“There is not one big cosmic meaning for all,
there is only the meaning we give to our life.”
What is MY purpose?
This is the recurring question I would ask myself over and over: searching, seeking, arm-wrestling with each day, in a quest to find where my place was in this grand universe.
I have read dozens of books over the years, complete with countless worksheets and self-development exercises to expand my sense of belonging in the world.
And, in the course of my pursuit, I’ve found a custom blend of practical tips + faith that has guided me to discover who I am and feel comfortable with my own authenticity.
Here are 6 tips I’ve found helpful in discovering my purpose:
1. Zoom In on Core Values
With time, as we evolve into more responsibility, commitments, different social circles and professional networks, it becomes increasingly important to know your specific values.
As your day-to-day decisions will ultimately shape your life, it’s important to know where you’re going and which values are guiding you in a specific direction.
When completing the assessment, here are a few tips:
- Take your time with it: it’s perfectly okay to start it and come back to it later. This worksheet doesn’t have to be done in one sitting. In fact, you may find more truth and meaningful values will stem from allowing yourself patience to complete it.
- Be honest: connect with the true essence of who you are.
- Sometimes it is easier to think about the opposite to arrive at your values. For example, what is a trait that irritates you? Or, in other words, what is a trait that would instantly rub you the wrong way when meeting a person for the first time? For me, it’s ego. So, the opposite of this is humility. One of my values, therefore, is humility.
- Reference the bottom of page three of The Core Values Assessment for a list of values to assist with the questions.
2. Understand Your Personality Type
We each have strengths, quirks, and weaknesses that sum us up to the amazing, unique person we individually are. When we know who we are, we can be comfortable in our own skin to discover what we are meant to do.
This 72-question Carl Jung and Briggs Myers personality test will assess your character and recommend careers based on your personality strengths.
At any point, if you struggle with the questions (as the answer choice is a simple “yes” or “no”), you may find it helpful to think back to a time when you were a child or teenager to answer the question most honestly.
Solitude in a noise-free environment—TV off, iTunes off, children in bed, husband in a separate room—is important when we’re growing. Give yourself a chance to hear yourself think.
4. Hold Space for Not Knowing
I spent a week in the Bay Area last year attending a remarkable conference. Soren—the founder and host of the conference— started out the day brilliantly and in-touch by asking the participants to: “Hold space for not knowing”.
Sometimes we’re not meant to understand our circumstance at this precise moment. Life isn’t black and white, and often the answers we search for are not either. In the process of discovery, this is when we evolve in character, grow in depth, and open up to a colorful world.
Within the unknown, ask yourself questions. This is a practice I continually return to when there really is not a “right” or “wrong” answer. You may be surprised that the advice you’re seeking, the answers you’re searching for already exist within you.
Life happens rhythmically when we allow it to unfold, effortlessly, with genuine intention. Self-induced pressures limit our ability to see the grander picture. When we pull wool over our eyes by creating a sense of urgency that doesn’t need to be there, we can no longer appreciate what the universe has in store for us.
Move away from allowing yourself to “think” your way into a rut. Instead, move towards allowing the “flow” of faith to guide you.
There is no hard and fast rule to live life. There is not a box. Flow with it and see what happens…you may be humbly surprised at the success (however you choose to define it) you find along the way.
6. Love Yourself First
Often times we are our biggest obstacles. In hindsight, reflecting on my journey, the challenges I’ve faced were created by me—I stood in my own way.
The way we see one another and the world is a mirror reflection of the way we perceive ourselves. In order to find our authentic place in the world, we have to first find love for ourselves. We cannot serve the world with our definite purpose, wholly, unless we first serve ourselves.
And, remember, to savor each stepping stone–it’s what makes the purpose you’re so diligently seeking worth the journey in the first place.
Parting Thoughts on Purpose
At the Wisdom 2.0 conference, I met an accomplished author who described my many titles as a “Portfolio Career”. This meant that I was able to live, work, and experience fulfillment through a collection of dynamic skill sets I had created through the years.
His words shifted my perception greatly.
Sometimes acceptance to grow and evolve is all we need to give us the courage to pursue our passion.
For me, I accepted that my corporate career has given me the resources to lead with my heart: it has translated into a wonderful home at TSN to pursue the joy I find in writing, without needing to monetize my passion.
While writing is only part-time, it has been my full-time fulfillment to connect with each of you.
Perhaps these 6 tips will help guide you. Or perhaps acceptance to grow and evolve into the purposeful you is all that is needed to gain courage to explore within.
Or perhaps, you just need a simple, honest reminder–that on this path to find purpose–it is okay to be you and to “hold space of not knowing” is also okay, too.
Reflect and become self-aware; give yourself some wiggle room to be in the flow of discovery on your unique journey.
Take some time to get to know you. Be comfy in your own skin. Live out loud with your authenticity. Embrace you. Love you. Accept you.
You will find your purpose within.
About the Author
Cat is a recent corporate escapee, now practicing as a full-time Zen Student. Her home, for the next year or so, is on various meditation cushions in the world.
* Click here to read all articles written by Cat.
Related Resources on Finding Purpose:
- “Discover You Now” Digital Workshop
- Core Value Assessment Guide (Download)
- Myer Briggs Personality Test
Related Articles on Purpose:
- Life on Purpose: 15 Questions to Discover Your Personal Mission
- Discover Your Personal Values
- New Year Resolutions: Look Within
- How to Make Dreams Come True
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