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Find Your Purpose - A How-To Guide


I Don’t Know What to Do With My Life | By: Katie Lister

March 03, 2024

What is purpose? How do you find your purpose? What makes it so hard to find purpose? Why is finding my purpose important? If you Struggle with these and more related questions, this article is for you!

Hi, my name is Katie Lister, a practicing Registered Nurse and the founder of Growth Gals. I lead personal development groups and coach women to become the best versions of themselves every day. Growth Gals provides a safe space for women to connect with like-minded individuals to learn, and offer support to each other.

At GG, we discuss issues like emotional intelligence, mental health and other topics. In this article I will answer the big question, how do you find your purpose?

Table of Contents

Katie Lister

Katie Lister

Written by Katie Lister, RN, BScN. An experienced Registered Nurse, Group Facilitator, Life Coach, and Community Leader. Read Katie's Full Author Bio

What is Purpose?

What am I doing? What is my purpose? Your purpose in life refers to what motivates you and the reason you wake up in the morning day-to-day. Purpose defines what you want to contribute to the world around you, and is often confused for life goals. While related, they are not the same. A goal is an objective you want to achieve, but purpose defines your life’s direction and priorities. Three self-reflection visions define purpose:

  • Why do you exist: What is your purpose or mission? How do you define what your life is all about? What gives your life meaning?
  • How do you live? Are there principles or rules that you live by? How do you interact with people?
  • What are your objectives? What do you want to accomplish?

Most people shy away from pursuing their purpose because it sounds selfish. A true sense of purpose comes from recognizing your talents and using them to contribute to the world around you. Once you realize what your purpose is, you can find fulfillment and live an authentic life.

Many people struggle to find their purpose in life, and some know it early. Your purpose can also change throughout your life as your roles change. Each role comes with a different sense of purpose.

If you attach your purpose to a specific role, like a career, you feel derailed if or when you retire. You should think of your purpose in a more general and adaptable perspective. For example, if you are a teacher, you can continue teaching even after retirement, maybe offering tutoring lessons to struggling students.

Why Is Finding Purpose Important?

Other than providing you with a greater sense of direction, finding your north star or your true purpose is essential in several other ways:

Better physical health and general well-being

People who have something to live for are happy and healthy. Studies show that people who identify a purpose in their lives have a lower risk of developing diseases like Alzheimer’s. People with a strong sense of purpose are also less likely to die early than those who do not. A study of over 70,000 Japanese adults found that those with a strong sense of purpose (Ikigai) lived longer than those without.


Greater happiness 

Research also shows that people who know their purpose are more successful and happier than those who don’t. They also contribute more positively to the environment around them.

Stronger relationships with family and friends

People who know their purpose have stronger relationships with their family and friends. They also feel less lonely as they keep in close contact with people.

Have more resilience

People with a strong sense of purpose are more resilient and able to handle the stresses of life. Purpose offers positive psychology and a buffer against stress. A person with a sense of purpose remains fulfilled, even after a bad day. This resilience leads to a healthier person and less stress, which is a major cause of heart diseases.

Why Most People Find It Hard To Find Their Purpose

What am I looking for? Some people know what they want, even as early as high school. Some people find their purpose well into adulthood, while others may go through life without finding their purpose. Finding your purpose relies on your motivation and how badly you want to find your true north. Here is why most people struggle to find their purpose:

Comparing yourself to others

We all have unique life paths, and when you compare yourself with others, especially on social media, you lose focus on finding your true self. The comparison makes you want to copy or outdo others, which is outside your unique path. Social media is highly curated to make you feel a certain way. Stick to your truth, live authentically, and stick to what you truly love.

Lack of direction

When you have no direction, you have no goals to live for. When you lack a sense of direction, it is easy to think that you have no life purpose. We all have unique gifts and you can only start living your purpose when you recognize yours.

You don’t tap into your subconscious

Humans are only conscious of their decisions and actions 5% of the time. Our subconscious controls the other 95%, which includes emotional reactions, memorized behavior, attitudes and habits. Your non-logical mind can help you discover your purpose which is a journey, not a destination.

Listening to your subconscious allows you to make better choices by following the cues it offers. Tapping into your subconscious mind via practices like meditation will enable things to flow and let your purpose come from within. You can learn to accept yourself and identify your desires by delving deep into your thoughts, and only then can you set out to fulfill your wishes.

Letting your age discourage you

It’s always possible to find your purpose, no matter your age. American business lady Martha Stewart started a catering business at 35, and English author Francis Milton Trollop began her writing career at 50. History is full of people who discovered their purpose when they were older. Young people stress a lot about growing older without finding their life purpose, but age is not a factor, and you can change your life at any age if you are willing to work towards it.


Pursuing things to please society

Our greatest limiting factor towards finding our purpose is trying to please society and our egos. We chase careers other people pressure us to, such as parents, peers or teachers. Pleasing society and living up to others’ expectations will leave you unhappy and unfulfilled.

What Steps Should I Take to Discover My Life’s Purpose?

Learning how to get a life and find your purpose might sound like an uphill and complex task to accomplish. However, here are some steps that you can take to discover your life purpose.

Identify your values

It’s impossible to answer “What is my life purpose?” without defining what you value. Your core values are those principles and beliefs that guide how you live and what you prioritize in life. Examples of attributes that may make up life values may be:

  • Integrity
  • Honesty
  • Family values
  • Gratitude
  • Generosity, etc.

Set Goals

To live a meaningful life, you must set goals that align with your values. For instance, if one of your core values is generosity, set goals that allow you to volunteer time or resources towards a good cause.

Explore your passions and seek other people’s feedback 

Your interests and passions may show you where your life purpose lies. What we are passionate about is not always apparent. Sometimes, what we are passionate about is a part of our lives that we take for granted. For instance, you always make people laugh, but you have never thought about it as a passion. To find your passion, listen to what other people think about you.

You can reach out to different people and ask them what comes to mind when they think of you. Write down these comments and look for a pattern. It might emerge that you are funny and compassionate, you love kids, animals, etc.

Practice self-compassion

Show yourself some self-compassion when things don’t go as planned. Everyone makes mistakes. Instead of dwelling on the failures you should view them as opportunities to uplift yourself and live a purposeful life.

Keep experimenting

Personal values and goals change as we age. Your life purpose and the meaning of life evolve with time. Keep experimenting and trying new things until you settle on what makes you happy.

Find Your Purpose: How Growth Gals Can Help

Our aim at Growth Gals is to inspire women to reach their full potential. We also strive to create positive change by giving women the resources to discover their true selves. We discuss issues like mental health, emotional intelligence, self-improvement, finding your purpose, among many others.

Growth Gals helps women overcome obstacles and make informed decisions that make it easier for them to find their purpose. We also help them connect with others with similar values and experiences. Subscribe to the Growth Gals newsletter to access helpful guides and resources and learn more about how we can help you live your best life.

Find your Purpose: Conclusion

Some people are born with a strong sense of purpose. Some people have to do a lot of soul-searching to find meaning and live a happy life. Everyone on earth, from New York to the furthest corner of the globe wants to have a meaningful life with clear goals and directions. However, to discover your purpose, you must put in some work. List your values, set clear goals, seek the opinions of people you trust and show yourself some kindness along the journey. Finding your purpose changes your life in more ways than one, and you have to be ready to embrace the changes.

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