On finding my life’s purpose

mark twain quotes, inspirational quotes, life, meaning, purpose, motivational pictures


Yesterday my husband flew off to work and my kids went back to school after our 6 week Summer break. New shoes were worn, healthy lunches were packed, shiny new stationery was purchased, books will be covered and labelled. Enriching and enjoyable after school activities have been booked, uniforms fitted and important dates diarised.  Mmmmm. Now what do I do??? I love being a parent but I also love to work and feel that I’m contributing to the family and society generally. Last year I studied but did no paid work, so this year I want to work but, unlike past jobs that I haven’t loved, I want to do something that not only pays me but gives me satisfaction.

I am acutely aware that a dilemma over finding my life’s purpose is a first world problem. Reassuringly though,  Viktor Frankl of Man’s Search for Meaning theorises that the search for a meaning in life is the primary motivational force in human beings. Having said that, all those enriching activities, shoes, stationery and uniforms don’t come cheap, so there is a financial impetus driving my quest for meaningful employment too! 

What is my purpose, what am I passionate about?  In my own search for meaning I hit the font of all wisdom i.e. the internet and discovered Finding your life purpose in Psychology Today. This really resonated with me. Don’t get too stressed about this or put too much pressure on yourself about clarifying your purpose. Your purpose might indeed be something grand and complicated, or it may be as simple as dispensing love and kindness wherever you go. Remember to be present in the moment, and delight in watching it all unfold. Life really is beautiful.” That’s lovely and I do work hard to find the beauty and joy in the everyday, but right now that’s not really concrete enough for me. I need a job!

Clicking on I then turned to the real Guru, Oprah, and took a quick quiz: Who am I meant to be? Apparently I am striving to be creative, knowledgeable and secure. OK.

Then I found this promising article Fast Exercises to find your purpose and passion for work. Fast is good because preferably I can knock this finding my purpose thing on the head in the next few days. Right? I dutifully downloaded a workbook 14 Paths to Your Passion (18 pages)  and set to work.

One exercise suggests you write down the answer to “What is my true purpose in life?” Then, write another answer. Keep writing until you cry. “This is your purpose.” I had to give up on that one because the only tears I produced were born of sheer frustration. Another suggests you write your eulogy as you would like it to be, including your achievements and the difference you made. I liked this one and it really consolidated my thinking.

I wish I could finish this post by telling you that I have had my Eureka! moment, an epiphany that told me what my true life’s purpose is. I’ve only been working on this for a while so I’m not going to beat myself up about it. I think now I’ve put the process in motion I will eventually find something I want to pursue with passionate energy.While I haven’t identified my life’s purpose in a nutshell I did realise that while I was writing this I was experiencing flow. The psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, describes it as “the feeling of total engagement in the activity so that you don’t notice anything outside of what you’re doing; you forget time and you forget yourself.” 

So, if I can combine my writing with other things that I care about and get paid for it, I think I will have come pretty close to finding a job I could love.  Have you found your life’s purpose, or are you like me, still working out how to fit family, money, health and a fulfilling job into the mix? I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences.

Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance.” Eckhart Tolle, A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose


33 thoughts on “On finding my life’s purpose

  1. Wonderful, so pleased for you. This quote by the psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, describes it as “the feeling of total engagement in the activity so that you don’t notice anything outside of what you’re doing; you forget time and you forget yourself.” You just described me when I am reading or writing. What a nice way of looking at this, I thought I was a little obsessive compulsive

  2. Created ~ Create.it says:

    I really enjoyed reading this because like you, I’ve been searching for my life purpose for some time now. I don’t think I’ve found it and what freaks me out is, when I do, will I know ?! Scary…I don’t want to miss it. I’m also in that place where I’m jobless but don’t want to find one that simply pays but that I enjoy doing also. So, just be fulfilled by your family right now. I wish I had that. Let’s walk in faith together that it will come and it will come just in time 🙂

    • So glad to meet someone experiencing the same uncertainties & fears. You’re right I am lucky to have other things that give meaning. I’m sure we will know that passion & purpose when we find it! Good luck on your search.

  3. Very good post. I’m at a time in my life when I don’t have little ones to constantly chase and I have time for me, so I’m trying to discover who that me really is. Every day is another opportunity to make your life better.

  4. Sometimes I wonder if there really is something like a life’s purpose. Maybe it’s just doing what we love and enjoying the world around us, because passions and interests change over time for many people. That said, I’m one of those lucky people who can make a living from her creative passion, but I don’t have the feeling that it’s my ‘life’s purpose’ 🙂

  5. Allyson Mellone says:

    I wish for you to strive as you journey on your discovery of pursuit. I’ve found myself starting over again a few years ago with many ups and downs in my path. Thinking “what’s next” always propelled me to a future. That’s how I stay positive.

    • Thanks for your support Allyson. I do think we have to reflect on where we are going from time to time or otherwise we get stuck. Glad to hear you are staying positive too.

  6. Lakshmi Loves To Shop says:

    Finding the happy medium in life is tricky…I actually get more satisfaction out of my unpaid jobs 🙂 but you have to find what is right for you and you are over half way there being such an interesting person…you’ll find your niche…

  7. Purpose does not come from complexity. It is born of simplicity. Each time you make someone smile, you are realizing a singular, and simple, purpose in life. I believe we have many purposes–some we are aware of as in the case of being mothers and nurturers, other times we are unaware as these purposes are yet to be discovered. This post made me smile. In fact, I quite loved it. There should be “love” buttons, in addition to the “like” ones that you can click on here. Ooh, just discovered another potential purpose of yours: the impetus for the WordPress “love” button, for readers to click on. Seriously, it’s normal to just want to know what we’re here for. That can be ever changing, too. Just know that to smile is to feel good. And to feel good is to be living with purpose. This reply has come full circle now. Thanks for the “like” and also for this beautiful post. 🙂

    • Thanks for your thoughtful and complimentary comment. Those are the best! OK, so I need to start lobbying for a ‘love’button! I agree that giving to others, even if it’s just a smile, is to feel purposeful.

  8. Interesting post. When I first read about “the feeling of full engagement” it really resonated with me. I have experienced that feeling many times through music, writing, teaching and interacting with others. I am much more aware of those moments now and try to give myself more time to experience things that give me that feeling. Making a living doing one of those things would be ideal.

  9. I can understand how you feel. I gave up a very well paying corporate career since it did not fullfill my purpose, was perpetually stuck in “What Next” and “Then What”. Not sure I have found it as yet but have definitely realised that one of the purposes is to remain happy no matter what !! I really like reading Eckhart Tolle and specially Power of Now has had a profound impact on me.

    • I really need to read that! I have only read excerpts so far. Good luck with your quest and good on you for being brave enough to walk away from the corporate world. xS

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