Finding Your Life’s Purpose

I used to think that finding your purpose was as impossible as finding your keys on a busy morning. It was something you couldn’t do on your own. And it had to involve a little hair pulling and be stress inducing.

So I did that. I confronted it the way I did any problem. I used my left brain, researching like crazy, spending hours in bookstores and libraries pouring over job descriptions in the hope that I would eventually find my answer.

Of course, I didn’t find it. Because digging for truth from external resources never gets you to where you want to go. The only way to find out what you were meant to do is listen. You already know.

{I took that frame with my iPhone so forgive the wavy lines.}

The moment we’re desperately seeking something we’re forgetting our own inner wisdom. The intuitive voice that says, “Remember how you used to love creating stories when you were a kid,” or “think about all the time you spend taking pictures as a teen.” It’s that little spark of energy you feel when you’re doing something you thoroughly love. It’s the activities that make you feel like you’re in the flow. It’s an experience that years after it happened touched you and now you’re changed forever.

A dream isn’t something that needs to be discovered. A dream is already there.

It could have been planted as a seed from the time you were born or it could have grew into an entirely different plant as you’ve gotten older.

Your dreams are an already existing garden. Why haven’t you found it yet? You’ve let the weeds grow over your passion because of time, fear, and the dream killers who you’ve allowed to dictate your life.

If you’re feeling lost, stuck, confused about what you want to do with the rest of your life, stop asking others for help. Stop perusing the career section in your local bookstore. Instead, peer down into your neglected past. Remember your roots and nourish the moments that you used to love, but forgot about. Cultivate your passions and you will eventually rediscover that garden and those precious seeds you planted as a child.

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Signs You’re Not Living Your Purpose

I know someone who’s been doing the same job for almost 20 years, but recently told me he’s never felt like he was on the right track.

Hopefully, that’s not you.

Hopefully, you don’t have to spend two decades walking in one direction before you stop to realize that you have been on the wrong one.

Here are a few signs taken from the Callings talk I went to a few weeks ago. {Yep, I’m still reaping benefit from that event.}

Signs You’re On the Wrong Path

1. You spend much of your days thinking, planning and studying about your dreams.

That sounds like a good thing right? All that preparation means you’re going somewhere.

In reality, you could be stalling. If you find yourself signing up for webinars, classes, booking consultants and experts to help you, you may be unconsciously keeping yourself busy so you don’t have time to take action and start pursuing your dreams. You may be waiting for the perfect moment to do A, B, or C. But there really is no perfect time.


2. You choose a path that’s parallel to the one you’re called towards.

You’re an editor, for example, who really wants to write for a living. Or you work in a bookstore instead of writing a book. You may be a seamstress who dreams of being a fashion designer. Or an art buyer rather than an artist. Think about what you do for a living. Could you be slightly off track? Are you in a job where you are watching those you want to be like succeed while safely standing out of the limelight?


3. You’re a workaholic.

People who spend all of their waking hours working or worried about work may be doing so because it feels safer than thinking about what they really want to do in life, but aren’t doing. Being a workaholic is a great distraction, a way to keep yourself busy that you don’t have time to pay attention to what really needs your attention.This could be your kids. This could be the book you’ve always wanted to write.

If any of these sounds like you, take heart.

There are a few things you can do:

  • Start easy. If you’re thinking of starting a business or trying out a new creative venture, start by surrounding yourself with positive, supportive people. Begin with easy customers, not tough ones. This means you shouldn’t ask your cynical uncle what he thinks about your plans to open up a new craft business or your pessimistic pal about your latest design idea. Find people who are optimistic and supportive. You will need them especially to have the courage to go through the long haul to get to your dreams.
  • Take small steps. Because the road to following your calling feels so scary, it’s important to take small steps so you don’t overwhelm yourself at the beginning. Just quitting that day job or calling potential clients can be enough to make you want to give up. So start small. Make weekly, monthly even daily goals for yourself that look like this: 1) create a list of potential clients to contact 2) buy file folders and a new notebook to keep track of all of your expenses and potential projects/ideas 3) set up a website 4) contact 1 customer/client.
  • Form a community to help you. No one becomes successful by doing things on their own. You can hire a designer to help you design your web page or find a mentor to give you advice and encouragement to follow your path. Ask your relative who is an entrepreneur how they got started. Or contact a Twitter or Facebook friend and ask if they can give you some tips.

Do you have any tips or words of wisdom that helped you go from dreaming to living your dream career? Did this post resonate with you? Are you living a life parallel to your dreams? Share your thoughts below.

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