How to find your purpose: a practical guide

I have to admit the search for purpose tormented me at some point. 

I had my fair share of “why am I here?” and “what is the meaning of it all?” kind of questions. 

The problem is we think we’re supposed to figure out NOW who we are, what is our ultimate purpose, and what we’re going to do with the rest of our lives. 

We think we need to pick something and settle for it as if we can’t change our minds afterward. As if there is one single thing that is meant for us in this life.

But I think that’s too much pressure to put on yourself.

So, before I tell you the steps you need to follow in order to find your purpose, I want to ask you to stop obsessing over it. Stop thinking that you came to this Earth for one and only purpose that you need to fulfill.

Your purpose can and will change over time -I would be more surprised if it didn’t. 

So instead of trying to find your holy grail, start being curious, try things, learn different skills, live your life. And your purpose might just find YOU.

But I know you’re here for the practical steps. So, let’s dive right into it.

1 – What are you curious about?

Here we just want to know what are the different things that spark your curiosity. It doesn’t matter if these things are far-fetched or if they don’t really fit into what you think you’d be good at.

I want you to let your imagination go wild here and just think of the things that you’re interested in. The things you’d like to explore and know more about.

You might see a Reiki practitioner and think: ‘that’s interesting’. Or you see some travel blogger and think ‘I wonder what it’s like to do that’.

Maybe you’re curious about wider subjects like books, or wildlife, or Greek mythology, or sports.

Maybe you’ve always wondered how cars work.

You see, the goal here is to follow these little nuggets of curiosity. We don’t know yet which of these things are really going to become your purpose. We’ll find that out later.

In this first step, just make a list of the things that you’re interested in.

Write everything, don’t censor yourself. Don’t tell yourself: ‘oh, this has nothing to do with my current career or studies’, usually our purpose ends up being something we never expected.

Here are some examples of things that I’m curious about:

  • I’m interested in writing books
  • I love traveling
  • Energy healing really sparks my curiosity
  • I’m curious about vegan recipes
  • I wonder how living off grid is like
  • I’m interested in making clothes

Now that doesn’t mean I’ll make a career out of all these things. It just means that these are paths worth exploring for me. And that’s the mindset I want you to have for this first step.

2 – Pick five from the list

Now, look at the list you’ve made. Read all the things you’ve written and pick five main things that you are most curious about and interested in.

I’m not telling you to pick what you think you’ll be good at or what aligns with what you already do or have.

I want you to pick something challenging but attainable. Five things you’re really interested in.

Follow your intuition, that little nudge inside of you, even if it doesn’t make sense logically.

Look at your list and ask yourself: What are the things I would really love to pursue right now? If I had all the money, time, and energy. If I knew no one would judge me, what would I like to explore more?

I want you to circle the five items that you’re most interested in, and then write them on a separate sheet of paper for the next step.

3 – Do your research 

From your new list of five things, choose one item that you would like to explore first.

You’re going to start with that one item, and spend the next three days -or more, if you want- doing your research.

What are the certifications and jobs that are related to the area you’re interested in? 

Let’s say you’re interested in wildlife. Research the keywords: wildlife careers/jobs/education.

Maybe you would want to explore wildlife photography, or being a wildlife biologist.

Honestly, I don’t even know what jobs are there that are related to wildlife! Do you know?

Most of the time, our dream job is a job that we don’t even know exists. And our purpose is one we’ve never even heard of before.

So do your research. Use internet. Use your local library. Reach out to people that are already in the field you’re interested in. An email or a social media direct message usually does the trick.

You can try out some of the things you’re interested in if it’s possible. If you’re curious about yoga then maybe take a class and speak to a yoga instructor. If you’re interested in blogging then try writing a blogpost -even if you have no intention of publishing it.

I know you might not be good at it right now and you might think: ‘Oh, I don’t have the skills for this’. But skills are something you can acquire. What’s important right now is exploring the different possibilities and being curious and open to new things.

So, spend the next three days or more researching your first item, then repeat the process for the four other items on your shortlist.

This can take you anywhere from two weeks to one month, and it will allow you to have a lot of knowledge about each topic you’re interested in.

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4 – Make up your mind

Now that you have a lot of information and are educated about the different areas that you’ve picked, it’s time to decide on the one topic that you are most interested in pursuing.

In order to make that decision, I advise you give yourself time and space. Stop actively thinking about your purpose. Go out in nature, spend time with friends, go on about your daily life for a few days, and let it simmer.

You’ve given your brain all this valuable information and data, now let it do the work, process everything, and come back to you with an answer.

When you’re ready to choose, ask yourself: ‘what is the one thing that I would LOVE to pursue?’

What is the one thing you are ready to commit to for at least a whole year? The one thing you are ready to put time, money, and energy into?

Now think of your why.

Why did you make the choice you did? What is important to you about the area you decided to pursue? How do you think pursuing that topic would benefit you and those you serve?

And that is your purpose.

Congratulation! You found it!

Your purpose is your why. The how is ever-changing.

If you want to become a yoga teacher then maybe it’s because you want people to live a more peaceful, balanced life. That is your purpose: create a more peaceful world by helping people find their balance in their everyday life.

Now you can find that your ‘why’ is the same for more than one item that you explored. In this case, you can choose to pursue more than one thing. Some jobs are usually linked and serve the same purpose in different ways.

If you want to bring more peace and balance to people through yoga teaching then maybe you also want to help them nourish their bodies by becoming a nutritionist. Or maybe you want to add a more spiritual layer and become a reiki master and energy healer.

If you want to connect with people and show the world that we’re really all one through travel blogging then maybe you’ll also want to teach people how to make money online so that they can travel too. Or maybe you’ll be interested in finding effective ways to pick up a new language fast so that you can easily communicate with people when you land in a new country.

Whatever it is you choose to pursue, make sure to stay committed to it for the next year. We don’t want your attention and energy scattered in different places.

And remember, you don’t need to have one fixed purpose for your whole life. It is okay to change directions. Just make sure to commit to the purpose you chose for at least a year before you decide whether or not it is for you.

Meanwhile, stay open to life. Keep working, learning, and being curious.

5 – Work on materializing your purpose

Now that you know your purpose, you might be wondering: what’s next? Where do I go from here?

It’s very simple. From here, it’ll get really practical:

You’re going to set goals that align with your purpose. I suggest you chose no more than 3 goals.

Make sure those goals are SMART: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely.

Then write down what you need to do every month, week, and day to achieve your goals.

It helps to think backward, starting from your end goal and thinking of the things you would have done that got you there.

And now it’s time to get to work!

To wrap it up, here are the steps you need to follow in order to find your purpose:

1- Make a list of the things that you’re interested in or curious about.

2- From that list, circle the five items that you’re most interested in and then write them on a separate sheet of paper

3- Do your research about each one of the five items you picked. Use internet. Reach out to people. Try things out.

4- With the help of the information you now have, decide on the one topic you’d like to pursue. Think of why you chose that topic -your why is your purpose.

5- Commit to honoring your purpose by setting goals that align with it and working on them every day.

This was a very practical guide on how to find your purpose, but I’m a firm believer in the importance of spiritual and mindset work. Doing the physical work isn’t enough. You’ll need to mentally align with your purpose. You’ll need to start showing up as the person that is already living that purpose. 

The internal work is just as important as the external work.

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