Do you get up in the morning dreading the tasks of your day? Or maybe the job you are in sucks the very life out of you? Do you feel stuck in a life you didn’t sign up for? How do you know you aren’t just going through a rough patch and need to stick it out? How do you know you aren’t just lazy? So many questions?! While I don’t profess to have all the answers, in this article let’s break down some ways to know if you are living in alignment with your purpose. And if not, how do you get more in alignment?
It’s taken me over 50 years and a bazillion (yes, that’s an official number) observations to see what seems to work for people and what might work for you. That being said, your life is uniquely yours so you should do what makes sense for you.
How To Know Your Life Is Not Aligned To Your Purpose
If you are miserable, you are likely living life out of sync with your purpose. I don’t mean miserable for a day, I mean miserable on a more often than not basis. Or if you wake up wondering if there is more to life, you might not be living in alignment. If you feel consistently unfilled, you might not be living in alignment. Or if you have settled because you don’t want to be selfish and expect more out of your life, you might not be living in alignment with your purpose. Seriously, if you’ve read this far into the article, you might not be living in alignment with your purpose. Now that we’ve established that, let’s fix it.
Moving Toward What Feels Right
The first tip toward living in alignment is to move toward what feels right and good. A good metaphor here is when the sun comes out after several days of rain. I feel my body just moving toward it like a new plant hungry for that warmth and Vitamin D. Go with that feeling when it comes to determining your purpose. Move toward those things that feel like this fill you up and give you more energy.
Let’s not get crazy here. Chocolate cake always feels right and good to me but that wouldn’t be a good strategy for optimal health. You get what I’m saying. Don’t use this as an excuse for your addiction of choice.
Related Article: Dealing with Food Addiction
The thing is, when we move toward what feels right, we are likely moving toward our purpose. There is a lot of fear associated with doing this so many people associate the feeling of fear with the belief they shouldn’t do it. The thing is, the definition of fear is that it’s an emotion based on a belief that something is dangerous or likely to cause pain in some way. Read that carefully – your beliefs are not necessarily reality and if you’ve ever taken a look at your life and realized your beliefs have changed as you matured, you know this to be true. I used to believe there were monsters under my bed. That didn’t make it true. I’ve got a few other articles regarding how to discern if fear is stopping you and I’ll link them below. Fear shouldn’t stop you from moving toward what feels right. And you don’t always need to figure out all the details. Let me provide a few examples:
I know someone who wanted to start consulting but didn’t know how to get started. They frequented a small shop and saw the owner had a great product but appeared completely overwhelmed and exhausted. Being a small business, they figured the shop couldn’t pay much, if anything, but knew they could help. For weeks they wondered if they should approach the owner and offer their services and struggled with what to require for payment. Ultimately, this person approached the owner and offered their services for free or for trade because they felt they could help. This budding consultant had no idea how this project would turn out or if they would make any money but it just felt like the right thing to do. As it turned out, the business owner told everyone in town about this amazing consultant and they had more work than they could handle.
Related Article: Success Rule – Get Comfortable Being Uncomfortable
Another person hated their job. I mean, hated it. And had hated it for years. They were so miserable, it was difficult to watch. They felt stuck and were convinced their family could not survive without the income this job was providing. While they were paid well, their payment to this employer included their self-worth and mental and physical health. It’s difficult to quantify the costs of those things. After months of this person focusing on building their self-confidence, they were able to see the toll this job was taking and create an exit strategy. While it didn’t happen overnight, this individual ended up leaving a narcissistic boss to pursue their dream of self-employment.
The thing is, when you move toward what feels right, and don’t let the fear stop you, things may fall into place or come to fruition that you never dreamed could happen. We like to have all the details worked out before taking a risk because, hey, nobody likes to fail. But sometimes failure is the only way to success. Sometimes we have to fail to figure out what doesn’t work and to allow life to provide the opportunity for something we would have never considered previously.
Related Article: How to Face Your Fears
Discerning Between Hard Work And A Wrong Path
One thing that trips people up more than anything else is determining why they are miserable and if maybe, being miserable is just part of the our expected life experience. In the United States we are born to believe hard work is the American way. Because of this belief, it can be confusing when you feel like you are working your tail off and are miserable in doing so.
There’s a distinct difference between working hard for something you love and working hard just for the sake of working. There’s nothing wrong with hard work (as a matter of fact, I’m a huge fan). And there is something very rewarding about working hard toward a specific goal. But when you are working hard year after year and find yourself getting more and more miserable with each passing day, you are likely on the wrong path. When you read the stories about famous entrepreneurs, they don’t always include the years of sacrifice those individuals endured to become successful. What got them through the difficult years was not just the hard work. It was the passion they had for what they were creating. They loved the hard work because they were so passionate about what they were doing. In other words, they moved toward what made them happy and what felt right without regard as to whether it would be successful or not. While I’m sure none of them wanted to fail, they weren’t afraid to. They were willing to continue to pour their heart and soul into their idea because it just felt right.
Whether it’s a business you want to start, moving to a new location, starting a new career, or volunteering somewhere, pay attention to what feels right in spite of the fear. Notice the little times when you do something that feels really good and don’t try to automatically turn that into your life purpose. For example, maybe you notice you feel good when you’ve interacted with a stranger and learned something from them. That doesn’t necessarily mean your purpose in life is to go out and talk to strangers all day. But maybe it does mean a component of your purpose is connecting with others in a deep and meaningful way.
Just start paying attention to when you feel like you’re are doing something worthwhile and impactful.
Getting Over Your Monetary Fears
To truly live your life purposefully, the monetary expectation has to be taken out of the equation. That trips everyone up. “How will I make money at it” is the worst question in the world to think about when determining your purpose.
I know, it’s scary. We’ve got to live right? It’s difficult not to worry about money and just see what happens. It’s especially scary if you are responsible for others. The good news is you don’t have to quit your job today and pronounce “I’m going to go live in sync with my life purpose!” I mean, if you can do that, good for you! But it isn’t necessary. You can start to pay attention to when you feel in sync today as you continue in the job that is sucking the very soul out of you. Maybe you feel in sync when you do something artistic. Maybe you feel in sync when you take a walk in nature. Then again, maybe you feel in sync when you are crushing a presentation and getting buy-in on a new proposal. Just pay attention. Keep a notebook and start to jot down what feels “right” and what doesn’t. When do you feel energized, filled up, and complete. And when do you feel depleted, exhausted, and drained. Start to move toward more of what feels right without worrying about the pay. You’ll find that when you are doing things that feel right, you are exceptional in that role, and others will notice. And when you are doing things that don’t feel in alignment with your purpose, not only will you hate it but others will notice you hate it. Don’t worry as much about how the pay will materialize and begin to trust that it will.
Put more value on your life than on the money you earn. I’ve found in talking with others that the money always takes care of itself when you live in alignment with your purpose. Somehow, it always works out. You know, there is plenty of money on the planet. Plenty of money for you and everyone else. Getting over your fear of lack and failure is key to living in sync with your purpose.
Related Article: Money Saving Hacks – 13 Tips to Eliminate Debt and Save $
Living in sync with your purpose is not a one and done event. It’s a lifetime occurrence that is worthy of your time and exploration. As I mentioned in the beginning of the article, this is based on my personal experiences and those I’ve been fortunate to watch and learn from. I don’t profess to have the secret to life, just another perspective. I’d love to hear your comments regarding your personal journey or questions you have about this topic.
New Planners Focused on Micro-Goals
I’m really excited to share my new planners that will help you to focus on micro-goals (hopefully aligning to your life purpose). Check them out and purchase one on Amazon at the links below. I’m creating new designs all the time so be sure to check back often!
The Professional: https://amzn.to/3TKu96y
The Minimalist: https://amzn.to/3KQSjbo
The Artist (paperback): https://amzn.to/3xp5v1Z
The Artist (hard cover): https://amzn.to/3AXSPA5
The Environmentalist: https://amzn.to/3QuUtyU