Life can be an exciting journey full of meaning and fulfillment unless you’re struggling to find your purpose in life. Not everyone feels like they need to discover their purpose or they might feel satisfied with a more obvious role (such as a mother or caretaker). This can make the rest of us feel like there’s something wrong with us. Why can’t we so easily find what our purpose in life is?
When you’re on a path toward wellness, you often also are on a spiritual path. Whatever that looks like for you, you’ll find meaning and purpose on that path. Of course, that doesn’t mean you’ll always know all the answers or that the path won’t be confusing sometimes. If you’re forging your own unique path, you might also need to do more soul searching to find your answers.
Why Your Purpose is Important
Life is a profound journey full of ups and downs, twists and turns. It can be disconcerting to feel aimless, purposeless, or useless. These feelings can really impact your mental health and wellness practice, as well.
The world needs every single one of us to help heal the pain, struggles, and illnesses that so many people face. We all bring our own unique perspectives, life experiences, and skills to the work that we do. This makes each one of us an important part of moving our society toward a state of better health, both at the individual level and the societal level. We’re each needed.
Knowing what your life’s purpose is will help you feel aligned in your life journey. It will allow you to wake up every morning with a feeling of being on fire with passion for what you do. It will make the hard days less so and the good days more incredible. You’ll feel more motivated to take good care of your body, deepen your relationships, and commit to your spiritual and mental health practices.
And you’ll get to inspire and help others do the same in their lives. What could be a better way to spend a life?
Why It Can Be Tricky to Find Your Purpose
Our modern societies offer a limited selection of career options to pursue. In addition to this, we tend to hyper-focus on vocations when it comes to how we spend our time. Our lives are taken up by the work we do to pay our bills.
We’ve all been that kid answering the question of “What do you want to be when you grow up?” While our child minds tend to think of a handful of careers, there are plenty more available once we become aware adults. However, the list of jobs featured in that career handbook your guidance counselor let you borrow isn’t the definitive guide. When it comes to finding your passion, it’s important to realize that you might have to think outside the box (sometimes even way outside the box).
The unique magic that you bring into the world won’t necessarily fit into a career guide. If you feel like a healer, what you feel drawn toward might not exist in the awareness of the mainstream career world, either. You might need to get creative.
You also might have to think of your calling as something beyond a job. Some people find satisfaction doing a job they enjoy to pay the bills and pouring their passion and purpose into something they do outside of work. You’ll need to consider what type of arrangement makes the most sense for your life, personality, and interests.
Uncovering Your Purpose in Life
Now that you know the hurdles, it’s time to start considering various aspects of yourself to better understand who you are. Keep in mind that finding your purpose isn’t something that will happen overnight. You might also have more than one purpose and that’s just fine. There aren’t rules when it comes to a life’s purpose. You do what feels right and works best for you.
Here are a few exercises to help you dig deep to find that burning purpose inside.
1. Get curious about yourself.
Many of us get into habits and unconscious routines. We don’t really think about what we’re doing or why we’re doing it. Start to get more aware of your life’s moments. Get curious about your feelings and reactions to situations. Begin to notice the moments when your ears perk up and you come alive.
Track the times when friends and family members come to you for advice or a listening ear. What do they turn to you for? Is there something they always ask for or a common theme to the things people ask you to help them with?
Pay attention to compliments and unusual comments people make about you. Things like “You always make me feel calmer and more at peace” or “I think you’re the only person I can talk to about this stuff” can be clues about your natural gifts.
2. Be patient with the process.
Finding your purpose isn’t easy. While that can be frustrating, it’s also kind of a good thing. The more labor, experience, pain, and emotions that are poured into your purposeful path, the more committed and experienced you become with it. It’s not just a long path toward getting started. Every step is making you better at whatever your purpose may be.
See all these exploratory steps as developing your character, refining your skills, and teaching you about what really makes your heart sing. Nothing is a waste of time when you’re working toward a purpose.
3. Do more and think less.
So often we can get stuck in mental patterns of “what if I did this” or “how about this idea.” While it is important to spend time thinking, it’s even more important to spend time doing. Hypothetical experiences can’t teach you what real life experience will. You might discover that while something sounded lovely on the outside, it’s actually a really bad fit for your personality. Or you might find out that a particular path is much different than you expected.
You also might accidentally discover something new and unusual in places you weren’t expecting. All of these experiences are clues to help you refine your options and guide you toward what lights you up inside. Keep moving.
4. Let go of just one purpose.
Sure, some people really do have just one purpose or calling in life. But most of us have a more complicated relationship with our life purposes. If you’re looking for “the one,” you might end up looking your whole life. Just as our lives are dynamic and ever-changing, so is the enigmatic life purpose.
See it as more of an unfolding process with many layers instead of a singular destination. You’ll find the journey more enjoyable when you realize that it matters most of all. Your purpose in life will evolve, change, and grow as you do. Lean in and be patient with how everything unfolds. Stay open to all the gifts and learning experiences that come your way.
5. Find the cause(s) you feel compelled to fix.
Most of us have been through pain, hurt, and shame. Or we’ve been very close to others who have experienced very hard things in their lives. When you’re looking for a purpose, turn to your own struggles or the struggles you’ve been through with others.
If you get fired up talking about these issues and energized when strategizing ways to fix them, you might be onto something that has to do with your purpose. Pay attention to the things that need healing and your reactions to them. If there’s something you love to talk about and know a lot about, you might already have a purpose staring you in the face. Embrace it and see where the path leads.
Walking the Path of Your Purpose in Life
The key takeaway to finding your purpose is to slow down to take notice, get out into the world to experience more and to get more in tune with yourself. Establishing a mindfulness practice can help a lot when it comes to quieting mental chatter and tuning into your intuition. Let your spiritual practice help you find the meaning in the chaos of options. Lean into things that move your soul and cause you to spring into action.
Within no time, you’ll find yourself walking a path that feels purposeful. And soon you’ll be able to easily tell others what your purpose in life is. Enjoy the journey!
If you’re feeling the call to support others as they discover their own purposes in life, consider learning how with our accredited Holistic Health and Wellness Coach certification. We offer incredible support and systems throughout the program and into your new career. Contact an admissions advisor today to get started.