I’ve wanted to write on this for a long time, so glad to finally be doing this!
‘Purpose’ is such a loaded topic, & as someone who worked on finding a sense of purpose early on I’ve had many conversations about how to find it. As this topic comes up a lot, it’s worth exploring ways of creating more of a sense of purpose or meaning, and it definitely has been found to be correlated with positive mental health and overall wellbeing.
I want to start by disclaiming that not everyone’s purpose is expressed in work. A meaningful, fulfilling life can look like quality relationships, enjoyable hobbies, leisure and abundance, emotional growth, working for someone else… it does not have to look work-related, creative or entrepreneurial.
1. Follow your joy – We are innately gifted with joy, which guides us to important and meaningful potential paths. For example, I found joy early on in dance class, deep emotional connection, creative expression, books on natural health, wellbeing and spirituality. All of which play a part today in my facilitation of groups.
2. Tune into your heartbreak – It may sound counter-intuitive, but what breaks our hearts can be a signal that it’s a cause that we deeply care about, and we are more likely to find it fulfilling to be involved in working on solutions. This may line up with some of our life experiences as we develop nuanced empathy for these themes. For example, my own lived experiences also informs my facilitation, research, writing.
3. Ask what the community most needs – Where are the lacks or shortages in your environment? What do or did you need more of? Support? Resources? Information? Psycho-education? Accessibility? Collaboration? Connection? Community? Inspiration? Intuition? Activism? Advocacy? For example, in my own youth I lacked healthy role models, accessible support, psycho-education and deep, authentic connection to healthy community, which have become central tenants of what I strive to create…
What do your answers to all three questions have in common? This is your starting place.
Start somewhere – Take an odd job/volunteer somewhere that will teach you the skills you don’t yet have. Watch you-tube videos. Go on skills-share. Email someone who is doing it already, or something similar. Take their class. Make a mind-map. Make a list of the first 5 steps – cross off number 1. Usually each step is connected to the other, so it doesn’t matter too much, which one comes first. Just start somewhere.
Question for reflection: What are the things that make you come alive and feel glad to be alive?