Do you jump out of bed in the morning eager to face the new day? Finding one’s life purpose is often driven by the desire to feel this way.
Many people come to me for life coaching once they’ve hit their late twenties or thirties, realising that climbing the corporate ladder has left them wallet-heavy but unfulfilled. Sure they’ve achieved great things and feel proud of their accomplishments, but the stress, long-hours and high pressured culture cause them to question what they‘re doing with their lives.
I believe this is a wonderful space to get to at such an early age. In previous generations it wasn’t until mid-life that people typically had this crisis of meaning. Finding the craving for purpose at a younger age means many more options are still available to you.
Unfortunately though, most people wait until they are totally burnt out before they act on this urge. As a result, they seek an instant big leap into some new world that will provide a sense of meaning or passion. The reality of course is that it requires time and mental space to discover a next move that makes your heart sing. If you feel too much urgency, the end result can be a move based on lust rather than a genuine knowing of what will feed your soul.
Don’t make the same mistake and wait until you’re fed up before you get in touch with the passion or purpose in your life. Use the following ideas to set you on a path to discover your life’s purpose. Choose the tips that appeal to you most and get started on the journey today.
How to Discover Your Life Purpose
1. Clear your slate
One of the difficulties with discovering your life purpose is that your mind has been filled with information from your upbringing about what you can and can’t do for a living. Schools inform us about becoming Dr’s and Accountants, not business development managers for a high innovation tech company. You must be willing to let go of what everyone, including yourself has told you that you must do and be, in order to open yourself to other, more unique possibilities.
2. Know your strengths, passions & heart stoppers
Do you know what is brilliant and unique about you? What specific tasks and environments allow you to flourish? Well, it’s time to get clear about it –do everything you can to discover what makes you special and happy. Make a list of all your strengths and achievements to date, specific ones that make you proud. Add to the list the things you love to do, no matter how silly. And lastly, think about the type of people, values and culture you enjoy. Get your hands on a good book or attend a workshop that helps you get in touch with these types of issues. My favourite is “Zen and theAart of Making a Living” by Laurence G Boldt. It was the book that helped me realise I wanted to be a life coach and resulted in me creating my dream business. Psychologists and career counsellors can also provide you with tools to identify your skillsets, personality attributes and provide new ideas of good career matches. Have a play!
3. Understand the why
Purpose is about more than just a job. It is a unique emotional feeling of connection to what we believe at a deep level, matters. A really simple exercise to help get in touch with what matters to you at a deep level is to ask yourself “why is that important to me”. So for example, let’s say you identify that you like to mentor other staff to be great leaders. Grab a sheet of paper and ask yourself “why is that important to me?” and write down whatever comes to mind. Let’s say you write something like “because I love talking to people about their skills”. Once again ask yourself the same question again, “why is that important to me?” and write the answer down. Repeat this process until the answer creates an emotional reaction in you. (When I do this exercise with clients, at some point tears surface and it’s clear we’ve touched on what really matters to them – tears are a good sign!!).
4. Start playing with your passion
A key reason some people hold back from trying to discover their life purpose is that they fear the life of a “struggling artist.” They have very black and white thinking about following a passion – believing that doing what you love doesn’t put food on the plate. But reality is never this black and white — just because you love to write doesn’t mean you have to be an author. You can become a journalist, write policies for government or even something as simple as take on some extra responsibilities in your current workplace that allow you to do some creative writing such as copy for the marketing department. Be honest with yourself about your passions and find ways to bring it into your life now, without having to make a huge career leap. Sign up for a course, do some volunteer work, or just start doing it for the love of it.
5. Network to learn
Networking events are great for skill building and contact building but they are also fantastic for learning about what other people do for a living and to live on purpose. It is likely that there are some weird and whacky roles out there that you never knew existed. Open your mind to discovering how people spend their days at work, what their company culture is like, and the different type of work life issues that exist. Become curious – not only will you learn more about what you desire from life but you will become an even better networker as you genuinely show interest in other people’s lives. Who knows, you may even come across a job available that fits your new understanding of your life’s passion.
6. Align all your life
Discovering your purpose is not limited to your career. In fact you can work at Coles packing shelves and still feel your life is completely on purpose because purpose is so much bigger than what you do. It is about how you approach life and about living life in alignment with what is important to you in general. Looking after your health and wellbeing, nurturing your relationships, and choosing to do what makes you happy all contribute to feeling on purpose. Start making small choices every day in alignment with what is important to you. Be grateful and appreciate what you already have. Ask yourself “how can I be of service today?” Focus on loving life in every way.
How did you discover your life’s purpose?
Author of De-stress Your Success: Get More of What You Want with Less Time, Stress and Effort, Sacha Crouch is a business, executive and life coach who helps people create the work and lives they love. For other free lifestyle resources visit www.activ8change.com.au and www.de-stressyoursuccess.com