If you find yourself shuffling through your 20’s, 30’s, 40’s (or even later) and feeling the disappointment of not knowing your life purpose, be assured there’s still time.
You may be surprised to discover you actually have more in common with Julia Child, Vincent van Gogh, JK Rowling and Oprah than you realized, because as these highly successful and purpose-filled people eventually figured out, your dreams have no age limit – and neither does your souls purpose.
Most of us struggle to know what we want to do with our lives, even if we’ve already finished school, got a job, changed careers, met our life partner or had children.
The length of time or number of attempts and reattempts it takes to discover your ‘calling’ isn’t the issue. The problem lays in the possibility of regret – in never having acknowledged what our purpose might be and then acted on it.
Finding your purpose means finding a way to impact the world in a way that fulfills and satisfies you. Your purpose aligns with your dreams, your values and your actions.
It gives meaning to your existence.
Mark Twain famously declared that “the two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.”
So how do you find out why you were born?
Trust that you really do have a higher purpose
Just because you haven’t discovered it yet, it doesn’t mean you won’t! Don’t beat yourself up. Instead, see any ‘wrong turns’ as an opportunity to figure out what you don’t want. Know that some of the most purpose-filled people are those who have reinvented themselves time and time again.
Listen to your inner knowing
Learning to find and then live your purpose can be an inside job. You need to do a little soul-searching. So go somewhere you can sit without distraction and connect with yourself in a way that works for you. Journal. Meditate. Speak to someone you trust. Just get out of your head and into your heart — this is where you’ll be guided to the answer.
Identify your passions, your values, and your goals
Download our purpose-exploring exercise by clicking below and answer some or all of the questions — without judgment. Highlight any common ideas that begin to emerge.
Take action, every day
Once you begin to hone in on your passions, values and goals, work on aligning them with your actions. Commit to honoring them as best you can, every day. How can you take action right now, even on a small scale? Once you start taking inspired action, notice how it feels.
Passion is the key to a purposeful life. When you are inspired and connected to what brings you joy, you find the motivation to create and experience even more of what lights you up.
Think about your answers from our purpose-exploring exercise and connect them to the idea of helping others. How can you use your purpose to leave a lasting effect on the world? Is there an issue you care about? How can you start to solve it? You may not fix all of humanity’s problems on your own, but you can contribute. Making a difference can be fulfilling.
According to Jess Lively jesslively.com the equation for finding your purpose is this:
Your Talent + Helping People = Purpose.
Jess believes your purpose is always to help others in whatever way you can — in this present moment.
Don’t just make it about money
If you can channel your calling into a career, then great! However, living on-purpose can be achieved in many ways – it doesn’t have to be in your job or the way you make a living.
In his well-known narrative, Alan Watts encourages you to do what you desire or what makes you itch — and forget about the money:
“If you say that getting the money is the most important thing, you will spend your life completely wasting your time. You’ll be doing things you don’t like doing in order to go on living — that is to go on doing things you don’t like doing — which is stupid,” he says.
Listen to his full talk here . Powerful stuff.
Define your own version of success
Success is really about living life on-purpose. No one, however well-meaning, can tell you what that purpose is or what you should be doing. Do not live your own life by someone else’s definition of success.