What is the meaning of life and how do you even go on about finding your purpose in life? These types of questions used to haunt me. It wasn’t long ago that I had inner battles that made me overwhelmed and so full of anxiety that I would just give up living. I had a job that left me unfulfilled, undervalued and tired as hell. I was so used to being unappreciated that I felt like maybe my talent wasn’t good enough, that I wasn’t good enough. If they couldn’t see it, then maybe I didn’t have ‘it’. Have you ever felt like that? Maybe you’re at a job that’s going nowhere. Maybe you settled for something because it gives you that steady income. Maybe you’re scared to leave your job because even though it’s not perfect, it’s ‘good enough’. Still, deep in your heart, you know that you are meant for so much more. This longing in your heart is your purpose calling you. Pulling you. Sending you messages everyday that there is something out there waiting for you.
I spent countless days sitting on my couch binge-watching shows I had already seen many times while mindlessly eating without motivation, emotion or energy to change my life. I had just quit my full time job because I had reached my limit of working long hours on something I didn’t love. I took a leap, but fell short because I didn’t use that motivation to propel me towards my dreams, I just… gave up. Still that longing that my purpose was out there kept whispering in my ear. I just didn’t know what it was and I was scared to look for it. I was scared of failing. I was scared that I wasn’t special enough to venture out on my own. I considered looking for another full time job somewhere, another comfort zone, but I dreaded going back into that cubbie life. So I panicked a lot… I was desperate to find meaning and I couldn’t shake that whisper, that tiny glimpse of freedom. Problem was, I had no idea how to find it, I didn’t know where to begin or if it was even real. Then one day, out of the blue I saw my purpose right in front of me.
Your Purpose Has Been Knocking On Your Door Your Whole Life
Stop trying to find it and let it come to you. The secret to finding your purpose in life is to stop obsessing over it and learn to listen to it. Trust me, it’s trying to show you the way right now. It may not be in your face all the time, but it leaves little crumbs for you to find. All you have to do is be mindful and find them.
Actually, Steven Spielberg has a pretty cool take on this: “Dreams always come from behind you, not right between your eyes. It sneaks up on you. It doesn’t often come at you screaming in your face, ‘This is who you are, this is what you must be for the rest of your life.’ Sometimes a dream almost whispers. And I’ve always said to my kids, the hardest thing to listen to—your instincts, your human personal intuition—always whispers; it never shouts. Very hard to hear. So you have to, every day of your lives, be ready to hear what whispers in your ear. And if you can listen to the whisper, and if it tickles your heart, and it’s something you think you want to do for the rest of your life, then that is going to be what you do for the rest of your life, and we will benefit from everything you do.”
Pay Attention to What You Love to Do
So here’s a way you can start listening to your purpose, Oprah said it best: ‘Follow your passion, it will lead you to your purpose.’ Have you ever done something where you loose track of time? Maybe you were writing, playing basketball, talking to a friend, painting… and suddenly it’s 5 in the afternoon and you forgot to eat so you skipped breakfast AND lunch. Oh! Also you we’re so transfixed by what you were doing that you took no bathroom breaks and it didn’t even bother you? That, my friend, is called being in ~flow state~.
Flow state is the greatest indicator of your passion. You are in such an ecstatic state, so full of joy that you almost feel like you don’t exist. Almost haha. It’s like you have a full on out of body experience where you are flowing in all the creativity and joy in the world. I know when I write or design I just get lost in the beauty of it and time just flows on by. I am at my best when I write or design… That’s another thing, you can be multi passionate, its totally ok! Because all of your passions in one way or another contribute to your purpose.
Ask the Enchanted Mirror
Here’s another way you can enhance those purpose whispers. Take a page out of Steve Job’s outlook on life. Every morning he looks in the mirror and asks himself directly, ‘If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I’m about to do today?’ If his answer is no for multiple days in a row, then he decides that something needs to change. He did this for over 33 years.
There’s something about truly looking at yourself that sparks change. I know for years I mindlessly did my makeup in the mirror, or rushed through my mornings and never really looked at myself. Not truly anyway. The day I started taking a moment and being mindful, everything changed. Because when I finally glanced up and locked eyes with myself, I couldn’t ignore my unhappiness anymore. Since the moment I confronted myself, I decided to stop binge-watching Netflix and actually change my life by living purposefully. Kinda like Steve Jobs!
Focus on Your Lifestyle
In the spirit of letting your purpose come to you, I ask you… what kind of life do you dream of having? Whatever that looks like, you can start right now. Even at a desk job, even without being a millionaire (yet!), you can start living differently. You can start incorporating little things here and there that add joy to your life, that bring you closer to that dream of yours.
Lead your life with joy and your purpose will follow. Because when you’re being passionate and joyful, those purpose whispers become a tiny bit louder for you to hear.
Stop Putting So Much Pressure On Your Purpose
A purpose is not a be all end all. I think a very common misconception about a purpose is that it’s your ONE true calling FOREVER. That it will solve all of your questions, heal all of your problems and basically become a magic cure-all for your life. I just want to say that while living a purposeful life is rewarding and makes life more joyful… it is definitely not a cure-all. A purpose grows as you grow, it expands and becomes bigger as you learn. It may also change! It may start as something and evolve into an entirely different thing and that’s ok! Because a purpose in its most pure form is a feeling, your motivation for life, not life itself.
Take Oprah for example, girl has done and been everything! Talk show host, writer, producer, actor, a spiritual leader, you name it! But at the heart of it all, her calling, her purpose is to help people HEAL. Which gives her JOY. Which makes life worthwhile…
Finding Your Purpose in Life
A purpose or a purposeful life is living with passion. Doing what you love and loving yourself. It’s about taking control of your life, not letting your life control you. It’s about looking at yourself in the mirror every morning and beam with pride, knowing that you are doing the best you can. It’s about making little changes here and there that add a sprinkle of joy to your life every day until it piles up and your life is more joyful because of it. It’s about giving yourself time to find that passion that sparks that flow state and doing it everyday.
In time your purpose will reveal itself. So instead of wanting and needing to know why you’re here and what you’re here to do, trust that your purpose is being given to you. If you start being mindful of your life and decide today to do at least one thing that brings you joy everyday, your purpose will not be far behind.
I actually created a fool-proof system of questions to find your purpose that is super easy and takes the pressure off. I even made a cool FREE WORKBOOK that you can print out, you can access it here or at the end of this post.
How do you feel about your purpose? Have you found it yet? Let me know in your comments!