“Nothing in the Universe exists solely for itself. You are not alive just for the sake of being alive. The purpose of your life is much bigger than your life so if all you think about is your life, then you’re missing out on the purpose for your life.”
“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson
For some, the idea of a “life purpose” seems irrelevant and regard it as a subject reserved for philosophers and dreamers. After all, our lives our so busy and most of us are just trying to keep our heads above water as we try to make it through the day. Who has time to contemplate the purpose of life? Others are very aware that they are missing a sense of purpose and are hungry for its discovery.
It is through these two different perspectives that the importance of discovering the purpose of life is revealed. The one who is too busy to contemplate his or her life purpose lives out their life doing rather than being. They become too busy working, too busy taking care of their families, and too busy taking care of their responsibilities. Because they do not look for a deeper meaning, they become like hamsters on a wheel. No matter how fast they go, there is an ever present feeling that they have not yet arrived and that something is missing.
Alternately, the person who is hungry for finding their life purpose may frequently make the mistake of trying too hard, or thinking too much about their life purpose. When we are like this, we can easily fall into the trap of believing that our purpose in life is something that we must pursue, such as a goal, or that our life purpose must be something profound and that it has to change the world.
The good news is that how to identify your purpose in life is a lot easier than you think. All you need to do is step out of your own way and it will come to you naturally. The joy and fulfillment of living your purpose is closer than you can even imagine! In fact, your purpose has always been there within you and always will be. It may only have been eclipsed by your own thinking and sense of doubt. The only thing that can prevent you from knowing it is not being at the level of awareness where you can recognize it. Fortunately, there is a simple formula for finding your life purpose.
“Before I can tell my life what I want to do with it, I need to listen to my life to tell me who I am.”
Parker J. Palmer
“The purpose of life is to discover your gift. The work of life is to develop it. The meaning of life is to give your gift away.”
The word “Dharma” has a variety of meanings, one of which is “your life’s purpose”, or “what are you here to give?” Our life’s purpose has less to do with us and more to do with paying back our debt of gratitude to life and the world. When we live out our lives with this sense of appreciation, our purpose in life can present itself to us.
Your life purpose refers to the sense of meaning that you assign to your life. That meaning naturally arises from within when you are using your strengths and talents in your service to others. This service to others can be through direct action that benefits others, or it can come through your own inner exploration in an effort to become more fully aware of your own true nature as a human being. Through this devotion to self-discovery, the heightened self-awareness that develops will serve to inspire others who are ready to do the same.
If we look closely at the workings of nature, we find that every living being contributes to the success of all other beings. Consider the human body, which is made out of an astronomical number of cells. Each cell is specialized to perform a certain function, yet in fulfilling its specialized function, each individual cell supports all other cells. The entirety of the human body is dependent upon each cell performing its specialized function. In fact, what makes cancer so damaging to the body is it focuses on its own survival at the expense of the other cells.
Just like a cell in the body, you have a specialized function that contributes to life. Your purpose in life, or your dharma, will present itself to you without having to search for it. All you need to do is be open, aware, and focus on others. We will now examine the power behind these three words.
Open means to be open minded and open to experiencing new things, new people, or new places. It is stepping outside your comfort zone and willing to risk failure, disappointment, and rejection. If you truly knew the greatest of who you are, the words “risk” or “comfort zone” would have no meaning for you. Who you are at the most essential level of your being is beyond words or thought.
Awareness means to be aware of your life from moment to moment and it can also be described as “mindfulness.” The purpose of your life is to serve life, so redirect your awareness to your experience of life and become aware of your feelings. Be aware of the fleeting thoughts that appear and fade within the light of your consciousness. Do so without any form of judgment. Be aware of the sensations and emotions that rise and fall like the ocean tide. Be aware of the inhalation and exhalation of your own breath. Be aware of the rich diversity of colors, textures, and appearances that is life. Do so without any form of judgment. This kind of awareness takes practice and finding a coach to help you train in mindfulness is very worthwhile, as it will transform your life.
Discovering your life purpose will come about naturally if you shift your focus from yourself to finding ways of contributing to the happiness and success of others. Our sense of fulfillment will spontaneously arise when we focus on what we can give.
Apply this understanding of these three components to the formula for how to discover your purpose in life, which consist of the following:
The formula for your life purpose can be simply restated as this: We are happiest when we are being our natural and authentic selves. When you are being your authentic self, no effort is required. Because of this, your strengths and talents appear naturally and effortlessly. Because you are happy and aware of your strengths and talents, you automatically find a way to use them in the service of others.
“Many people may doubt that finding God is the purpose of life; but everyone can accept the idea that the purpose of life is to find happiness. I say that God is Happiness. He is Bliss. He is Love. He is Joy that will never go away from your soul. So why shouldn’t you try to acquire that Happiness? No one else can give it to you. You must continuously cultivate it yourself.”
If you want to find a masterful case study on discovering your life purpose, look no further than the classic story, The Wizard of OZ. In this story, Dorothy finds her life at home unfulfilling and desires to find a place where she can experience greater happiness and meaning. The character Dorothy symbolizes the majority of the human race because at some level, we are all looking for greater meaning in our lives.
In the movie, Dorothy falls asleep on her bed and begins to dream. It is in her dream that the real story begins, as it does for us. Those of us who are searching for our life purpose also slip into our dreams hoping to follow our own yellow brick roads. Just as the Good Witch told Dorothy that she will find her answers by following the yellow brick road, we received messages from our parents and society as to which road we should travel if we want to become happy and successful. That road is different for everyone, but some of the most traditional routes include going to college, getting married, having a family, finding a good job, working hard, and owning a home.
After undergoing a journey filled with adventure, Dorothy finally reaches her destination, Emerald City, the home of the Wizard of OZ. At the beginning of the journey, Dorothy was told that the Wizard of OZ was all powerful and that he would be able to bring her back home.
Dorothy makes the disappointing discovery that the Wizard is a mere mortal who has created a grand persona of himself. Does this remind you of your story? Did you follow a road full of hope and promises only to be disappointed by what you found at your travel’s end?
The yellow brick road from this classic story is a metaphor for the pursuit of our life purpose. It does not matter if we are too busy with our lives to contemplate our life purpose or if we are in full pursuit of it. Each one of us is walking down on our own yellow brick road. We have each been told that if we follow it, we will be able to return home. When you have found your life’s purpose, you have found your home. Your home is where you feel comfortable and happy – it is the place where you feel that you matter. It is the place where you feel a sense of significance, and it is the place where your inherent strengths and talents are needed by others. When you have found your life’s purpose, you have found your home.
It is through this metaphor of apparent futility that the true magic of discovering your life’s purpose is revealed. By reaching the seemingly uneventful end of their destination, Dorothy, the Tin Man, the Scarecrow, and the Lion, learned a most important lesson: that which they were looking for was within themselves all along. It was through their service to Dorothy that her three companions discovered their strengths while Dorothy rediscovered her true home.
All the disappointments that you have encountered in your life up to now are just your own version of meeting the Wizard of Oz. It is your own version of traveling down your yellow brick road and not finding that which you had expected. Now it is time for you to look deep within yourself and discover your purpose in life. Your ruby slippers can be found in three simple questions: What makes you happy? What are your strengths and talents? How can you serve?
Note: When doing the following exercise, the key is to write nonstop and write anything that comes to your mind. These are not thinking exercises, so write down or type whatever comes to you. However, it is recommended that you do these exercises in journal so that you can have them all in a single place where they can be easily reviewed.
Record as many memories as possible. Doing this will help you see patterns in your life in relation to your happiest phases and stages. Identifying these patterns will play an important role in understanding your purpose in life.
“Give time, give space to sprout your potential. Awaken the beauty of your heart – the beauty of your spirit. There are infinite possibilities.”
In this exercise, you will reflect on your strengths and talents. People often have trouble identifying their strengths or talents as they may be subtle and not obvious to them. Being patient with others, being caring of others, standing up for justice, having a sense of humor, having a high degree of tolerance, possessing artistic abilities, having communication skills, being compassionate, being self- reflective, noticing how things relate to each other, and noticing how things do not relate to each other are all examples of strengths and talents.
The following are prompts to help you in your thinking:
When you have found needs that are not being met, reflect on the ways that you can utilize your strengths and talents in addressing these needs.
Write in your journal everything that comes to your mind, even if it does not seem to make sense or seems unimportant. Just write as fast as you can without too much deliberation. Keep writing until you cannot come up with any more ideas.
The key to this exercise is to look deeply into the world around you. Do not get fooled by thoughts like, “there is no need,” or “things are so bad that I cannot make a difference.” These are just excuses that your ego is creating. There is always a need to be met. If the world didn’t have needs, why would you exist?
“You were put on this earth to achieve your greatest self, to live out your purpose, and to do it courageously.”
Imagine a clear jar filled with water. At the bottom of the jar is a layer of sand. The jar is shaken, causing the water to become murky. If a flashlight were to be pointed at the jar, we would see the beam of light break-up as the suspended grains of sand reflect the light beam in all directions. Now imagine that the sand settles at the bottom of the jar again and the water becomes clear. When the beam of light passes through the jar this time, it is sharp and focused. The jar and its water are a metaphor for our minds while the sand is a metaphor for our thoughts. The beam of light is a metaphor for our purpose in life.
Just as the grains of sand suspended in the water interrupt the passing light beam, our thoughts have the potential to interrupt the discovery of our life’s purpose. Do you have children? If so, do you remember how you felt when you held your first newborn child? Do you remember the sense of responsibility that you felt for this new addition to life? Have you ever been in the presence of a loved one who was suffering? Did you dig down deep within yourself in order to find a way you to ease their pain? You did not have to think in order to be aware of your experience with your newborn, nor did you have to think about relieving the suffering of your loved one. No thought is required to know that you are hungry, and no thought is required to know that you are in love or feeling ill – you just know. Your knowing emerges spontaneously, and it does not require any thinking on your part. Your life purpose is no different, yet for those who try to discover their life’s purpose, how many resort to thinking about it?
When it comes to discovering your life purpose, you will have an easier time if you learn to become aware of your feelings and allow yourself to experience them. This is why the previous exercises required you to write more from your heart than from your head. Expecting to discover your life purpose by thinking about it is the same as expecting a beam of light to pass through murky water unobstructed.
Try to answer the question, “What is my life purpose?” Do not worry about penmanship, neatness, or spelling. Abandon it all! Just write like a person who is inspired and write anything that comes to your mind. Keep writing until you no longer have the emotional capacity to write. The power of this exercise can be felt as it breaks through your rational thinking and exposes the raw emotions and feelings that lie beneath the surface. When you experience these raw feelings and emotions, you will recognize your purpose in life.
If when doing this exercise your mind goes blank, just ask yourself the question again and try to keep writing. If you experience thoughts of fear or doubt, write these down as well. When you do this exercise, you are purging yourself of your rational and habitual thinking. When you purge this type of mental activity, you are able to uncover your hidden sense of purpose.
“The mystery of human existence lies not in just staying alive, but in finding something to live for.”
Write down everything, even the things that you do not believe to be true. If it came to your mind, then it has a place in your consciousness and it needs to be weeded out. In this exercise, you are bringing everything into the light of your awareness so that it can be revealed to you.
If at any time you experience thoughts like “this is good enough,” “I have more important things to do,” or “this is not working for me,” write these down as well, but do not give in to them! The arising of these forms of resistance are indicators that you are getting closer to your sense of purpose.
The more you write from your heart and soul, the sooner your purpose in life will be revealed to you. Keep writing until the answer comes to you. You will know when you have found your answer because it will resonate with you. When you find it, rewrite the answer to your question in the form of an action using words that have meaning to you. Examples of this include:
Word your purpose in a way that is inspiring to you. If you are unable to realize your purpose, do not feel disappointed. Simply give yourself a rest and repeat the exercise when you are ready to do it again. Keep repeating the exercise until you get an answer that resonates with you at the core of your being.
“To serve is beautiful, but only if it is done with joy and a whole heart and a free mind.”
Pearl S. Buck
When you are feeling vibrant and experiencing emotions of love, appreciation, or curiosity, and when you think of ways to create value for yourself and others, your life operates at a high frequency. When you come from this state of mind, you know that you are following your life’s purpose. If you are experiencing thoughts of self-doubt, helplessness, resignation, anger, fear, or resentment, your feelings are informing you that you are off track in following your life’s purpose.
“It is not that we have so little time but that we lose so much. … The life we receive is not short but we make it so; we are not ill provided but use what we have wastefully.”
There are many things that can happen in the course of a day that can cause us to get off track and engage in thoughts or behaviors that are not aligned with fulfilling our life’s purpose. In the following exercise, you will learn how to maintain the frequency that you need in order to stay true to your life’s purpose.
Naturally, there are things in life that we may not always feel like doing. If you find yourself in this situation, do one of the following:
Listening to your feelings and emotions will keep you on track as you live out your life’s purpose. Are your feelings tuned-in to your life purpose? If you are experiencing positive feelings and emotions, then you are tuned in. If you are experiencing negativity, you are not lined up with your life’s channel. Let your life’s frequency guide you back to resonance. Coaching can also be extremely effective in helping you stay in alignment with your life’s frequency.
These thoughts are inherently powerless. However, all of the power that we grant them comes from us directing our attention to them. The moon does not generate its own light; it is dependent on the sun. It is the sun’s light reflecting off the moon that gives it its illumination. Our thoughts receive all their power from the attention that we give them. In the next exercise, you will learn how to handle any persistent beliefs that get in your way when following the path of your life’s purpose.
“To think what is true, to sense what is beautiful and to want what is good, hereby the spirit finds purpose of a life in reason.”
Johann Gottfried Herder
Congratulations for coming this far in the guide! If you have made it to this point and have completed the exercises, you are among the minority. Many people do not make an effort to change their lives. They do not invest the time and discipline that it takes to discover that which breathes passion into daily living or makes life an adventure.
If you missed any of the preceding exercises, please go back and do them before advancing further. It is now time for you to take everything you learned in this lesson and apply it in your life, which you will do for the next 30 days. If you do the 30-day challenge as instructed, you will come away with a new perspective, new habits, and a new skill set, which will make you more than ready to make your life’s purpose your daily reality.
Before you begin, review all of the exercises that you’ve already completed in this guide.
As you go through the 30 Day Challenge, you will inevitably experience limiting beliefs, such as “this will not work,” or “this is too difficult.” Any time you experience a negative belief, utilize the exercise Changing Your Beliefs in order to nip the problem in the bud.
“Each life involves an essential errand; not simply the task of survival, but a life-mission embedded in the soul from the beginning.”
When we find our purpose in life, and start trying to make it real, we will most likely experience doubts, conflicts, or fears. This is only normal. No matter how excited or passionate we maybe, taking the action needed to make our life purpose a new reality requires moving into unchartered territory. While our excitement and passion move us forward, some of our current beliefs and unresolved fears can get in our way. To move forward despite these roadblocks, a life coach is invaluable. An online life coach will help you to understand your doubts and fears and release them to clear the way for you to move forward.
A life coach doesn’t only understand how to guide you in understanding your doubts or fears, but also helps you to identify and harness those motivating factors that keep you going. By working with you to develop your own personal motivational strategies, you’ll have new tools to help you for the rest of your life to live your best life.
A common fear that you may have when trying to pursue your life purpose is the fear that you will have to give up areas of your life that are important to you. Are you concerned about how moving toward your life’s purpose may affect your partner, family, or career? A life coach helps you understand your values with greater clarity than ever before, so that you can hold onto what you love while making your dreams reality.
But the value of hiring a life coach doesn’t just apply to you discovering your life’s purpose, or the realization of it. In fact, regardless of the challenges your facing, the real value of a life coach is that he or she will help you with your life as a whole. In order for you to live your life’s purpose, you need to be able to care for all the other areas of your life, be they your relationships, your physical health, emotional well-being, your financial life, your work life, or your spiritual life. How successful will you be making your life’s purpose your reality if any of these other areas are neglected? You want to live a life where you can take pride in all of your life categories. Your coach is an expert and guiding you in finding your life purpose and taking care of all aspects of your life.
Want to make your life the masterpiece that you deserve? That is the purpose of a life coach. Interested? No problem, you can request your coach right here, now.
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