5 Tips To Uncover Your Purpose in 2019
Maybe you have your life figured out already. You’re already doing what you love, contributing your skills and talents to help make this world better. If so this article isn’t for you. For everyone else, you have a choice to make. 2019 can either be about taking greater steps towards a life of meaning, fulfillment and purpose or it can be about living a life coping with the loss of not having it. Sound harsh? It is. But it’s true. I know a lot about the coping the part. I did it for a really long time, keeping myself busy doing things that didn’t matter, binge-watching TV and comfort eating. Anything that kept me from facing the void I felt. Until one day I heard a little voice say, “Take this course,” and I heard a braver voice say, “Yes. Yes, I will.” I followed that path until I learned how to combine mindfulness, yoga and coaching into a purposeful career that contributes to the well-being of others. The truth is that this beautiful world needs you and everything you have to offer. So, how can you make 2019 your year to connect with purpose? Try the following:
5 TIPS TO UNCOVER YOUR PURPOSE IN 2019
- Adopt a stillness practice. Your mind is a powerful tool until it gets stuck in worry, fear or rumination. Chances are you’ve written lists, done online research, but haven’t made enough forward progress. That’s because purpose can’t be figured out in your head. It doesn’t work that way. Purpose whispers to you between the busyness of traffic jams and grocery store line-ups. We’re all so busy that we don’t hear it. Meditate. Journal, walk in the ravine. Find a way to create space and pay attention to the signs that come.
- When the signs come, do something! A big misconception is that you’ll find purpose full-formed waiting by the side of the road in a moment of hallelujah and morning glory. The truth is you learn about your purpose as you take steps in the world. So how can you do that? Start by following your interests. Take the class, buy the book, talk to someone else in the field. Give yourself permission to explore things. Often interests don’t go where you expected. Steve Jobs had a love for calligraphy, for example, which only made sense many years later when he reflected on his career and saw how it fed into his knowledge of design.
- Ask for feedback. Sometimes we can’t see what’s right in front of us. Try this exercise recommended by the Purpose Challenge from the Greater Good Science Centre. Email 5 friends or colleagues and ask them to email you responses to the following questions:
- What do you think are my strengths and talents?
- How do you think I can I use my talents in a meaningful way?
- How do you see me contributing to the world in the future?
- Find out what you care about. Purpose involves finding out what riles you up or turns you on. I care about coaching people to live their best life because I have seen the pain that comes when people live out of synch with who they are. Pain that ripples out to the families they live with and communities they work in. Try this meditation here to learn what you care about.
- Look to your past for clues. We aren’t randomly thrown around in our world. There is a reason for example, that I was born in Ottawa to mixed-race parents and a father with mental anxieties and emotional challenges. Your past can provide clues around what you’re supposed to do in this life. Try this exercise, adapted from Find Your Why by Simon Sinek.
- Draw a horizontal line across a page.
- Reflect on your life and the major events that have had an impact.
- Jot happy memories above the line and more difficult memories below the line.
- When done, scan the page for memories with the most emotional punch.
- Pick one event from above the line and another from below the line.
- Grab a pen and paper and journal answering the following questions. What was the impact of this event on my life. Who am I now because of it? How does this memory inform my purpose?
The bottom line is that your life matters and this world needs you.
So what do you decide? Either way it’s uncomfortable. You either have the discomfort of doing something new and scary or the discomfort of staying stuck where you are. What will you pick?
Liz Doyle Harmer is a yoga and mindfulness teacher and leadership coach. You can find her at www.lizdoyleharmer.com