4 ways to help you find your purpose
Have you ever struggled to know what your purpose is? Today up on the blog Sarah Jensen from www.sarahjensen.com.au shares 4 hot tips to help you find your purpose and live a life that makes you happy.
Purpose: the reason for which something is done or created, one’s intention or objective.
One small word that holds big dreams, hopes, desires and expectations.
When you live with purpose things make sense, time flies in the best possible way and you have endless energy and enthusiasm for the task at hand. A sense of purpose gives meaning and self-esteem.
Do you know what your purpose is? Or do you muddle through each day feeling dissatisfied, directionless and disenchanted?
I can relate.
I grew up surrounded by people who “just knew” what they wanted to be when they grew up. They chose all the right subject at High School, went to University, got their degree and got the job of their dreams. In hindsight who knows what their motivation was – pushy parents, trying to measure up or genuine passion. I don’t know. What I do know is that being around such motivated people had a profound effect on me, but not in a good way.
I spent most of my teenage years and my 20s desperately searching for my ‘thing’. That thing I was naturally good at. That thing I was passionate about. That thing I could do better than anyone else. I wanted to “be” something. I wanted to be someone. I just didn’t know who or what. I was without purpose.
I searched endlessly. I tried loads of different courses, classes and hobbies. I read hundreds of books on a huge range of subjects and ended up with a cupboard full of ‘stuff’ from my failed attempts. Ice skates, art supplies, dance shoes, musical instruments, foreign language CDs, scuba diving gear. You name it, I had it. It got to the point where my family lovingly dismissed my latest interest as ‘Sarah’s latest whim’ because they couldn’t keep up.
I tried lots of different jobs hoping the next one would be my dream job. I worked in retail, debt collection, advertising, floral design, drove a truck in the Army Reserves, worked in a bowling alley, and on it goes. Each time I started a new job I was excited by the possibility that this could be it. I might finally find my purpose. I might finally be one of those people who LOVES THEIR JOB.
By the time I hit my early 30s I gave up. I found some hobbies I actually liked and stuck with them. I (mostly) made peace with the fact that I just wasn’t going to be one of those people who lived for their work. Work for me was always going to be just a facilitator. Deep down I was disappointed. I wanted to love my job. I wanted to wake up excited each morning. I wanted to make a difference. But I decided that wasn’t going to happen to me and so I let go of the dream.
About two years ago, I started having counselling to release some old issues and help me set some goals around life, health and wellbeing. The experience changed me profoundly and one night, when I was feeling the love for and confidence in myself, I had an idea.
It was just a little idea at first. I’d learned so much and come so far because of the counselling I’d had. What if some of what I’d learned could help others? What if I could help others?
I started to build on the idea, talk about it with close friends, read, research and write things down. I found myself thinking about it all the time. And then it hit me like a left hook you don’t see coming. I had found my purpose. I cried.
It’s different for everyone but for me, having a purpose means that I’m contributing, that I’m useful, that I matter.
If you’re feeling lost and like you can’t find the way, I’d like to share 4 things you can do to help get some clarity about your purpose.
Find a quiet space and write down your answers to the following questions. Turn off the censors, filters and judgment. Give yourself permission to go for it and be really honest. No one will see your answers. It’s just for you.
1. How do you want to feel?
What are the feelings you most want in your life? Here are some ideas: Happy, secure, free, passion, love, comfort, creative, successful, calm, empowered, connected, fearless, content.
Write a list of all the feelings you want to feel. When you’re done re-write the list in order from most important to least important.
2. What lights you up?
Now you have your list look at the top 3 feelings you want to feel. Let’s say it looks like this:
Write down all the things you do that make you feel that way. It doesn’t matter what it is, just get it on paper. Here are some examples:
* I feel connection when – I spend time with my family, someone confides in me, I help people.
* I feel love when – I visit my nanna, I help people, my partner hugs me.
* I feel creative when I – write, draw, dance, sing, solve problems.
3. Identify the overlap
Now you know how you want to feel and what makes you feel that way have a look at where your lists overlap.
Read through your answers to question 2 and see if you wrote any of the same, or similar, things for more than one feeling. Can you make connections, see patterns or get ideas about the ‘what’ and ‘how’ of your purpose from your answers.
For example, I wrote that I feel connection and love when I help people and that I feel creative when I write and solve problems. That might suggest I’d feel purposeful if I spend time helping people solve problems through writing. Have a look at your list and see what it’s trying to tell you.
4. Be kind to yourself
Over and above all of this please be kind to yourself. You don’t have to have everything figured out instantly. Sometimes (despite our best intentions) it takes time. Give yourself a break and make time for fun. It’s often in the fun that we find the things that fuel us, fascinate us and get the fire in our bellies burning.
The Wrap Up
My purpose is helping others. Helping them see their worth. Helping them love themselves and live a life that makes them happy. I’d given up on finding my purpose but I got there in the end. If it can happen for me, it can happen for you too. Sometimes it might feel like you’re going nowhere, making zero progress, but trust that it’s all part of the process. Trust that your purpose will come to you in its own sweet time, because I truly believe you have something beautiful to offer the world.
Sarah Jensen is a writer, motivator and self-confessed chocaholic. She believes in straightforward, soulful communication and her mission is to help frazzled, frustrated women step into their power and design the life of their dreams. Her life purpose is to help you love yourself and love your life. You can connect with Sarah via her website, Facebook page, Twitter or Instagram.