Life is less satisfying if you can barely drag yourself out of bed to drive to a job you don’t enjoy.
Unfortunately, it’s easy to take the well-paying job that doesn’t seem so bad at first. The years pass, and you receive a promotion or two. You buy a house, have kids, and it seems that you’ll be stuck in that job forever.
On the other hand, living your life’s purpose allows your life to be filled with excitement and happiness.
It’s possible to find your life’s purpose and earn a living from it, even if you’re past the age of 30. It’s never too late!
Try these techniques to explore your life’s purpose:
1. Write it down. This method has been shown to be very effective. Find a nice, quiet spot, preferably outdoors. Take out a notebook and a pen. Write “My Life’s Purpose” at the top of the page and start writing whatever pops into your mind.
If you find yourself thinking, “This is a dumb idea,” write it down. Did you think about how mad you are that the Rams blew it at the Super Bowl? Write that down, too.
Ask yourself, “What is my life’s purpose?” Listen to the answer you receive. There might be a lot of mental garbage before you get to the good stuff. Continue asking until you get an answer that resonates with you.
How will you know you’ve found it? You’ll feel some emotion, perhaps even cry. When a simple idea can make you cry, you’ve stumbled on something meaningful.
2. How would you spend the last year of your life? You probably wouldn’t watch reruns of Gilligan’s Island or sit around and pout. You’d live!
What would you do? Most likely it would be a mix of fun and meaningful activities. What meaningful activities would you do during your last year alive?
3. What did you dream about doing as a child? Did you want to be a doctor? An animal trainer?
Have you ever heard a child state she wanted to sit in a cubicle all day and underwrite insurance? Probably not! Get in touch with your inner child and think about the things that excited you as a youngster.
4. Volunteer. But don’t just go out and randomly volunteer down the street. Look at all the volunteer opportunities in your area and choose the one that appeals to you the most.
In my 20’s I volunteered for quite some time at a phone hotline for victims of abuse. Looking back I think that might have been one of the first sparks I had for connecting with my internal desire to help others and my natural ability to calm, empathize and coach a victim to not give up hope.
Contributing to others gives you a mental break from your own problems. Your life’s purpose might reveal itself to you in the process.
5. If you were given the mission of saving the world, how would you do it? What world problem is most meaningful to you? How could you contribute to solving it? Start small, but get started. You might find a lot of meaning in doing something that benefits everyone.
6. What are you good at doing? What are your natural talents? What seems to come naturally for you that others seem to struggle with?
Ask your trusted friends and family for their observations. Most likely there are things they’ve noticed that you don’t see simply because they do come easy for you. It’s natural to make the assumption “Doesn’t everyone know how to do that?” The answer is “No”!
At the end of the day, you must make your own choices. But ask for feedback from those closest to you.
7. What are you willing to do without getting paid? How do you spend your free time? Do you love to restore cars or play the piano? Imagine if you could earn a living from something you’d do for free!
The things you enjoy are clues to your passion and purpose.
But it isn’t always literal. While I have heard of someone who had a love of bike riding as child go on to create a career leading bike tours in exotic locations, more often there’s an element or characteristic about the hobby or passion that speaks to what you love. For example, perhaps in this instance it’s the feeling of freedom or love of being outdoors that’s the key.
Get out of the rut your life has become. Make today be the day you determined the course of the remainder of your life. It’s possible to live your live with passion and excited expectation. Do the work required to find your purpose. You’ll be glad you did.
After you’ve invested a lot of years in a career or industry it can feel like the only way out is to start over, the thought of which can feel so daunting and overwhelming.
With good energy,
Debra Wilson Guttas, Life Transition Sherpa™, HTP
“Supporting and inspiring women in life transition, and cancer recovery, to craft lives with more purpose and passion.”
Author of the best-selling book “7 Keys to Coping with Cancer – How You Can Feel Good AND THRIVE (from someone who’s been there)