is to be empowering, and [to be] improving representation."
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