Everywhere we turn these days we are being told that a life without purpose is a life half lived. That if you haven’t found it by 30 you’re a failure. This constant messaging has created an entire generation of people who are frantically scrambling to find their sense of purpose overnight.
In fact, studies have shown that people in their twenties are more concerned about how much meaning and purpose they feel at work than they are about what their salary is.
So surely this focus on finding your life’s purpose should be encouraged? Right?
Here’s the thing. You will never finda sense of purpose in life.
You’re never going to be walking down the street one day and trip over some purpose that someone dropped on the ground earlier.
Purpose is not something that you will find and the irony is that the more you stress about finding it the less likely you are to ever feel it.
So if you’re not going to find it what can you do instead to still reap the wellbeing rewards that come from living a life enriched with this ever elusive feeling?
Purpose is a feeling. It’s not material. It’s not external. And it’s not the same between people.
It is something you feel within yourself. It’s something entirely unique to you.
The beauty of this is, as a feeling, purpose can be developed and cultivated over time by increasing your Emotional Intelligence.
To help you get started with developing a sense of purpose in your life here’s a handy little purpose recipe that I teach my clients as part of our Confidence & Purpose Coaching program;
Purpose = Passion + Practice + Perseverance + Pivoting
Start by clearly identifying what you’re passionate about. What lights you up inside? What energises you? What could you talk about for hours on end?
The next step is to actually go take action and practice these things. Regardless of what Hollywood tells us no one is ever an overnight success. Elvis didn’t pick up the guitar, strum it once and say “yep this is my purpose in life”. It requires practice.
The third step is to stick with it. Persevere. I’ve always found that purpose is honed through challenges and obstacles. You can have instant gratification or you can have purpose, but you can’t have both.
The final step is to pivot as you grow and develop as an individual. No one ever said you have to sentence yourself to one almighty purpose for your entire life. As you grow as a person overtime allow your purpose to shift with you.
Words by Declan Edwards.