The #1 question clients ultimately come to me with is, "What's my life's purpose?"
This makes sense, because I'm a life purpose coach. So I'd expect to hear that a lot.
Getting true, laser clarity on your life's purpose takes work, commitment, and willingness to dive pretty deep. But I wanted to pass along some of the most common sticking points between my clients and discovering their life's purpose.
1. It's the wrong question
When people ask, "What's my life's purpose?" they're usually asking some other question.
There's a lot of reasons people are driven to discover the purpose of their life.
Some people feel that its important to be connected to something bigger than themselves. Others have had a life crisis in their health, relationships, death of a family member - something that drives them to make more of the life they're given.
Others believe that having a purpose will help them feel purposeful. Still others believe that finding their life purpose will help them get "unstuck," feel valuable and valued.
All of these are valid, sacred, and precious reasons for seeking the purpose of life. And, all of those things are true. Discovering the purpose of your life will absolutely shortcut getting connecting to your big Why in life, getting unstuck, and feeling more passionate.
But usually, the question is a much less complicated one.
You can see how the quest for life purpose can be frustrating and unyielding if you're asking the wrong question in the first place.
If you want clear answers, you've got to ask clear questions.
So what are you really looking for - your life's purpose, or something much easier to find like a meaningful career path or a spiritual path?
But, you might say, if I knew my life's purpose, wouldn't it open up all of those doors? Wouldn't I have direction in my life overall?
The answer is yes and no. Sometimes, answering the small questions first helps put you on the path to finding purpose. But the other part of the equation is that....
2. Purpose is not in the doing
You might think you've discovered your life's purpose, only to lose your job and find that you are back in the same stuck, directionless void you were in before. That's because your purpose was tied to something that can be taken away.
If you want to find meaningful work, it's helpful to ensure your work is in alignment with your values.
If you want to know if you should have children or not, you've got to look at way more variables than whether or not it's your life's purpose to become a parent.
If you want help prioritizing the overwhelm in your life, it's important to know what actions would have the biggest impact on your quality of life.
Answering those kinds of questions can reveal pieces of the purpose puzzle, but here's the catch.
Get ready for a major, major shift in your thinking about life purpose here, because most people are thinking of purpose as something they do, like cure cancer or save the whales.
You cannot find your life's purpose in your children. They will eventually leave home.
You cannot find your life's purpose in your career. If you leave the career, what happens to your purpose? Do you have to get a new one?
You cannot find your life's purpose in activism. Someday the whales will be saved, and you will be purposeless.
Your life's purpose drives all the doing, but it is not the doing. It is in the Being- the Being of you.
Let me say it again: Your life's purpose has nothing to do with what you do.
What you do might be driven by your purpose, but it is not your purpose itself.
You can be in the crappiest job ever and still be living on purpose.
You can believe that your purpose is to raise a huge family, but never have any children and still be living your life on purpose.
Your life's purpose is not in the doing.
3. the prerequisite questions
There are prerequisite questions that you have to answer completely before questing for your purpose in being. Because if you don't know who you are at the core and you don't know what your values are, you can't know your purpose.
If you don't go through a process of weeding out all the conditioned expectations, voices of the past, and all the muck that's on top of our pure truth, then you're looking for purpose in a dangerous way.
You might unearth a purpose, but it will probably be your parents' purpose for you (or whomever was most influential in your life).
It's a dangerous path, and one that can lead to a vicious cycle that many spiritual seekers are familiar with: I do the "work," and I do the "work," and I keep ending up at this vaguely dissatisfied place. In fact, one of the most comment client inspirations I hear is, "I've been doing this work for years but never uncovered my truth!"
It's because the 2 most important questions aren't being addressed. We are encouraged to ask things like "Who do I want to be?" and "How can I better myself?" Those are tricky questions because they lead us to believe that we're not already perfect.
Instead, the first question you want to ask + answer is,
"Who am I, really, truly, absolutely, and truthfully?"
"What are the values I embody that I would die for?"
What is the #1 value that you would found a country on, throw yourself in front of a train for, take up arms for? (OK, I'm a pacifist but you get the point here, right?)
If you can answer those two questions so purely, so truthfully, that it makes you weep and then fall to your knees, you're on the way to purpose.
Once you know who you be, and what drives you, everything you do will be on purpose.
And everything that's not on purpose, will fall away eventually.
4. how to find your purpose
Once you know who you are and what you value, your life purpose will fall into place.
It will be a combination of your gifts (who you are) and sowing your values.
It will not be tied to any one activity - that's called a mission statement.
It will be an overarching statement that you embody whether you are choosing a library book or birthing a business. You will fulfill your purpose through your relationships, parenting, work, hobbies, and food shopping.
Life purpose trumps everything.
Once you are completely clear on who you are and what your top values are, you can start to fill in the blanks of this life purpose statement:
I, [name], am gifted with [gift 1], [gift 2], & [gift 3]. The purpose of my life is to use my gifts to sow [value] and [value] in my home, community, and to the world.
For example, mine reads (I cry every time I read it):
"I, Jennifer Carolan, am gifted with deep listening, non-judgmental nature, + 6th sense. The purpose of my life is to use my gifts to sow freedom + love in my home, community, and to the world."
Do you see how I can do this at the grocery store, how I was able to do it in my crappy 9-5 j-o-b, and how it changed my parenting + marriage?
Your life purpose will set you on fire.
Once unleashed, the rest will come easy.
In peace + on purpose,
PS - If you're inspired to do this work + unearth your truth, I'm gathering a tribe of committed, creative, + brave souls who are ready to know the truth at any cost. Check out the Truth Tribe group coaching program - and you'll gasp at how affordable it is.