Desperate to find your purpose and change direction in life? Ready to quit your 9 to 5 or pivot your business? Wondering how to find your purpose so that you can experience freedom, fulfillment, and financial abundance? Ready to make a lot of money doing what you love, but wondering how to get there from where you are today? This article is all about how to find your purpose in life so that you can learn how to change careers at 30, or how to change careers at 50, or how to change careers without a degree, and find a job that you will love or start a business that fulfills you.
I gazed out the window at the world below me from my fancy new office and saw people lining up for the food bank. Damn, I wish I was doing something more meaningful than attending pointless meeting after pointless meeting.
I drop my 2 year old off at daycare. It’s still dark out. We’re the first ones at the door, before the staff have even arrived. I need to leave ASAP because I’ve got a 1.5 hour long commute. I know I’ll be the last one to pick him up at the end of the day too. Damn, I wish I had more time to spend with my kids.
I read about a couple travelling the country in a converted skoolie. I imagine the depths of the Grand Canyon, the peaks of Rocky Mountains, the beaches in Bali. Damn, I wish I had more than 2 weeks of vacation to see the world.
It never aligned.
The corporate ladder I found myself climbing immediately after graduating university, it left me depleted.
The career I thought I wanted, the one everyone said I must be thrilled about, it actually made me miserable.
I didn’t know a life of fulfillment, freedom, and financial abundance was within my reach.
I didn’t know I could build the life and business of my dreams within 2 years.
I thought I was stuck.
You might feel the same way too, if you’re clicking on articles about finding your purpose. I’m happy you found my little corner of the internet. I’m here to help you get unstuck, so that you can create a life you love living.
As a life & business success coach, I help high level CEOs and aspiring entrepreneurs grow thriving businesses while living fulfilling lives. Today, I want to share the 6 steps on how to find your purpose, the biggest reasons most people are not pursuing their purpose, and how you can create a life that you love.
What is your purpose?
Your life purpose is the intersection of your deepest values, your unique abilities, and your biggest passions. It’s the reason you get up in the morning.
You cannot find your purpose without understanding the following three things:
Your values are the things you’ve determined are important to you in life; a set of principles that guide your decisions. Family, freedom, health, adventure, stability, minimalism, luxury, are all examples of values that are held by many people. But what each of your values means to you is unique.
For example, “family” to me means “build a treasure house of happy memories with my kiddos through adventure and travel”. For someone else, “family” might mean “being there, physically and emotionally, for my parents in their old age.” Neither one is “right” or “wrong” but getting specific in what your values are allows you to live in alignment with them.
Related post: How To Live A Happy, Value-Driven Life Of Fulfillment
Your superpowers are the activities you do exceptionally well and feel energized doing. These are skills that come naturally to you, submerge you in a state of flow, and light you up when you get to use them.
For an entrepreneur that might be visioning big ideas, facilitating team conversations, or solving complex problems. For a project manager that might be organizing people and materials, visually displaying information, or hosting meetings.
These are not to be confused with things that you’re good at, but don’t love doing. We all have plenty of those. What makes a superpower a superpower is that you could literally do it all day long and be so freaking happy.
Related post: How To Be Happier With Mindfulness
Your passions are the things that get you fired up, that you could spend all day thinking or speaking about, that give you boundless energy and leave you feeling fulfilled.
Passions are centered around movements that extend beyond your personal narrative (like environmentalism, female empowerment, ethical clothing manufacturing, fair wages, access to clean drinking water, etc.) but they don’t always have to be big “change the whole world” ideas. You can be passionate about creating a clutter free home environment, helping people feel comfortable in their bodies, or making sure kids feel safe and loved.
Your passions are the causes you feel a desire to contribute to. They start as small sparks of interest first, and develop into life passions through experimentation, dedication, and time.
How do you find your purpose?
Over the years of coaching many ambitious, career driven, entrepreneurial humans in finding work that fulfills them, going through my transformation (from feeling stuck in a mediocre job to running the business & living the life of my dreams), and reading every single find-your-purpose book you could get your hands on, I’ve designed a purpose-finding process that works. In this article, I want to outline the key steps in finding your purpose so that you can start creating the life or business of your dreams.
Get clear on what is and isn’t “working” in your life right now
Audit all the different areas of your life and reflect (honestly) about how happy you are in each one. (No, finding your purpose isn’t just about your job/business, it’s about creating a life that is aligned in all areas.)
Related post: How to Do A Life Audit
Reflect on all the different areas of your life including:
- Financial Wealth
- Physical Health
- Mental Health
- Physical Environment (Home)
Ask yourself: What’s currently feeling really good? What isn’t? If you were standing here 3 years from today and it was the most amazing 3 years of your life, how would this area look and feel?
Related post: Building a Meaningful Life
Get clear on what you value
Living a purpose driven life means spending your days in alignment with your values. If the way you spend your time, how you interact with people, and where you work is in conflict with your values, you will be unhappy.
In order to live in alignment with your values, you have to know what your values are. Unfortunately, most people don’t take the time to clearly define their values, and therefore have no idea why they’re so unhappy or what needs to change to find the happiness and fulfillment they’re searching for.
In this article, I provide more depth on how to define your values so that you can live a life of purpose.
Related post: How To Live A Happy, Value-Driven Life Of Fulfillment
Pinpoint your superpowers
Most people find it challenging to recognize their superpowers. Your natural talents and the things that you excel in come so easily to you that you often don’t realize they are unique. By reflecting on the activities that you love doing, give you energy, and make time stand still, while seeking multiple outside perspectives from the people who’ve spent time with you, you can create clarity around your unique gifts and which direction to explore first in the process of finding your purpose.
There is a simple exercise for identifying your superpowers. I remember the day I completed this exercise and discovered that not everybody can stand up in front of a room full of multi million dollar business owners and lead a 2 day strategy session that helped them create a roadmap to grow their businesses.
If this is not your strong suit, you might read that and think OF COURSE NOT… but to me,
- Standing up in front of a room and speaking felt natural.
- Helping people find clarity and determine their direction felt natural.
- Asking good questions and calling people out on their excuses felt natural.
- Organizing and planning a 2 day event felt natural.
Everything about it felt natural.
So when I started defining my own superpowers and realized that ‘asking good questions’ ‘facilitating a large group of people toward a common outcome’, ‘helping people zone in on what’s important and filter out the rest’, were things that I could do exceptionally well, I was confused. Isn’t everybody good at that? No, no they are not.
This exercise helped me appreciate the value I bring to the world and build a life around my unique abilities. Now I coach high level CEOs to help them grow thriving businesses while living fulfilling lives.
To access a pdf workbook of this exercise, join our email community and I’ll drop it directly into your inbox right away.
Look within & ask the tough questions
The reason most people aren’t living in alignment with their purpose is because they haven’t disconnected from the day to day grind long enough to answer the questions that would help them identify it. We are creatures of habit. We get caught in our day to day routines and continue living our lives a certain way just because that’s the way we’ve always done it.
If you want to find your purpose, you need to ask yourself some hard questions and give yourself the space to ponder and answer them. Here are a few to get you started:
- What would you attempt if you knew you could not fail?
- If you had all the money in the world, how would you spend your time?
- When things are going really well in your life, what does that look like?
- What are the movements you’d like to contribute to in your lifetime?
I’ve got 10 questions to find your purpose outlined in this post, which will help you gain clarity when you’re feeling lost and directionless. Grab a pen, a journal, and dig in.
Examine your limiting beliefs & rewrite the narrative
Our brain is so good at getting in our way and keeping us stuck with its limiting beliefs. Too good. In order to bypass self sabotage, you need to become aware of your limiting beliefs and rewrite the narrative in a way that supports you in pursuing your goals.
In this article, I provide an in-depth guide to identifying and overcoming your limiting beliefs.
The most common limiting beliefs holding people back from pursuing their purpose are:
- You can’t make money doing what you love.
- You can either be happy or rich.
- Making a lot of money is a lot of work.
- Work creates stress.
- Success is measured financially.
- Entrepreneurship is too risky.
- I’m not cut out for it. (I’m too … )
If you want to make some changes in your life, you’ll need to become aware of what your brain has to say about it, and override its automatic thought patterns so that it doesn’t hold you back.
Related post: 5 Personal Development Books To Change Your Life
Think & act outside the box
There’s no one right answer to the question “what should I do with my life?”
Too many people put all this pressure on themselves to find the one perfect path to their everlasting joy and wealth, and end up getting nowhere instead. Because the perfect answer doesn’t exist (much to our dismay).
However, your purpose develops as you start taking action. Clarity comes as a result of putting one foot in front of the other.
Start trying stuff. Get creative in matching your superpowers with an income or impact opportunity. Experiment with different hobbies, internships, and volunteer opportunities. Find ways to practice your purpose. Reach out to people you know really well and people you barely know – let them know what you’re looking to do and see if they can open any doors for you. Ask questions. Do unpaid gigs. Shadow someone who is doing what you think you might want to be doing. Try new things. Do a small scale project of your business idea. Just do something, other than crying on the couch on Sunday night.
Your purpose isn’t going to find you, you are going to create it through action.
The quickest way to understand what direction you want to take your life in is to find opportunities to use your superpowers and see how they feel.
If you don’t know where to start, work with a coach.
There is no limit to the ways in which you can use your superpowers to make an income and impact the world in a way that aligns with your values.ANA MCRAE
What holds people back from finding their purpose?
If the path to finding your purpose can be reduced to 6 simple steps, why are 80% of people still stuck in jobs they don’t like? If you’re determined to find your purpose, you should know the top 5 things that hold people back from finding their purpose.
Expecting your purpose to strike like lightning & getting frustrated when it doesn’t
What most people don’t realize about finding your purpose is that it’s a process (if you want to know exactly what that process looks like, check out my signature purpose coaching program)… If you’re expecting to one day wake up and “just know” what you’re meant to be doing with your life, you’ll be waiting an infinitely long time.
You can’t find your purpose, you can only create it.ANA MCRAE
Purpose is created through trial and error. It requires action and courage and time.
If you’re spending your energy beating yourself up for not knowing what your purpose is already, whether you’re 20, or 60, it’s not going to help. Take the pressure off to know exactly what you want to do with your life right this minute.
No, you shouldn’t be ‘further along’ by now. No, what you see on Instagram is NOT real and it is NOT easy to decide, land, and live your dream life in the span of a week.
Related post: Why 80% People Stay In Crappy Jobs They Hate
There are no shortcuts to success or happiness or fulfillment. It. Takes. Time.
Yes, through coaching we can collapse the timeline between where you are and where you want to go, and I love nothing more than helping my clients create wildly fulfilling lives that felt impossible at one point, but it’s still a journey to get there.
Give yourself grace and remind your inner critic that it takes time to build a life you love. If you’re not there yet, that is okay. You will get there.
You will end up where you’re meant to go if you would just stop spinning in circles for a minute, and get intentional about finding your purpose. And that’s exactly what I’m here for — let’s chat about how I can support you in finding your purpose & building a life/business that you love.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed at the fact that you don’t know what you want to do or where you want to be, the most important thing for you to do right now is to take a step back. Relax. Put away your to do list. Get out of your own head. Go for a long hike. Do purposeless activities. Live lightheartedly in the moment and forget about the future. Spend some quality time with the people you love just being present. Fill your cup back up. From that place, it’s always easier to see the big picture more clearly.
Related post: 4 keys to feeling fulfilled in life and work
Staying stuck in your current identity
Your brain sees you in a certain way. “I’m project manager.” “I’m a high school drop out.” “I’m a computer genius.” “I’m an electrician.” For the past however many years, it’s been looking for evidence to support this belief/view (because that’s what the brain does). This can make it feel rather hard to try on different career ideas.
Here’s the thing: the degree you chose to pursue at 17 shouldn’t dictate the life you live until you’re 60.
The way your parents, friends, and peers see you shouldn’t dictate what you do.
The options your brain believes are available to you are a very limited assortment of ideas (which is why it’s so helpful to work with a coach when trying to find your purpose).
You need to start thinking outside the box — way outside the box — if you are unhappy with your job and want to find a career that fulfills you.
How? Ask the right questions. Eliminate the obstacles. Picture yourself in an ideal world. Challenge yourself to come up with as many crazy and wild ideas as possible. Don’t judge your ideas. Don’t think that writing them down means you have to do them. Allow yourself to get creative.
Demanding certainty & guarantees, being unwilling to trust themselves
Pivoting directions in your life, business, or career comes with risk… There’s a risk that you’ll regret your decision, or suffer a financial loss, or alienate people you love.
Most of us want a guarantee that there will be no consequences, or that the risk will pay off. Unfortunately, life doesn’t come with guarantees, and so we tend to stick with “the devil we know” instead of the one we don’t.
But we don’t often consider the cost of inaction… The greatest risk of all is wasting your life in a job/business that drains you.
Life might not come with guarantees but you can cultivate a whole lot of self trust. You can create your own guarantee. You are your safest asset.
You have to be willing to trust yourself.
Everything you’ve ever wanted is on the other side of your comfort zone.ANA MCRAE
You get to decide whether you’re ready to claim it, or whether you’d rather stay stuck.
It can be agonizing to spend your days mindlessly toiling away at a job you don’t enjoy, or running a business that no longer lights you up, wondering when on Earth you will be able to get out of this mess and build a better future.
I’ve been there… I spent months crying in the bathroom every day at work because I felt so unfulfilled. My clients have been there… feeling like they have no other options but desperate to get out of the career they find themselves in.
Related post: How To Reduce Anxiety During Uncertainity
Today, my clients and I are running our dream businesses and living fulfilling lives on our own terms, not because our dream businesses fell into our laps, but because we chose to get very intentional about designing a life and career that gives us freedom, fulfillment, and financial abundance.
The pull to settle for mediocrity, society’s pressure to avoid all risk and play it safe, and our primitive brain’s ability to maintain the status quo and avoid any and all change creates a complacency so powerful that it pulls 80% of the public into an average life of good-enoughness.
But you were made for more.
If you want someone to guide you in finding your purpose, please book a time for us to have a conversation about how I can support you. This is the work that fires me up.
- How To Change Your Life When Your Job Isn’t Right For You
- Finding Balance In Life: Achievement Vs Enjoyment
- How To Determine The Perfect Career For You
How long have you been searching for direction? Let me know in the comments below!