We all carry a mental treasure trove of important memories, moments, and people. I challenge you to recall an instance in your life when you felt uber-confident and excited about what you were doing. I’m talking about those moments when you were being in flow and utilizing your inner power. What was it that you were doing when you wanted to stand on top of a mountain and beam your message to the world?
In my personal experience, I connected with my life’s purpose once I went back into my own reservoir of life’s memories. I recognized those moments when I was using my one-and-only life story or my uniquely empowered message to make my impact on the world. I’ve discovered that teaching entrepreneurs how to build a business around their dream life is what makes my own pulse quicken.
The secret to your unique life purpose is already inside you. At its very core—no matter what it is—your life’s purpose should make a positive impact in other people’s lives.
Everyone’s life purpose is unique to them. For some people, playing the piano is what makes their heart sing. Other people find that teaching Spanish brings them immeasurable joy. Whatever it is for you, learning how to channel the gifts you can use to serve other people is what will make your life and work inherently purposeful.
You, too, can build a business around your inner power. You can use your unique life story to change others’ lives. But first, you need to recognize and connect with your own purpose in life…
When you’re not sure what your life’s purpose is, you will flounder through life, careers, and relationships, hoping to stumble upon that one thing which fills your proverbial spiritual cup. Going through the motions of your life without your purpose means that you’ll constantly be searching for something.
If you’re not sure yet what your life’s purpose is, don’t fret. Many of us lose sight of what our life purpose is as we navigate adulthood. The expectations of family and spouses, societal demands, pressures to be traditionally successful—not to mention our own inner monologues—can undermine the best efforts to live a purpose-driven life.
How do you winnow down the inner mental clutter and put your hands on your own inner purpose? I suggest that you start simply by listening to what your heart is telling you. When your heart affirms your life purpose, you’ll be positive, inspired, focused, and creative. When your heart knows that you’re on the wrong path, you’ll feel anxious, temperamental, unsettled, and worn-out.
One way to tune into what your heart is telling you is to ask yourself what you would do if you didn’t need the money. If money were no object, would you still work in your current field? Or, would you be doing something else entirely? Your heart is your best tool to access what you truly love to do, which inspires your inner purpose and passions.
Adam Leipzig’s How to Know Your Life Purpose in 5 Minutes TEDx Talk asks “What do you love to do? You love to write, cook, design…write code, crunch numbers, talk, teach…and if there are a lot of things that come up for you, focus it down by asking yourself this one question: ‘What is the one thing that right now you feel supremely qualified to teach other people?’ Think about that in one word.’”
That one word can help you define your own life purpose.
But what if you’re still not sure? What if that “one word” alludes you? What then?
Then answer is: get curious.
A life lived with vigor and curiosity is a life well-lived. If your inner spark has been dim for a long while, you may need to rejuvenate your sense of wonder.
Make yourself an adventurer in your daily life. That could mean that you finally book that trip abroad and add some stamps to that dusty passport. Or that could mean you make dates with friends to find out about their jobs and their lives. You could sign up for an art class, a marathon, or a week-long creative retreat. Any activity which causes you to push your current boundaries is beneficial.
By awakening yourself to the myriad possibilities of the world around you, you’ll start to awaken to your true purpose. When you find something—whatever that something is—which infuses your body and mind with energy and excitement, take heed. Observe what people, places, and activities relight your inner spark, so you can channel that feeling into action.
One of the basic laws of physics is that movement begets more movement, while static objects remain fixed. An object in motion stays in motion—this is true of metal balls down a slope, and this is true of human beings.
Now that you’ve put mental energy into identifying your life’s purpose and relighting your inner fire, it’s time to put your physical energy into fulfilling that purpose. Realizing your life’s purpose means that you’re not only in touch with that purpose, but that you’re acting to build the life you want around it.
Your purpose should be something which you do on a daily basis; it might become your career, your volunteer work, or your creative pursuit.
Many of us undermine our efforts to explore our life’s purpose by overthinking the possible outcomes. What if we don’t know what we’re doing? What if we can’t make enough money? What if we give up a lucrative job and we hate our new role in six months?
Mark off tiny steps toward your goal until you feel ready to take those big steps. When you’re inspired, you’ll rejoice in your successes (even the tiny ones). Those small inspirations can help keep you moving forward until you’re ready to make huge leaps of faith, even if you’re scared.
One of the most challenging parts of living your life’s purpose is learning to tamp down the negative self-talk. When you start down your new path, your negative internal chatter may tell you “You’re not good enough! You’re taking a risk! You’re going to fail! You’re a fraud!”
Any sea captain will tell you uncharted waters are scary. They can be dark, full of strong currents and proverbial sea monsters. One key to living a purpose-driven life is learning how to trust the journey; you don’t have to cross the whole ocean in a day. Start in the harbor, learn there and then venture further out. The more experience you gain, the more those fearful inner voices will grow quiet.
According to best-selling author Elizabeth Gilbert, your fear about the unknown serves a purpose: it keeps our species alive. But when it is time to create, fear is boring. She says, “So have a little conversation with your fear when it starts to get riled up when you’re trying to do something creative. Let it know, ‘I’m just trying to write a poem, no one’s going to die.’ But don’t try to go to war against it, that’s such a waste of energy. Just converse with it and then move on.”
When you’re doing what you love, your path will unfurl in an organic way. Because of your internal motivation, roadblocks and hurdles will become a chance for education and self-improvement, rather than failure.
Veering off your well-trodden path to try something new may raise the concerns of those closest to you. They may try to dissuade you from embarking on your new path. Realize that you owe it yourself to live your life in a way which defines your own purpose, and nobody else’s. Trust that you are on the exact right path for you, and the naysayers’ voices will eventually fade into the background.