We are a full week into the new year and we are just starting to scratch the surface of our ongoing discussion about finding purpose.
Last week we talked a little bit about the myths people tell you about finding your purpose. This week we take a closer look at purpose and how you will know when you’ve found it.
Which can be frustrating. Because, as we have discussed, finding your purpose is no easy matter.
It’s a bit like finding inspiration.
“PURPOSE IS WHAT YOU LOSE JUST AFTER YOU STOP LOOKING FOR IT.”
You need to see clues. You need to feel progress. You need to know that having purpose is possible.
So what are those guide rails? What are the signs that you are living life with purpose?
Here are 11 ways to know that you’ve found your purpose.
1. What You Are Doing Feels Natural — Like It’s Meant for You.
Do you know that dream you have for yourself, not when you’re sleeping, but when you are wide awake, sitting in your car at a red light on the way to work? You start imagining what your life would look like if you could just figure out what you wanted to do with the rest of it.
Or maybe you already know what your purpose is, but you just can’t get your hands around it yet. And so you sit, daydreaming about how great it will feel.
It’s not a dream. That’s exactly what finding your purpose will feel like. Just like you imagine it will. Life doesn’t necessarily become easier when you find your purpose, but it just feels right. It’s like sinking into your grandmother’s favorite armchair (you know, the one you were never supposed to sit in).
It feels like you were always there and you are always supposed to be there. It’s just meant for you.
2. You have more energy even though you are working harder.
When you find your purpose, you usually equate that to doing something that you love.
Maybe you are making a difference in the lives of youth. Maybe you are making a difference in the lives of small business owners. Heck, maybe you just opened up a dog bakery and are making a difference in the lives of canines (and their owners) by offering healthy pup treats.
Chances are you are working harder than you’ve ever worked — but you are fulfilled. So when you go home at night, you aren’t stressed because you are exhausted from hating your job all day. You are exhausted and fall happily into your bed. And you sleep better.
You wake up with more energy even though you are working harder, because love doesn’t always feel like work. And finding your purpose is a lot like falling in love.
3. You can see a pattern of preparation in your past.
“I’ve been training for this day my whole life.” It’s not just something that people say. It’s usually true.
Those who have that nagging feeling of “this isn’t what I’m supposed to be doing” have a tendency to be on a never-ending quest. Sometimes it shows itself in the form of hopping from job to job. Sometimes it shows itself as owning one business after another after another after another.
Those experiences are the ebb and flow of life. You may not know what you are supposed to be doing for the rest of your life, but there’s a plan. And when you find your purpose, when you find the thing that you’ve been preparing for your whole life, you will look back and realize it wasn’t a waste of your time and effort at all.
You were just preparing for today.
4. Other people’s lives are enriched by what you are doing.
Most of the time, your purpose does not include your own selfish motives.
Like every rule, there are exceptions. But for the most part, when you find your purpose, other people will recognize it too because they will be impacted by your work.
You will be excited to share your purpose. You will be excited to give of yourself. You will be happy to help others explore their life’s purpose. Your life is not the only one that will change. You will change the lives of everyone around you for the better.
5. You are no longer paralyzed by fear and willing to take a risk.
Once you realize what you are supposed to be doing, you become your own kind of superhero. You don’t need anyone to pat you on the back and tell you what a wonderful job you are doing. You are fully aware of your greatness.
“YOU KNOW THAT THIS THING YOU ARE DESTINED TO DO WAS MEANT FOR YOU AND YOU ALONE.”
And you are not scared to go out on a limb and take risks to ensure that you succeed. You will ask for help. You will reach out to people who not so long ago seemed unreachable and you will bask in the absolute knowledge that everything is going to work out.
6. It’s no longer about the money.
Just like your disappearing fear, money is no object when you’ve found your purpose.
Whether it is taking a pay cut to do what you are supposed to be doing or trying to figure out how to come up with the money to make it happen. Once you realize what your purpose is, the money is a trivial matter.
You will find a way to come up with the money you need.
You will find a way to make sure your bills get paid and food stays in the fridge, even if it means bartering with friends or local restaurants. You will breathe new life into the old saying, “where there’s a will, there’s a way.”
And you will just make it happen.
7. Other people with a similar purpose find their way into your life automagically.
The Law of Attraction has a funny way of rearing it’s beautifully purposeful head once you finally realize what you’ve been looking for. You will run into people with the same purpose as you or a similar purpose.
You will be magically introduced to someone who was looking for exactly the “thing” you have to offer. It’s like Murphy’s Law in reverse. Everything that can go right, will.
And your only job is to not question it, but to embrace every person that automagically appears in your life and learn the lessons that they have to teach you.
8. Your people/community will find you.
You can search the internet for 2.5 seconds and see that there are endless resources for finding your “tribe.” I like to call my community The EDGY Empire of Awesomeness.
Once you find your purpose, you will notice that your community will start to seek you out. They may want your advice. They may need your help. They may just want to stand in your presence because you make them feel good about life.
The reasons don’t matter.
You will be glad to have a community of people who have your back and want to see you succeed. People who want what’s best for you.
9. You feel strangely peaceful even with more stress in your life.
When you find that thing that you’ve been looking for all along, you have no choice but to feel peace. Even when your life is bogged down with more stress due to financial reasons or time constraints.
When you find your purpose, you will be settled in your soul. Life will seem oddly peaceful because you finally know what you are supposed to be doing and that feeling of being on cloud nine just kind of quietly lingers above your head.
10. Your relationships will improve despite the adversity in front of you.
It’s amazing how your life takes turns you never expected after you find your purpose. When you realize what your duty is to yourself, it makes you look at what your duty is to the people around you as well.
When you are becoming the best version of you to make your dreams come true, it’s sometimes startling what a terrible person you’ve been to those who just wanted the best for you. You were snippy. You were easily agitated. You were selfish.
Once you find your purpose, it’s like all the negativity you’ve been projecting on the ones you love is brought to your attention. It’s ok to apologize and start over. You have purpose now. And so do your relationships.
11. You will become a better version of you.
Even if you have to work harder — even if your stress level has increased — once you find your true purpose, you just become a better version of yourself. And that’s because the world becomes a better version of the world to you.
The sun shines a little brighter. The days seem a little longer. The air is a little cleaner. People are a little nicer. In reality, none of those changes happened on the outside.
The change took place inside of you. You are feeling better about your life. You are more positive and it shows on the outside. The world is just reflecting back what you are putting into it.
So be a better person. Keep looking for your purpose.
If you haven’t found it yet, that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist. Like I mentioned in the story a few days ago about Kathryn Minshew, founder of The Muse, you are not alone in your situation or your quest.
Your situation is special — and it is unique to you — but there are a million other people on this planet trying to figure out why they are here. What their purpose is.
Keep your heart open. Keep your eyes looking. And if we left anything out, tell us in The EDGY Empire of Awesomeness Facebook Group.
Your purpose awaits.