So... let's talk about purpose. We all want to find our life "purpose." That thing that is going to light us up and make us want to wake up and jump out of bed in the morning, right? It seems that this process is growing increasingly more and more difficult to navigate. Why is this?
I mean, didn't our parents just "pick" a job and do it for 35 years and then retire and live happily ever after? Maybe. Maybe it was more difficult for them than we think, but I'd say one reason that finding our purpose is more difficult in our world today is because there are so much MORE options to choose from and roads to take. We live in an amazingly exciting time. The information and technology world that we live in has changed our economic system along with the way we view our purpose. The career possibilities are ENDLESS and it is becoming increasingly harder to decide on one thing to do or be.
Regardless of this, there are steps you can take to finding that life of purpose you yearn for. There are avenues that will bring you greater meaning and fulfillment than others because of all of the things that make you uniquely you. I have chosen to be a life coach based on my passion for psychology, love of all things self-help, and my natural ability to understand and love people. Now, put me in a science lab and ask me to do research on how to cure cancer and I would probably go insane. Even so, this decision was not an easy decision for me to make and I understand how incredibly treacherous of a journey it can feel like when you find yourself there. Believe me, do I know! So here are 7 steps you can use to help you find the thing/things that will bring you the most meaning and purpose in your life.
Step 1. CHILDHOOD INFLUENCES
Some people believe that our society and childhood upbringing do not influence who we are today, but that is simply not true. They DO influence who we are to the deepest level. That doesn’t mean that past experiences can’t be worked through and moved on from, but recognizing how your past influences who you are today is the first step in finding your purpose.
Another thing that seems to come up here is that there are some people who have a specific talent that is so extreme that it is easy to detect that they were truly “made” to do it. For the rest of us, determining what we were “made to do” can be a little less obvious. Part of the reason our natural skills and abilities are not obvious is because most of us are influenced by our families and society to follow paths that we’re “supposed” to do. Our roles, careers, hobbies, and relationships are often chosen for us more because of our conditioning or because we feel we “should” rather than because they are a fit for who we truly are. I put off looking into interior design programs for years and years mainly because I didn’t think my parents would think that career was “scholarly” enough. Not until I finally took off the masks I had been wearing because of who/what I thought I was “supposed to be, did I finally come to manifest my purpose.
Step 2. Personality
Personality is the set of descriptive terms which are used to describe an individual. Gordon Allport said, “Personality is the dynamic organization INSIDE a person… characteristics, patterns of behavior, thoughts, and feelings.” What do you value? What makes you tick? How do you prefer to work? How do you relate to your world? Investigating your personality can be so powerful.
There are so many tests. I’d suggest you take one. My favorite is the 16 personalities Test. Look it up and take it, I promise it will give you some clues. And maybe you won’t agree with everything. Take another one. There are color tests, the enneagram… try them all and pull the things you agree with because while these tests are great starting points, you are unique and cannot be placed into a little box. But they will give you insights and I bet you will agree with more than you think.
Step 3. Passions and Interests
In life, there are things we just absolutely LOVE to do. There are things we naturally feel drawn to. There are activities we lose ourselves in when we experience flow. When thinking about your passions and interests, ask yourself, what did I enjoy doing as a child? What do I do in my free time? If I could do anything, I would… fill in the blank. When do I feel energized? When do I feel “lost” in what I’m doing, when the world seems to melt away? Look into the things that fill you up. That bring you joy. That you just love doing.
Step 4. Talents and Skills
There are things we are innately good at. That we have had inside us since birth. These are our talents. Look into those things. And think outside the box. Not all talents are the most visible to the naked eye. Some are less obvious. If you are having a hard time seeing your talents, ask your family and friends. I promise they will be able to fill you in on what you are not seeing yourself.
Skills, on the other hand, are something you develop. So, when thinking about your purpose, don’t get caught thinking that just because something doesn’t come naturally to you doesn’t mean you aren’t meant to do it. There are some things in anything you will do that you have to learn. I am naturally good at listening and helping people find solutions. However, I am not so good at figuring out how to embed code into my website. If I would have stopped when everything didn’t come naturally, I wouldn’t have made it here.
Step 5. Life Changing Experiences
Life is so complex that we sometimes miss patterns or circumstances that have truly influenced us because we are so focused on getting by or thinking about the past or future. However… nothing is a coincidence and things happen for a reason. When trying to find your purpose, look back over your life, what things stand out? What experiences have been especially meaningful to you? What has your life been focused on? See any themes? Have you been being guided the whole time? Maybe you are right at the cusp of your mission, being prepared all along the way.
Step 6. Eliminating Limiting Beliefs
Limiting Beliefs are behind every fear, frustration, and obstacle. I am so passionate about this subject because I struggled with limiting beliefs my entire life until I discovered this. And it's still a process, believe me. In order fully discover your purpose, you must pull the plug on limiting beliefs and empower yourself with new empowering beliefs. This takes time and effort, but it is SO worth it. You have to believe you can do anything. Because you can.
Step 7. Clarify Your Purpose
Combine everything you’ve learned along these 7 steps and move in a direction. What direction are you being pointed? Sometimes we have to take a few steps before we know if it feels right. You have the power to rewrite your story. Don’t like where you’re headed? The direction you’re going in doesn’t feel, right? CHANGE!
Give yourself permission to change your mind. To experiment. That’s the beauty of this path of discovery. It’s a journey. You can enjoy the process.
And Always remember… You can have anything you truly desire.