Six things not to do when finding your life purpose and passion (and 6 things you should do)

Life purpose

Six things not to do when finding your life purpose and passion (and 6 things you should do)

What is a purpose driven life? For many people it feels like the million dollar question. For those in search of this ‘holy grail’, it’s a life mission. 

The good news is there is a way to figure this mission out. Yes indeed, you can figure it out. But there is a way to get quickly off track.  Read on to learn more.

Are you looking for the meaning of life?

The people I help come to me frustrated or empty — frustrated they are running around like a Tasmanian devil but getting nowhere or empty because life is passing them by at warp speed and they can’t seem to grasp it for themselves. Is that you?

Here is what I hear:

“My job no longer fulfills me but I don’t know where I can truly succeed.”

“There’s something is missing in my life but I can’t figure out what it is.” 

“I want to make a bigger impact but find I am focused on just paying my bills.”

“I am 100 percent certain of the 50 things I no longer want to do and 0 percent clear on what I should do instead.”

“I don’t want my tombstone to say, ‘I managed best I could.’”

Discovering your life purpose: making an impact and contribution

People in search of their life purpose may not know exactly what they need to do but they have clear ideas about what’s important to them. Here are two big examples of what they say:

“I want to make a bigger impact.” 

“I know there is something more probably something bigger I can contribute.”

What not to do when are looking for your purpose of life 

Because I’m in the business of helping people on their ‘life purpose’ mission, here is what I’ve noticed. There are a lot of people who want to ‘launch’ this mission but can’t.  Or won’t. Or don’t know how.  And, if they are on the mission already, there is some frustration it’s not going all that well.

It’s fairly easy to get off track by making a few simple missteps.  So let me share a few tips:

  1. Don’t look outside yourself.   Finding your life purpose doesn’t start with looking at others.  For example, you sure as hell won’t find it by going to Facebook where people seemto have figured it out (“How does she look so good and somehow always seems to be traveling in Europe?”). In truth are also on the same mission as you are. Your ‘life purpose’ starts with you – not them.  
  2. Don’t forget you may already be on track at least partly.  I’m guessing your life is busy.  And all of that busyness leaves you overwhelmed, distracted, or exhausted.  If so, you aren’t likely notice some pretty awesome ‘life purpose’ material already in front of you. 
  3. Avoid trying to make your career fit your life purpose goal.  The Japanese have this awesome concept called Ikigai.  Roughly translated it means your ‘purpose for being.’   The centurians (people living over 100 years old) who practice Ikigai don’t view career as the wayto life a life purpose.  Sure, your vocation is key piece.  But it’s not the only piece. 
  4. Don’t assume you’ll have a ‘Eureka’ moment.  You might be tempted to google “how-can-I-find-my-life-purpose-in-30-days.”  I get that because I did it too.  But I’m sorry to report that it’s not like the heavens open up one day and angels descend with a scroll announcing your true purpose.   Here is what I’ve learned.  You can learn how to jump on the ‘life purpose highway’ and once you’re on the way, you’ll feel in your groove.  So no Eureka moment but you will feel you are on the right track.  
  5. Life purpose isn’t a ‘thing’.Too often people start their journey by thinking about the ‘things’ they need:  a better job, a cool hobby, meaningful volunteer work, loads more money, and some awesome travel plan.  Life purpose isn’t about any of these.  It’s bigger than that.
  6. Don’t obsess over it and please slow down.  The trick in figuring out your life purpose is in letting yourself be curious and then starting the journey to discover.  It’s not about thinking about it and getting anxious.  And for God’s sake, please slow down to figure it out. Feeling anxious or worried will only make it worse!   You might be really tired of the hamster wheel and feel some urgency to figure things out.  I get that.  But taking the time to unfold a deliberative process will make the difference.   

Life purpose: How to figure it out

By now, you’re probably like, “OK.  Enough already!  I’m ready to hear what works.”  Here is what I have learned for myself and by helping many others figure it out.

How I can figure out my life purpose?

It’s time to stop thinking about ‘life purpose’ and start doing something.  Now that you know what doesn’t work and have a sense of what could work, you can get started. 

1. Be intentional.  This whole idea of life purpose is big and important.  But often our actions don’t exactly treat it as important.  If figuring this out matters, then make it a priority even if it’s just a few hours a week.  Don’t let the fear of not figuring it out get in the way.  Treat this like any goal, you need a little energy behind the goal.

2. Treat the search like a journey. Your job is to take the on-ramp to the life purpose highway. This highway is a journey for exploration and discovery. It’s not a destination. Too often, people think there is an ‘end’ to find or an ‘answer’ to uncover.  In truth, your real goal is to feel as if you are solidly on the life purpose highway having a hell of a time figuring it all out.

3. Look to what lights you up to find your life purpose. The stuff of life purpose is found in your heart and positive emotions. Knowing what lights you up, makes you feel energetic, and brings you a sense of ‘calm’ or ‘peace’ is the place to start. Social scientists know that when you are in the flow and feel engaged, you are more likely to feel closer to your life purpose.  Start with the small things you know bring you energy and then use your exploration to find new and bigger things.

4. Allow curiosity to pave the way. Move over thinking brain! Curiosity will help you figure out what makes you tick. We tend to overthink everything and fail to listen to that voice within us. Curiosity helps you connect to your intuition or gut. It is your inner self saying, “Hey, let’s go over there!” I’m not saying everything you are curious about = life purpose. All I’m saying your curiosity is eager to lead you in the right direction.

5. Your life purpose is connected to your superpowers. You have core talents. Superpowers that make you good at what you do. When you put those superpowers to work, you are discovering more of where you can help others and be successful. In my experience, this is deeply connected to helping people figure out their life purpose.

6. Figure out who or what you want to help. For many people, your purpose is connected to who you want or how you want to help. Figuring this out means really thinking about the people who light you up. It may also require some exploration and experimentation.

But it’s an awesome experience. You know you are on it because you feel you are moving forward. You no longer feel stagnant. You are taking risks. Trying new things. And really figuring out what makes you tick. It feels to slow down, be introspective, ane follow a purposeful plan that will take you on the life purpose highway.  

How I can figure out my life purpose?

It’s time to stop thinking about ‘life purpose’ and start doing something. Now that you know what doesn’t work and have a sense of what could work, you can get started.   Take one simple step to make that commitment.
I work with clients to help them uncover their life purpose, strengths, and what makes them tick to plan the next phase of their life.  Reach out for a free consultation to learn more.

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