Some people have a clear vision of their purpose early on in life—it’s as if the path was laid out for them and they simply had to take the first step. For others, the vision is unclear and the path elusive. Even those who seem to know the way have, at one time or another, asked themselves the same question you ask yourself: Is this the life I was meant to live?
I’m one of those people whose stepping-stones have been elusive. I’ve spent years searching for the answer to what makes me happy. As a result, I began to recognize and appreciate a specific set of core concepts for expanding potential and moving into alignment with my purpose. I found these concepts to be quite impactful and I still put them into practice today. I now share them with you with the hope that they can help you navigate your path.
1. Pay AttentionWhen you pay attention, you become an active participant in your life. You start to notice the things that make you happy and it’s easier to reject the things that don’t. Think back to all the times you’ve felt fulfilled in life. This could go as far back to when you were a child. Then ask yourself these questions:
- What were you doing?
- Who were you with?
- What emotions were you feeling?
- Did you have moments when you lost track of time because you were doing something you loved?
2. Change the QuestionInstead of asking, “What is my purpose?” try asking, “Who is the person I am trying to become?” Changing the question can help shift your perspective and open yourself up to an abundance of creative ideas and fulfilling experiences you may have never thought possible.
The truth is you’ve had glimpses of this person throughout your life—just take a look at the common themes you’ve identified. Use the themes from your life and begin to visualize yourself as this person who’s been trying to manifest. You might see yourself as a travel writer, or a teacher inspiring young minds, or as an entrepreneur starting that business you’ve always wanted. What do you look like when you’re doing this? Are you happy, content, vibrant, and surrounded by like-minded people? Don’t hold back. When you see yourself as this person and it’s in alignment with your soul’s purpose, you will feel the “rightness” of it in every fiber of your being.
3. Take Time for StillnessYou are in a world of constant stimulation and busyness, and it can be hard to quiet the turbulence of your thoughts in order to see the clear picture. Cultivating stillness and silence is a powerful way to restore your balance and energy. Figure out what stillness means for you. It could be taking a walk along the beach, gardening, journaling, exercising, or meditating. Whatever practice you prefer, it’s important to access stillness every day, even if just for a few minutes. Tapping into stillness creates inner clarity and expanded awareness that will help you discover yourself with greater ease and understanding.
4. Go Beyond Your Comfort ZoneEleanor Roosevelt once said that you should “do one thing that scares you every day.” This is especially important when on the path to self-discovery. Living beyond your comfort zone helps you embrace uncertainty and unlock true potential. If you say “yes” to projects, experiences, or activities that shake up your sense of security, that can lead to the discovery (and confirmation) of your talents.
A friend once told me that she thought I’d make a good teacher, but I immediately brushed it off. For most of my life I did my best to avoid experiences that had me presenting in front of people. Soon after her comment, however, I had the opportunity to become certified as a meditation instructor. All the fears that held me back over the years came rushing up, but my friend’s words were louder than my hesitations. Plus, I loved to meditate. So I took a deep breath, and said “yes.” Now I teach regularly, and what keeps bringing me back is the feeling of being alive.
When you strive to live outside your comfort zone, you will find yourself confronting limiting beliefs that stem from fears. This is perfectly natural. Move through them knowing that you will come out the other end having grown as an individual who is closer to becoming the person you were meant to be.
Do something different—it can be anything—and see what unfolds.
5. Give BackOnce you’ve discovered your unique gifts and talents, begin to think about how they can be shared with others. Sharing your life’s purpose will be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life. When you hone your skills, people will be naturally drawn to you. Over time, these same people will want to give back to you by sharing their own gifts. Life functions with effortless ease when you allow yourself to not only receive, but also to give.
My grandmother was a naturally gifted speaker. Her talent was speaking up for those who were not able to speak for themselves. Her gift was recognized by many and inspired huge positive changes. I encourage you to step into a role of giving and allow your talents to shine.
6. Take ActionThis step is very simple but can be the hardest. Knowing your true self comes from direct experience, so get out of your head and live life on purpose. You’ve done the work and now it’s time to take that leap of faith. It doesn’t have to be drastic action. A slight change in direction is enough to impact big changes over time.
Many people live with the limiting beliefs they learned while growing up. Now is the time to let go of conditioned thought patterns and open up to new possibilities. Allow yourself to be conscious of what makes your heart sing and do that thing. You are stronger than you think.
Every day I see the vision of the person I am becoming—she is confident, loving, healthy, and full of life. She is a teacher, surrounded by good friends and family, and living her dream. If this is what’s possible, I’m all in. Are you?
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