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A few actionable tips on how to find your purpose.

Updated: Feb 19

“The greatest tragedy in life is not death, but a life without a purpose.” ~Myles Munroe

Life purpose…It’s an age-old issue most of us struggle with.

Finding your purpose is a quest that can take a lifetime, literally. Sadly, many of us never get to experience the joy of discovering their purpose. This can result in regret down the line about having lived an unfulfilled life, a life largely spent playing passenger.

But why does it matter?

Understanding Life Purpose

Before we delve into the specifics of how to find your purpose, it’s fair to assume that most of us have experienced that nagging feeling that we are not living up to our potential. That something is missing in our life.

It’s a normal feeling to have for it signifies the very essence of being human. This is something that plagues even the most successful. Because purpose cannot be masked by material success or a high-flying career. It’s a higher calling and if it’s missing, you will feel it.

“Life is never made unbearable by circumstances, but only by lack of meaning and purpose.” - Viktor Frankl:

Finding your purpose is about finding a way to impact the world in a manner that brings you a sense of fulfilment and satisfaction. It’s about answering the “why” regarding your existence as an individual. Purpose gives meaning to your existence.

But the thing about purpose is that it can be an elusive customer. It is not uncommon to spend decades wading through life and fail to discover your purpose.

The good news is that there is no age limit to discovering your purpose. Nor is it about the number of attempts it takes to find it.

While you would be better served by finding your “meaning” early in your life, the regret is not in discovering your true calling later in life. True regret is in not finding your calling at all (and acting on it).

After all, even some highly successful and purpose-driven figures like Vincent van Gogh, Oprah and JK Rowling eventually realised that as with your soul purpose, even your dreams do not come with an age limit.

Mark Twain reminds us: “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.”

That said, it’s also good to remind yourself that we are not here forever. You only have one lifetime, and that lifetime has an expiration period. This is why it is incumbent upon us to figure out our purpose early if we are to make the most of the time we’ve got. Even if that means going out of your way to find it.

Indeed, you may need to venture outside of your comfort zone to find your purpose. This is particularly the case in modern-day society where most people try to stick to a certain set path that has become the archetypal model of success – finish school, get a job, have a family, attain financial freedom…

While there is nothing wrong with that (and it works for the large majority of people) the downside is that we can neglect or suppress our purpose in the pursuit of said success. Which is why you hear a good deal of admissions about individuals who have achieved it all but still feel unhappy. Unfulfilled.

Or sticking to a job or career path that while well-paying, still feels unrewarding.

Simple Tips on How to Find your Purpose

Finding your purpose matters because it brings meaning to your existence. As we have mentioned, it is possible to be successful in other facets of your life, but without a true purpose, a part of you will still feel unfulfilled.

Mastin Kipp summarises it best with his words: “Discovering your purpose is the most significant thing you will do in your life, and you, your loved ones, and the world will be better off because you went on this journey.”

If you are like most and are wondering how to find your purpose, it’s worth noting that it can (and tends to) be a trial and error affair.

Sure, there are those who know from the off what they are destined to do and go on to follow their path.

For some, it’s caring for others through nursing.

For others, it’s teaching.

Others want to be leaders.

There are also those who want to make their communities a better place. It could be through fighting crime (law enforcement officers) or for others like me, uplifting the needy through charity work.

For most people, though, finding your purpose is a quest that will involve trying out new things and experiences to establish how well they sit with you.  But there is no harm in that.

If you are employed, of course it makes little sense to quit your job because you feel like it doesn’t do it for you. The good news is that a particular purpose can sometimes be aligned with a particular career, so that’s always a good area to start looking for those in employment or entrepreneurship.

This will involve some fair bit of self-reflection and looking inward to your guiding light.

Personal Experience

Again, for me, when I was working as an executive at the Bank of America, I would always spend my spare time pursuing humanitarian work as it brought me the joy and fulfilment I never experienced within the constraints of my regular job, despite being well-remunerated.

I took it upon myself to broach the issue with my boss who was fortunately understanding enough to eventually set up an official charity programme at the bank, a move that saw me elevated to President of Employee Philanthropic Activities. But it wasn’t much about the title for me than how I could leverage the role to help as many people as possible.

While I did quit later to sink more time into charity work, I had found my true calling. And I had figured out a way to marry it with my career.

You can do the same.

The process of how to find your purpose will involve asking yourself some key questions:

What lights up your heart?

What brings you the biggest fulfilment?

When are you happiest?

What individual attributes are central to your identity as a person?

Who matters most to you?

What would be worth dying for?

In Closing

Regardless of your station in life, you need to connect with yourself and do some soul-searching to find your true purpose.

Figure out how your job or work aligns with your purpose and how well they can blend to establish that synergy. The good thing is that your inner self will always let you know if you are on the right course or not. It is our guiding light.

Says Catherine Pulsifer: “We all have a purpose in life, and when you find yours you will recognize it.”

For business owners, it is important to create an environment that allows your employees to harness their purpose while finding meaning in their work. In a fast-changing business world, there are fewer better ways to attract and retain the best talent today while staying ahead of the curve yourself.

After all – not that we needed one – but a PNUS study found that people with a sense of purpose tend to be more focused and prosperous than those who feel they are just coasting through life.

Establishing your “why” also means you are more resilient when you encounter challenges in life. You are better able to ride setbacks with grit and determination. You are also more motivated to achieve your financial goals if you have a sense of purpose driving you, and are generally happier in life.

Let that soak in for five…


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