5 Steps To Getting Closer To Your Purpose
Start writing a post

5 Steps To Getting Closer To Your Purpose

Finding your calling doesn't have to be complicated.

finding purpose

Think back on a time when you felt truly connected to what you were put on this earth to do. It could have been a moment, a week, or even six months when you woke up every day with a sense of peace, flow, and engagement with what you put your mind to. Remember it.

This is a critical clue — a breadcrumb — on your journey to finding your purpose. At Project X, we define purpose as a sense that you are contributing to others, that your work has a broader meaning. This means you can cultivate purpose through moments of connection and insight.

Your purpose will not be found in your cubicle, dorm room or Instagram feed.

That unnerving feeling in the pit of your stomach is reminding you that your calling is still hidden deep inside you, waiting to be explored. It is a journey and finding it opens up a million questions. It can be overwhelming to acknowledge the effort, time and money you have invested in a degree or that your career has run its course. But more often than not, it is a course that was set by someone else. Whose idea was it to define success as a six-figure income, a mortgage and a soulless job that comes with hollow bragging rights?

"Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?" - Mary Oliver

But living your purpose can present as a huge obstacle. It feels overwhelming. We fear we may not find it or we're not worthy of it, or we don't have the time to discover it and earn a living. The truth, however, is that purpose is fundamental. It's the fuel that will keep you fighting the battles that seem impossible to win. When we operate from anger, frustration or fear, we eventually deplete ourselves and those around us. But when we lead from a vision that is greater than ourselves, it is energizing. It is what great teachers, entrepreneurs, civil leaders, and nurses do every day. It is unifying.

Here are five quick actions you can take to get you closer to your purpose:

1. Empty your suitcase

We all carry career baggage: misleading expectations about success, career, family and more. Spend a few minutes making a list of the expectations that hold you back. Maybe your parents only gave you two options: doctor or lawyer. Maybe television convinced you by the time you're 30 you're supposed to be a VP, have 2.5 children and a mortgage. Pile them on, and when your list is full, write the counter-argument to each.

2. Describe a time in your life when you felt truly connected to what you were put on this earth to do

Share this story in detail with someone or write it down. As described in the introduction, it could have been a moment, a month or even a year when your waking hours will be filled with a sense of peace, flow, and engagement with what you put your mind to. What was it? Design three one-hour moments to explore this experience again. Perhaps you remembered this feeling occurred when you were painting four years ago. Carve out three separate sessions to do that again. Perhaps you were helping two friends for months after they lost a relative. Designate three sessions to coffee with friends that are going through a difficult time.

3. Reach out to the Dalai Lama

Connect with someone that inspires you. It could be someone from your immediate network or even a famous person. I have a friend who emailed Arianna Huffington and actually got a response! The goal here is to put yourself outside of your comfort zone and create a connection that could lead to new, interesting places. If you want that person to be me, email me!

4. What's the story, morning glory? 

Morning pages, described in detail in "The Artist's Way" by Julia Cameron, is a challenge to draft three pages of long-form, stream of consciousness writing, best done first thing in the morning. Jot down everything that comes to mind. It's not even about writing, it's about clearing your head and clarifying your thoughts.

5. Hike Mt. Kilimanjaro

That's just an example. Grab a piece of paper and number down the side 1 through 20. Then brainstorm 20 experiences you want to have over the next 10 years. They can be anything - from the mountain hike to dating someone in another language. Ideally, these experiences involve meeting, engaging, experiencing other people. These moments of connection are the breadcrumbs along your purpose journey.

We get closer to our purpose when we put ourselves out into the world. These activities are designed to help you do that. They'll provide you with breadcrumbs — little clues — about where your purposeful future lies, but they are only a first step.

We dive deep into this exploration in Project X programs. Our January 2019 Purpose Accelerator involves more than 25 experiential activities over the course of a month. Together we make progress on the journey to getting "unstuck" and finding more meaningful work. We commit to action, hold one another accountable, and start seeing progress right away. If we listen well, the seeds of our purpose can be found everywhere. Start collecting yours by signing up to our weekly Top 10 Purposeful Jobs newsletter.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

Nothing! There is no reason to feel guilty about food and nourishing your body. It's time to make peace with food and stop focusing on the "good" or "bad," "right" or "wrong" because food does not have power over you.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

I Sat Down With An Endocrinologist To Ask All My Questions About Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome

There are so many moving parts of hormonal health, so I went to an expert.

Anjanette Tan

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) is an autoimmune disease that impacts approximately 1 in 10 women. Any woman who has PCOS can attest to the fact that no two cases are the same — there are so many aspects of hormonal health that can impact a woman's reproductive health! For many, PCOS is a trial and error condition, with many doctors' appointments depending on the stage of life the woman is in.

This week I sat down with Dr. Anjanette Tan to get the expert opinion on all my PCOS questions. Dr. Tan is a board-certified endocrinology who's worked in private practices since 2004. She currently works at the Diabetes and Thyroid Center of Fort Worth, one of the largest all-endocrine practices in the area, where she is the managing partner and head of clinical research.

Keep Reading... Show less

- Since I can remember, I've always been a light sleeper, with the quietest sounds waking me up, and I regularly wake up with the sun.

- While talking to a gynecologist friend of mine, she mentioned the importance of using an eye mask for quality sleep, which regulates hormonal levels.

- I was serendipitously sent the Crane & Canopy Silk Sleep Mask almost right after that conversation and was honestly reluctant to try it after testing other sleep masks that felt uncomfortable and irritated my skin.

- This sleep mask was extremely comfortable, and for the first time in nearly a decade, I slept in far past when I usually do on the weekends and woke up feeling more refreshed than I can remember — I've worn it nearly every night since then.

The older I get, it seems that sleep becomes an increasingly important topic of conversation amongst my friends and me. Yes, of course we complain about how tired we always are, but the pattern seemed to be a lack of sleep on the weekdays followed by late nights and sleeping in on the weekends without any solution.

Keep Reading... Show less

As college students, sometimes life can be overwhelming. Four tests in a week and you only passed one of them? I feel that. Days like that, you just need time for yourself. A time where you're nice to yourself and put your own self-care before anything else.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

The Smile Project Just Launched An Ambassador Program, And I Can't Wait To Get Started

Looking to shift your perspective, be happier, or just get involved in something truly amazing? Look no further.


The Smile Project is a nonprofit organization devoted to spreading happiness, founded by Elizabeth Buechele. It all started on a random day in the fall of her senior year. She was driving home from school when this thought crossed her mind: "Day 1: Happiness is…those perfect car rides where the radio just plays all the right songs."

Keep Reading... Show less

I'll never forget the day that someone told me these words: "Madison, I think you're a good friend to everyone but yourself." I stood there completely in awe of that statement. Before that day, I never really thought about being a friend to myself, and at the time, I didn't really know what it meant. Now, I realize that you can't fully be there for other people unless you're there for yourself, too. You can't show up for others until you're willing to show up for yourself.

Here are five things everyone should learn in order to be a better friend to themselves. These steps are hard, but they're so worth it.

Keep Reading... Show less

It's no secret that social media can be harmful to our mental health. The barrage of heavily edited photos of Instagram models that we see every day only fuels our insecurities. There is a good side to social media, though. It allows us to keep up with friends and family across the globe. Plus, it provides a platform for mental health experts. Listed below are five therapists on Instagram who will fill your feed with motivational quotes and positive infographics.

Keep Reading... Show less

Last week, Netflix released its original film "The Devil All the Time," based on the 2011 novel of the same name. Directed by Antonio Campos, the film boasts an all-star cast including Bill Skarsgard, Robert Pattinson, Riley Keough, and Tom Holland.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

In Honor of PCOS Awareness Month, I Researched 25 Things About The Autoimmune Disease

Ongoing research is further promoting the fact that engaging in a proper diet and exercise regimen can alleviate many symptoms!


Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a common endocrine disorder that affects young women, especially those of reproductive age. Women with PCOS often exhibit symptoms ranging from increased levels of the male hormone androgen along with cysts in their ovaries. However, ongoing research is further promoting the fact that engaging in a proper diet and exercise regimen can alleviate many symptoms! Here are 25 things I found out about PCOS.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

To The Boy Who Said I Was 'Unlovable' Because Of My Back Rolls, My Body Is NOT A Problem

I realized I need to stop blaming myself for staying single. The problem wasn't me. It was you.

Photo by Artem Kovalev on Unsplash

I told you I was going to be okay if you said what was on your mind, but honestly, nothing could've prepared me for the words that came out of your mouth. After getting off of the phone with you, I burst into tears. Those words shattered my heart and continuously repeated in my head.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments