One of the first questions I asked myself when I started on this journey was whether there is such a thing as a life purpose? These is a huge question which many people have tried to answer. There are many books, podcasts and videos dedicated to this question and helping people answer it. Some believe that everyone has one true calling in life that they must discover if they want to be happy. Others feel that there could be many fulfilling and rewarding paths available to each of us, and that happiness could be found along any one of them. After quite a lot of research, I believe that your life purpose is something that can evolve and develop over time and will change as you gain new experiences and understanding of yourself. I think it is important to take the time to think about who you are and what you want from life, so that you have a greater chance of achieving more happiness.
About two years ago, I had in my head that I needed a career change. At the moment I am a primary school teacher which I enjoy very much, however, it doesn’t give me the financial or time freedom that I would like. I decided that a career in counselling would be perfect for me as it fits well with my skills and it would give me more of the freedom I was looking for. I started visualising this in my mind and could really see myself in this role.
I’d love to say that I had a light bulb moment at this point and have single mindedly focused on this goal ever since, but in reality, it was only the beginning of my new adventure. As I began to research this further, my reading took me in many different directions and my mind opened up to hundreds of new and exciting ideas that I hadn’t even considered. As I followed all these twists and turns, I realised that there were probably four or five other paths I could take that might lead to a fulfilling career or to my ‘life purpose’. Since then, I have enrolled on a hypnotherapy
course and, more recently, started writing this blog. If I hadn’t followed some of these diversions, I probably wouldn’t be doing any of these things, and would have deprived myself of opportunities to grow as a person along the way.
So, in order to live a life true to yourself, is it worth trying to narrow down your purpose? I would say a definite “yes”. As with all things in life, the journey itself can be very revealing and open up all sorts of avenues and ideas that you may never have thought of. The big question therefore, is how do you do this? I tried a number of different techniques that you may find helpful.
This is a tip I got from www.steveparlina.com. On a blank piece of paper, write down the heading, what is my life purpose? Underneath that, write down the first thing that comes into your head as an answer. It can be as weird or wonderful as you like. Then continue writing down all the different answers that come into your mind, the idea being that you don’t spend too long thinking about the answers, just write whatever pops up. Whichever answer makes you cry, or evokes the strongest emotional response, is your purpose. When I tried this, my list ended up with about twenty answers on it, and although I didn’t shed any tears, I did feel strongly about helping people and giving back. Not exactly a clear life plan but definitely a step in the right direction. You never know, this method might reveal some interesting things for you too.
Another option is to try writing down all the things that you loved doing as a kid. I literally brainstormed all my thoughts and memories. All sorts of things I had forgotten started to come to mind. Once you’ve got a page full of ideas, try to group them together and see if you can come up with themes or common denominators. The theory behind this is that, when you’re young, you don’t put any restrictions on your imagination and believe you can achieve anything you set your mind to. It’s only when we get older that we begin to think of reasons or excuses why we can’t achieve some of them.
When I was younger, I absolutely loved airports and I got really excited by all the hustle and bustle and all the exotic place names. I decided after college that I would love to apply for a job as cabin crew for one of the big airlines and I sent off for the application forms. Before I had even filled any of them in, I allowed myself to be talked out of this career path by people telling me that the pay was terrible; that I would be just a glorified waitress, and that I would be quickly bored. Who knows what would have happened if I had followed this dream back then; would I be happier and more fulfilled? Was this my life purpose? Anyway, this theme showed up again during this exercise and, although the idea of being an air hostess no longer appeals to me as much, I still love the idea of airports and travel. Since then, I have designed a website which shares creative visualisations on a number of topics from a dream holiday to finding your soul mate. It was mainly inspired by this re-discovery of my childhood dream. Who knows what passions you could re-ignite by giving this a try?
This is probably my favourite way of discovering your life purpose and it’s also the way I have found to be the most effective. It is a simple, yet not always easy way of identifying your hopes and dreams, and working towards them. This method involves finding something you would like to try, and taking some action to make it happen. Don’t spend ages worrying about whether it’s your destiny, or whether you can make your millions doing it, just start taking steps towards it. By taking steps towards my initial idea of becoming a counsellor, I have started an incredible journey that has led me down lots of different paths and helped me to grow immensely as a person. I have learnt all sorts of things about myself along the way, I’ve met lots of new people and deepened some existing relationships. I would not have considered writing a blog or becoming a hypnotherapist before. I’m not sure whether I have found my life purpose or not, but just the action of trying to become clear has led me to something I am incredibly excited about; I feel like I have a new lease of life.
Take some action today towards something that you are interested in. Don’t worry about whether it is your destiny, just see where it takes you.