How to Find Your Life Purpose
One of the most frequent questions I receive is, "What's my life purpose?" Today, I'd like to address how to find one's life purpose and several steps that may help.
First, I want to distinguish between one's career and their life purpose. A career is wonderful and can certainly contribute to your life purpose, but a life purpose (of which there can be more than one) is more about how we make the world a better place, how we help or inspire others, and how we contribute on a soul level. Through our careers and our many life experiences, we are on a journey that informs and strengthens us through our many life challenges, but ultimately how we contribute to the collective is what most of us consider our "life purpose."
Even when we're not aware of it, we touch many lives and create many positive ripple effects through our words, thoughts, and actions. That said, finding our life purpose is a journey, not a destination. What is key in this journey is feeling that we are making progress. Truly, that is what helps us get through the day or the next life challenge we face - knowing that we are moving forward, that we have more tools each day to face our challenges, and that we are mentally and emotionally in a better place than we've been in the past. Knowing we are making progress toward our life purpose is what keeps us going!
On the flip side, our thinking mind is never satisfied. Being the critic in the room, our thinking mind is what is there telling us we've failed or that we're somehow "less than" because we haven't found our purpose or because we're on one of life's detours. Finding a way to ignore that critical inner voice of our thinking mind is a challenge - but one that we can take on by following some basic steps that will help guide us ever closer to our life purpose (or purposes).
First, learn to be yourself. It's a journey - we don't find our life purpose in one day, one year, or 10 years. It comes to us through all of the experiences, challenges, and struggles we live through. First and foremost, though, finding your purpose is about being YOU. And being okay with being you. Our life purpose is unique to us. For example, I met a wonderful woman that had been widowed about 10 years earlier and had been devastated by grief. She was also a photographer and returning to a skill she loved put her physically out in nature, where she slowly healed while practicing her beloved craft. Yes, she had children and grandchildren and much to be grateful for, yet, finding her way out of paralyzing grief still was difficult for her. One day, while I was coaching her on next steps in finding her purpose, she had an "Ah-ha!" moment. She could teach people photography as a way of healing grief. The beauty of this was that even in a small group, photography becomes an individual effort, puts students out in nature, and requires significant focus...all things that help in healing us mentally and emotionally. She took things uniquely hers (her grief, her talent, her ability to teach others, and sharing her healing journey) and combined them in a way that would benefit so many.
Second, learn to listen to your intuitive guidance. Your life purpose won't be the same as your best friend's life purpose. Certainly, hanging around with people that are doing amazing good works and have found their niche is a learning experience, but listen to your inner guidance about what is right for or speaks to you. Don't let others tell you what your purpose is as much as you can, let your intuitive self draw you toward it. This is a case where something just feels right - and make no mistake, there will be many things that feel right as you're drawn toward your life purpose. It is a journey. You don't find it right out of the gate, as they say. You incrementally get closer over time, as you spend more being you and learning about all of the billions of ways you can contribute. Learning to use and listen to your intuition is an essential part of finding your life purpose.
Finally, finding your life purpose is a step-by-step process. It can't be rushed. You can't find it with sheer will or determination. There are no shortcuts or easy fixes. My friend did learn photography overnight, nor did she develop the passion to teach others by taking one class in it. It took years of learning, tinkering, and perfecting her skills just to determine if she was good at it and really enjoyed it. Teaching only comes from one's confidence and competence at something to feel that you have something to offer. Grief can only be understood by those that experience it. Many steps were involved, many hobbies and crafts pursued, and many life challenges endured to bring her to that point. No shortcuts. Just open exploration and life experience.
So my advice is always to explore life with openness, enthusiasm, and a willingness to learn. Be yourself. Be okay with who you are and what you have to offer. Follow your passion. Follow your gut. If you need help, guidance, or coaching to focus or bring together your skills, talents, and individual gifts, I specialize in life/spiritual coaching. But ultimately, I merely facilitate your exploration - I'm your Sherpa - the journey is still yours.
And, yes, there is always time to contribute. There is always time to share yourself with those that benefit from having known you. You have much to offer!
Thank you for being here - I am grateful for all of you!