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Find Your Purpose

passion presence purpose May 16, 2024


“What is my purpose?” is one of the most perplexing ques­tions we can ever face. We all ask it at one point or another, especially in times of transition.


it can take a lifetime or the answer can come right through in a flash of insight, Today, I have 5 distinct ways to find your purpose, and I'm excited for you to hear them, and see which one resonates with you the most. Let’s start with this ancient story that describes how the answer can come very quickly:


ONE : Ask the Right Question

One day, a student asks his master, "I can't stop thinking of this one question. What is the purpose of my life?" She pauses for a moment and looks directly into the student’s eyes. She answers, “Only you can find that, but knowing your pur­pose is not found in your mind, but rather in your heart.”


She then posed a question: “If you knew, right now, that you were going to die tomorrow, what would you most regret that you had not accomplished?” He thought about it and responded that he would regret not making peace with his family and not creating his own center for learning.


The master smiled and said, “See how you discovered it for yourself. Now it is up to you to go and make these your reality . . .”   On some level, he knew it all along, but it took the right question for him to access his own information.


TWO:  Opposite Approaches

A more direct way of finding out your purpose is asking these 2 questions:

1.     What makes me feel most alive and happy, like when hours feel like minutes. Is it music, design, connecting with people, teaching, fixing something, being in nature, solving a math problem? These are just a few.


2.   This is the exact opposite.  What breaks my heart to hear about? Is there a cause, or an injustice that touches you so deeply that you feel driven to do something about it. This is where the saying from pain into passion comes in. Your pain becomes your passion. When I was worried about my children’s stress and anxiety, that led to creating Project Happiness.


THREE - Ikigai : Your Reason for Living  - Your "Why"

The third way of finding your purpose is something the Japanese have called Ikigai which mean a reason to live, or a reason for being. It asks you 4 questions:

  •  what you love (your passion)
  • what the world needs (your mission)
  • what you are good at (your vocation)
  • what you can get paid for (your profession)

These are put together in a Venn diagram. At the center of all of these, where they all intersect, is your Ikigai.

  • what you’re good at and what you love is your passion.
  • what you love and what the world needs is your mission.
  • what you’re good at and what you get paid for is your profession
  • what the you get paid meets what the world need is your vocation.

It’s an interesting way to look at it.



FOUR - You and Others

The 4th way to find your purpose is from the Ted Talk by Adam Leipzig who says you can get your life purpose in 5 minutes by asking these 5 questions:

1. Who you are

2. What do you love to do (what is the one thing that you feel qualified to share with other people and you enjoy it)

3. Who do you do it for  -what people respond to this

4. What do those people want and need that they come to you for (people that are dealing with…)

5. How do they change or transform as a result of what you give them


Notice that only the first 2 are about you. The last 3 are about others, the focus is on the people you serve or help. It turns out that more purposeful and happier people help others be happier too.


FIVE - Inner Compass 

Let’s dispel the myth that there is just one purpose for each person in life. Your purpose can change depending on your age, stage and circumstances.


As a child, the purpose is to grow and learn and mature. As we get older, people often see making a life, finding love, growing a career and providing for your loved ones as front and center. Later, it may be rediscovering parts of yourself that were left dormant, or reclaiming your health or peace of mind, sense of wonder or connection with others. Presence, loosely defined as being here now, is important at all ages, but sometimes, we only recognize that later.


A real challenge to presence is social media, and it’s so easy to get addicted to our devices, and to the comparison/you’re not enough messages. The problem with these is that it get people trapped into looking for external validation: the money, status, the perfect family, the right toys, images of a life that may SEEM to give purpose and meaning in the moment, but we all know that the feeling is temporary - we feel good for the moment but quickly adapt - its called hedonic adaptation, and then want more.

What if purpose was an internal state – of feeling of connection with your deepest self, being  at peace, aligned with your values, your character, and your beliefs… and for it all to have meaning it’s generally not only about you - it includes others too.


To attune to the stirrings of your soul, it also helps to slow down. Rather than fight with this natural rhythm, think of the seasons: everything has its own timeline. The point is to flow with it. Rather than obsessively pursuing your passion and purpose, hold this pursuit lightly. What if instead you gave yourself permission to just cultivate curiosity? What speaks to you in the moment? What do you want to explore? Sometimes one thing leads to the other, and that may have no relation to your origi­nal plan. But you may come out in a fresh new place. When you eventually look back on your life events, you can see the pathway, and even if you thought you were taking a detour, you learned exactly what you needed to move forward. Enjoy the journey without self-­judgment. It will add joy to your life and bring you home.


One reminder –  Ditch the perfectionism – things do not have to be 100% clear before trying them out. Think of purpose not just as a mental exercise to figure things out – it’s somatic, a body reaction too – Ask: When I think of this as my purpose, do I feel light and expanded, or do I feel heavy and contracted. That is a really important test too.


You are always growing and evolving. Hold your purpose lightly and allow it to evolve too. It will. Stay curious, stay true to you, and if you can help others along the way, that adds a layer of meaning. Remember, you are always being guided. Look for the clues.


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