In the post You Already Know What Your Purpose Is, I explained that none of us have just one purpose, like an obligation, which we must find in order to be happy. I also made the argument that we all basically already know what our purpose is and always have. But I continue to receive questions from people searching for their life purpose and passion on a very regular basis, so I’ve decided to write about this topic again, this time more specifically.
While I started off with the plan to write one of my mega posts (you know the ones by now), something unexpected happened during the creative process – something that happens to me rather frequently, actually. What started off as a simple article turned into a full blown workbook with exercises and examples. I had set the intention to answer people’s questions on how to find your purpose, and apparently, this is what y’all want. So, I’ve created a 24-page PDF e-book for you to download, and yes, it’s all free. You’re welcome.
If you’re already on my mailing list, you’ll have received the link to the download in today’s email. If you’re not, then I’m asking you to sign up for the list in order to access the download. You’ll also get access to my free (for now) E-book Deliberate Receiving, which fully explains the Law of Attraction. If you haven’t read that yet (or listened to the audio, which is also free), you’re totally missing out and you should get on that right away.
Ok, back to how you can find your purpose:
First of all, I’d like to explain that this is not some exercise you can knock out in an afternoon. The internet is full of such techniques and exercises and if they worked, you wouldn’t be reading this post right now. This is more like a process of discovery, one that never really ends. This is because…
Your purpose can and will change
Or rather, how you realize your purpose can and most likely will change over time. What do I mean by that? Well, while most people who are searching for their purpose are looking for something very specific, like what kind of business they should open, or a particular job description, it’s actually much more general than that. And as you grow and change and figure out more of the details of what you want and don’t want, the activities that allow you to realize your passion will morph to fit all that new criteria (providing you allow that). In simpler terms, as you grow and evolve (which you’re always doing, you can’t help it), the jobs and hobbies that make you happy will grow and evolve along with you. Activities that used to ring your bells may no longer do so. You begin to lose interest in some things, and discover a passion for others.
Your actual purpose is general
Because the way your purpose can manifest will change over time, it’s much better and ultimately more successful to focus on your general core purpose rather than specific jobs or activities that may fit it. I’ll use myself as an example.
My own purpose is to be a teacher, to help others, to uplift others, and to be a happy shiny puppy. Notice how general these terms are. I didn’t say what kind of teacher, or how I’d uplift others, or what kind of help I should provide.
I’ve manifested this purpose in very different ways in my life. As a restaurant and later technology manager, I was primarily a teacher. As a waitress in my teens and as a casino dealer later, I was an uplifter (cheering people up just by being cheery myself) and helper (assisting however I could). I also volunteered at an animal shelter and I have a long history of making friends with those who no one else would be friends with (I’ve broken this pattern, as it often involved trying to help those whom I could not help). And, apart from some dark periods in my life where my resistance got the better of me, I always tended toward being a happy shiny puppy. Even when I was two years old, I found those on the playground who needed help and befriended them. If someone gave me a piece of candy, I made sure that everyone else got one too. And apparently I could brighten a room pretty much from the day I was born. My “purpose” always shone through loud and clear.
Just because it’s your purpose, doesn’t mean you don’t have to practice
There’s another misconception that I’d like to put to rest: Just because something is your purpose, doesn’t mean that you’ll automatically be a master at all the ways in which you could express it. Rather, it means that
- It comes through in pretty much everything you do.
- You’re happiest when you allow yourself to pursue the activities aligned with your purpose
- When you get it right, when you figure out how to let your purpose flow, you feel a joy and passion that nothing else can give you.
Although it’s my purpose to help others, I wasn’t always very good at it. I tried to help indiscriminately. If I thought that someone needed help (notice that this does not mean that they actually did), I sprung into action. I annoyed a lot of people that way, and it took quite some time before I realized that I couldn’t help everyone, nor did I need to.
It’s also my purpose to teach, but I wasn’t always very good at that, either. Sometimes I’d have raving successes and sometimes I’d have abysmal failures. Again, it took many years before I discerned the difference between the two. I was often trying to teach those that didn’t want to learn from me. And although I did seem to have a natural talent for breaking things down, over time, I got a hell of a lot better at it (and I will continue to).
I have also always translated energy, only I wasn’t aware of it. So, sometimes people would hang on every word I’d say (the attention of which I’d love). And sometimes they’d disregard me completely. In an attempt to get that attention (and feel the flow, but I wasn’t consciously aware of that part then), I’d say pretty much anything that came into my mind. I lacked the ability to discern what was important or channeled, and what was just the result of my random thoughts. So, I just verbalized every thought. It was kind of like using a machine gun to hit a bulls eye.
And, I was not a happy shiny puppy my entire life. I started off that way, got sucker punched by the reality around me, reacted to it, and hit some really dark times. But my core intention to be happy (which, by the way, everyone has) eventually won out. I found ways to be silly and joyful in the most unlikely ways (and not always considered appropriate in the school or corporate system).
But even though I wasn’t all that great at any of these skills, every once in a while I’d get one right. I’d uplift someone with my words (often when I wasn’t even trying, which is when the energy and wisdom flowed), I’d teach someone something that really helped them, I’d say or do something that truly helped someone, or I’d become aware of the fact that I’d just made someone feel better. And each time I’d have a win like that, I felt a rush of energy – passion, love, happiness, satisfaction. It just felt so RIGHT. I wanted more of that feeling and little else in my life could compare to it.
Your purpose can (and will) be expressed through any activity
I got better at all of these skills because I continuously pursued activities that incorporated them, often without even realizing it. I’ve had more jobs than I have fingers and toes, worked in 4 major career fields, been everything from a graveyard shift waitress to the Head of Operations, and I incorporated one or more of my purpose skills into each job. I found a way to manifest my purpose everywhere I went, or rather, my purpose always shone through.
And each job I had gave me the opportunity to refine my skills, to get better at teaching, reading energy, and uplifting (if you can cheer up a drunk dude from whom you’ve just “taken” $200.000, you can cheer up anyone). Each experience brought me closer to where I am today – a place where I can consciously incorporate my purpose into my work, and do so in a way that is almost always wildly successful. If it hadn’t been for all of those other jobs and experiences, I wouldn’t be where I am today.
I could not have done what I do now when I was 20. At that time, I had WAY too much resistance and insecurities to notice the subtle difference between someone who’s nearly ready to be helped and someone who is ready. I couldn’t differentiate between those who were a match to my help and those who weren’t. It’s like I was painting houses with a paint sprayer and now I’m using a tiny brush to paint masterpieces. I simply didn’t have the skill or the knowledge or the awareness necessary to work at the level at which I do now.
We are always manifesting ways to improve our Core Purpose Skills
I did, however, get drawn to the perfect job at each moment of my life to teach me what I was ready to learn at that very moment. Over time, I was perfectly prepared to be here, right now, and I’m certain that I’m continuing to prepare perfectly for whatever’s next.
So you see, being a manager, or a dealer, or a technical sales person, or an Assistant manager at a jewelry store, or an English teacher, or Operations Head was not my purpose. All of those jobs (and many others) helped me to act out different aspects of my purpose and become better at them. And that process will continue for the rest of my life.
Ok, now that I’ve told you a bit of my own story in order to illustrate my point, let’s get down to brass tacks. If you, at this moment, have no idea what your purpose is and are desperately searching for what you “should be doing”, here’s my advice on how to figure out your next move.
Step 1 – Stop looking
If you’re looking for a specific activity that will ring your bells and you’re coming up empty, stop looking. Your purpose is general and so, if you want to line up with and receive some clarity, you need to focus generally. Stop doing what isn’t working.
Step 2 – Look for a pattern
Make a list of all the jobs you’ve ever had, all the activities you’ve been a part of (like clubs, hobbies, etc.) and write down what you liked about them and what you didn’t like about them. For each job or activity, explore the following:
1.) Think back and remember which experiences you had that filled you with joy or a sense of great satisfaction. These events can be small and may at first seem insignificant. Don’t just focus on things like winning awards. It could be when you had a conversation with someone that made you feel great, or when you finished a project and were really happy with how you did it. In fact, the most significant events will often be those where you tried the least but which somehow just flowed and worked out.
a. What aspects of the event gave you the greatest sense of satisfaction?
b. Why? What did this make you want more of?
2.) Remember the incidents that brought you the most frustration. When something didn’t go well, or you weren’t successful, what frustrated you the most?
a. What went wrong?
b. What would you have wanted to have happen instead?
Now, try to look for patterns – core intentions (like teaching or helping, etc.) that show up again and again. I’d like to stress that you will almost certainly need more than an afternoon to do this properly. Take a few days and let the memories come. As they do, write them down and look for patterns as you go. (The workbook will make this easy for you, with more explanations and examples).
Step 3 – Identify the core purpose skills and focus on them
Once you’ve identified some aspects or skills of your core purpose, it’ll be easy for you to see how they’ve shown up again and again in your life.
Now, at this point, you could simply trust that your purpose will continue to come through no matter what you do (do you see how the details aren’t nearly as important as you thought?), but that would most likely be kind of an unsatisfactory answer. So, here’s how to deliberately increase how much passion you feel in your life:
Figure out what you are doing RIGHT NOW in your life that is letting some of that purpose shine though. If your purpose is to help others, for example, how are you doing that now? And remember, there are infinite ways to help others. You don’t have to be a firefighter.
Step 4 – Figure out how successful you are at expressing your purpose right now
Determine if it feels mostly good when you are trying to help others or if it’s still hit and miss. You can now deliberately dissect why some instances are hit and why some are miss. For example, I noticed that I often helped the most successfully when it happened inadvertently – when I wasn’t even really trying. And that the harder I tried, the less successful my attempts were. Over time, I learned to relax and follow my intuition, instead of trying to push my help onto everyone indiscriminately.
Step 5 – Release the obstacles
When I stopped trying to help everyone, I had a lot of discomfort – especially when I saw someone in need. I wanted to help and the idea that I couldn’t tore me apart. Again, over time, I realized that in order to be comfortable with helping only those whom I could actually help, I had to drop the belief that it was my obligation to help everyone. In fact, it wasn’t my obligation to help anyone at all; it was my intention. I wanted to help; I didn’t need to. I figured out that no one could help everyone (not even Jesus or Buddha could), and that trying to do so was trying to do the impossible. I wasn’t ever going to be successful. And so, I dropped this belief. I realized that there were plenty of people whom I could help, and that if I could find a way to let those people come to me, I’d cut down my failure rate to nearly zero (there’s always more to learn, and those “failures” help us to evolve).
The process of becoming better at expressing my purpose caused me to release the resistance I had that made it harder for me to do so.
It’s a life long journey
Figuring out your core purpose is relatively easy. Finding ways to express that purpose and becoming really good at it, that’s a life long journey. You can speed this journey up by working on it deliberately (as described above), which simply means you can get to the point where you feel that you are successfully realizing your purpose much faster. You will always continue to evolve and so will the ways in which you express your passion.
Don’t worry too much if the exercises aren’t totally clear. The Workbook gives more explanation on each and provides examples for each step so you know exactly what’s being asked of you. I’m so freaking excited about this! I sat down to write a blog post, which normally takes me 1-2 hours, and woke up 8 hours later with, well, this.
You can get access to this workbook simply by signing up for my email. Just use the form below to sign up and you’ll get immediate access to the download page.
Now it’s your turn: Was this post helpful to you? Do you now feel that you understand what your purpose really is or how to go about finding it? Or do you already know what your purpose is? I look forward to receiving your feedback in the comments.