You’ll know it when you feel it. Here’s how.
Finding what your purpose in life is can feel like hiking cross-country without a map.
You can get lost in the maze of self-analysis and the structure and limitations of the mind. Bad directions from the many myths about life purpose can steer you off track, leaving you spinning your tires for far too long.
You might know you’re headed in generally-the-right-direction, but that inner calling (the one that seems like it should be so easy to make contact with) can remain elusive.
When people come to me to help them find their purpose, they are usually looking for direction. They want to feel connected to something larger than themselves and they crave a sense of meaning in their lives — but they don’t know where to find these things.
I help connect the dots between “this is what I want” and “these are the tools to help you do it,” so they can map their lives with purpose and intention, without getting stressed.
One of the connect-the-dot moments I usually share is the relationship between life purpose and spirituality.
If we believe that we have a life purpose, we acknowledge that we are a part of something greater than ourselves.
Having a life purpose implies that there is a purpose to our life — that it is not random, or for no reason.
Because of this, spiritual teachings offer us significant insight into how and where we might discover our life purpose.
Spiritually speaking, we each have a role in the divine unfolding of things. In a way, it is impossible not to live our life purpose — because we are our life purpose.
However, for those of us who want to understand our unique contribution and live it in a meaningful way, we can focus in on what we are meant to do.
Here are seven ways to find that focus, in our quest to find our life purpose.
- Embrace your expression of self.
Our purpose in life is a natural manifestation of who we are. In fact, at their heart, our “life purpose” and “who we are” are the same exact thing.
Our personal expression — with all of its quirks and beauty — is the foundation on which we build our purpose in the world.
Finding your purpose in life is not about looking outside of yourself for a space where you might fit into the world. Instead, turn your gaze inward, cultivate your own essence, and you will define your purpose.
- Watch for the feelings associated with alignment.
When we are talking about life purpose, we are usually talking about the alignment between who we truly are and what we are doing in the world.
This means that our core self is being as fully expressed as possible in the activities that we are doing in our life, which we call our life purpose.
Alignment leaves us feeling vibrant, dynamic and alive.
- Do no harm.
From a spiritual perspective, our life purpose cannot be something that harms others.
Regardless of the specific spiritual perspective, respect for all things is commonly shared as a central tenant of spirituality.
Your life purpose can manifest in different ways. Pay attention to the version you are expressing and make sure it is the one with the most positive impact.
- Prepare for simplicity.
Finding what your purpose in life is can seem like a dauntingly big question that must have a proportionally big answer.
Oftentimes people over-complicate their life purpose. They want it to be something specific and detailed — like a job description.
Our life purpose is usually a lot simpler than we make it out to be. In fact, the simpler your purpose is, the more likely you are on the right track.
- Pay attention to the flow of your life.
One of the ways to know that we are onto our life purpose is when something feels easier and more effortless than other things in our life.
We might not experience this right off the bat, especially if what we are doing requires training. But even in the times of challenge, if we look closely, we will see that what we are doing is perhaps easier for us than it is for others.
In other cases, we might notice that we become completely engrossed in what we are doing in a really pleasant way. These are signs that you are doings something related to your life purpose.
- Look at what you love.
One of the fastest and easiest ways to finding your purpose in life is to take a look at what you truly love.
Love art? Awesome. Love math? Awesome. Love cooking, planting flowers, or traveling?
The things you love give you invaluable insight into your life purpose.
Often times I ask people to make a list of what they love and then we look for the commonalities between the items on the list. This helps them clarify their life purpose.
- Learn from how you love.
It is not just what you love that gives you insight, but also how you love.
How you love shows you something about what is important to you.
How you go about life shows you what your style is and what your values are. Your values are instrumental in clarifying your life purpose.
For example, you may love to teach, but it is how you teach, with kindness and clarity, that helps you see your life purpose more clearly.
Regardless of where you are in the process of finding your purpose in life, taking a look in these areas will help you refine it a bit more.
Dr. Kate Siner is a teacher, mentor, and author who helps clients create lives of meaning, fulfillment, and purpose. She helps gifted, dedicated, and caring people to live fiercely, love fully, and care more. If you want to develop your life purpose even more, you might enjoy Dr. Siner’s Life Purpose Video Series.