There seems to be a certain romance about 'finding our purpose' - it’s like the mystique that comes with discovering hidden treasure, as once we find it, we feel we’ll know exactly what to do to live a holistically richer life.
For 25 years I’ve been a little obsessed with finding my purpose. I've tried to track it, cried about it, and talked about it with professionals, friends and family. And after all these years, I'm proud to say that I’ve finally found it, but it wasn’t what I thought it was.
So in the hope of reducing the time of your own personal hunt here's what I've finally understood about purpose and the journey towards it.
1. Your career is not your purpose
I think what always caught me about finding my purpose was the belief that my purpose = my career. Carrying this belief, I was always searching for the 'right' career.
Now that I have found a working life that I absolutely love, I can now see that my purpose was there the whole time.
It has been there my whole life, relatively unchanged. It’s what makes me feel fulfilled, makes my body sing, and provides me with an overwhelming sense of inner peace.
My main purpose is to love people.
I can now see that I was living my purpose all those years ago when I was working at the pharmacy during my studies, and throughout most of my professional career when I interview people for health research. I continue to live it daily in the dog park, through fundraising initiatives I engage in throughout the year and of course, coaching; it just looks different in different scenarios.
So, what do you do that makes the world that little bit better?
Are you kind, creative, bold, brave? You don't have to be 100% certain. As words that you associate with your purpose come to mind, take a moment to see how each one makes your body feel, your body will tell you what’s right.
Being here to love feels fantastic in my body. What’s your body telling you about your purpose?
2. Broad is better than specific
I'm a big believer in finding a broad purpose that can be applied in many directions and situations.
I think broad purposes leave much more room for creativity and many more rungs on the board, which makes life more aligned and fulfilling.
Instead of just thinking you are here for one tiny thing, suddenly you are here for a million things.
This makes so much more sense to me.
Every day feeds into our purpose in my book.
3. Align your career with your purpose
Ideally and perhaps critically, when you get a sense of your purpose, you can express it (directly and indirectly) through your career.
It's the special sauce that makes careers deeply fulfilling.
4. Purpose is never finished
Every day is a new opportunity.
Your purpose is for you, and how you choose to show it is again your choice. No one is judging, and there’s no need to judge yourself. Simply start to bring awareness of your purpose into your everyday and learn from those opportunities you feel you’ve missed. There’s no deadline, and I know you can absolutely do it!
5. Everyone’s purpose
By the way, when it comes down to it I think everyone’s purpose is to make our world better, and part of that includes love.
So start to work with whatever purpose comes to mind and just see where the journey takes you.
I really hope these five key learnings help you find clarity in your 'purpose' too. Just remember to stay broad and kind to yourself.
I'm so excited for you to start expressing your purpose in the world, more than you already do!
P.S. If you need help finding your purpose or living it with conscious ambition, I’m here to help. Simply complete the form below for a complementary 60 minute clarity session and we can take it from there.