If you find yourself shuffling through your 20’s, 30’s, 40’s (or even later) and feeling the disappointment of not knowing your life purpose, be assured there’s still time.
You may be surprised to discover you actually have more in common with Julia Child, Vincent van Gogh, JK Rowling and Oprah than you realised, because as these highly successful and purpose-filled people eventually figured out, your dreams have no age limit — and neither does your souls purpose.
Most of us struggle to know what we want to do with our lives, even if we’ve already finished school, got a job, changed careers, met our life partner or had children.
The length of time or number of attempts and reattempts it takes to discover your ‘calling’ isn’t the issue. The problem lays in the possibility of regret — in never having acknowledged what our purpose might be and then acted on it.
Finding your purpose means finding a way to impact the world in a way that fulfills and satisfies you. Your purpose aligns with your dreams, your values and your actions.
It gives meaning to your existence.
Mark Twain famously declared that “the two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.”
So how do you find out why you were born?
THE TWO THINGS THAT KEEP YOU FROM FINDING YOUR PURPOSE
You might think there are lots and lots of reasons that prevent people from finding their true calling. The truth is that there are only two things that prevent you from answering the question, “What is my purpose?” Here they are.
1. The first is Certainty. The need for stability and predictability is one of our deepest human needs. Routines help us conserve mental energy, and staying in our comfort zones can keep us from feeling anxious and getting hurt – emotionally and physically. But it also prevents growth. It keeps us in unfulfilling jobs and unhealthy relationships. It prevents us from finding purpose.
2. The second is our Limiting beliefs. The stories we tell ourselves about who we are can either hold us back or propel us toward fulfillment. Limiting beliefs – that we’re not good enough, that we don’t deserve to be happy – lead to limiting behaviors like fear of failure and self-sabotage. Believing that we have no limitations in life gives us the confidence to find our purpose. As Tony says, “We can change our lives. We can do, have, and be exactly what we wish.” Believe that and purpose will follow.”
BENEFITS OF KNOWING YOUR BIG ‘WHY’
Research shows that finding your purpose is linked to living longer. Researchers surveyed nearly 7,000 older adults on the relationship between mortality and finding direction in life. Participants who did not have a strong sense of meaning in their lives were more than twice as likely to die prematurely as those who had figured out their purpose in life. Having a sense of meaning also reduced the incidence of cardiovascular events like heart attack and stroke.
Achieving goals may not help you find the purpose of life, but knowing your purpose can help you achieve your goals. When you truly know your purpose, you’ll experience a sense of clarity like never before as you’re able to connect what you want to achieve to your ultimate fulfillment. You’ll feel passionate, driven and laser-focused. You’ll stop battling with the past and the future and start living in the present – and that’s the greatest gift you can give yourself.
7 SIMPLE STEPS TO EXPLORE YOUR PURPOSE
There are many benefits of knowing your meaning for life – but how can you figure it out? It is a combination of the science of achievement and the art of fulfillment that creates the road to happiness and a life of meaning. To succeed in finding your purpose, you must master this balance.
Here are 7 simple steps to help you get started with exploring this important question
Trust that you really do have one!
Just because you haven’t discovered it yet, it doesn’t mean you won’t! Don’t beat yourself up. Instead, see any ‘wrong turns’ as an opportunity to figure out what you don’t want. Know that some of the most aligned people are those who have reinvented themselves time and time again.
Listen to your inner knowing
Learning to find and then live your purpose can be an inside job. You need to do a little soul-searching. So go somewhere you can sit without distraction and connect with yourself in a way that works for you. Journal. Meditate. Speak to someone you trust. Just get out of your head and into your heart — this is where you’ll be guided to the answer.
Identify your passions, your values, and your goals
Download our purpose-exploring exercise by clicking below and answer some or all of the questions — without judgment. Highlight any common ideas that begin to emerge.
Take action, every day
Once you begin to hone in on your passions, values and goals, work on aligning them with your actions. Commit to honoring them as best you can, every day. How can you take action right now, even on a small scale? Once you start taking inspired action, notice how it feels.
Passion is the key to a purposeful life. When you are inspired and connected to what brings you joy, you find the motivation to create and experience even more of what lights you up.
Be of service
Think about your answers from our purpose-exploring exercise and connect them to the idea of helping others. How can you use your purpose to leave a lasting effect on the world? Is there an issue you care about? How can you start to solve it? You may not fix all of humanity’s problems on your own, but you can contribute. Making a difference can be fulfilling.
According to Jess Lively jesslively.com the equation for finding your purpose is this:
Jess believes your purpose is always to help others in whatever way you can — in this present moment.
Don’t just make it about money
If you can channel your calling into a career, then great! However, living on-purpose can be achieved in many ways – it doesn’t have to be in your job or the way you make a living.
In his well-known narrative, Alan Watts encourages you to do what you desire or what makes you itch — and forget about the money:
“If you say that getting the money is the most important thing, you will spend your life completely wasting your time. You’ll be doing things you don’t like doing in order to go on living — that is to go on doing things you don’t like doing — which is stupid,” he says.
Listen to his full talk here . Powerful stuff.
Define your own version of success
Success is really about living life on-purpose. No one, however well-meaning, can tell you what that purpose is or what you should be doing. Do not live your own life by someone else’s definition of success.
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Rebecca is the Founder & CEO of The Daily Guru. She sees Growth & Development as a vital part of anyone’s health & happiness, as well as being one of the most rewarding experiences we can all embrace.