It is fair to say that life can get pretty hectic sometimes!
The modern person lives their life on autopilot, taking care of the mundane commitments and spending little time actually taking stock of their life (and its purpose).
Finding your life purpose is crucial however if we’re wanting to lead a satisfying existence. Your life purpose is an all-encompassing notion that includes finding the right work for you, doing things that make you happy (outside of your job) and having a positive impact on society.
Finding purpose in life is crucial for our wellbeing and mental health. For starters, doing something we truly love nourishes the soul and makes each day (and the inevitable ups and downs) all that easier to cope with.
What is a life purpose?
Your life purpose can be defined simply as the motivating force that drives you to get up in the morning, something that helps you to feel positive and happy every day.
The Japanese concept of ‘Ikigai’ describes finding your life’s purpose perfectly. Ikigai is made up of four separate components - our life’s passion, mission, profession and vocation. In order to feel fulfilled in life, we need to explore and uncover our unique ideal for each of these four elements.
These four elements encompass all aspects of life, from work to hobbies. For example, the passion element relates to your interests outside of work, the profession and vocation relate to your natural talents and the areas you’re drawn to work in, and finally, the mission element relates to what is important to you overall.
Once your life purpose has been identified and can be actioned, you can expect to live a contented and healthy life.
After all, life is about living it to the fullest! Follow our steps below to get you off on the right track towards finding purpose in life.
Here’s how to find your purpose in life…
Step 1: Explore your passions
Purpose and passion go hand in hand, so the first step on your journey towards finding purpose in your life is to explore your passions. Your passions are your interests outside of work - the things you enjoy doing in your spare time and the causes you feel are important, such as animal rights or combatting climate change, for example.
Cultivating passions in diverse areas can give you lots of opportunities to feel fulfilled in life. It can open up windows for learning new things, meeting new people and broadening your horizons.
Your passions can range from things as simple as making time to cook nourishing meals for your family each evening, all the way to partaking in elaborate fundraising activities for your favourite charity.
By identifying your passions, you are giving yourself the opportunity to work on the things that you love and care about, deepening your feeling of purpose.
There are lots of benefits to trying and testing out new interests; having hobbies helps you to unwind in your spare time, involvement in positive causes releases feel-good hormones, participating in classes to learn new skills helps to boost your self-esteem. All the while, you could be uncovering brand new passions that help formulate your life purpose.
Step 2: Explore your mission
According to the Ikigai concept, your mission in life should be made up of a mixture of the things you love and the things that the world needs.
This step towards finding your life purpose is important because we often go about our lives operating like robots, that is, doing the things that are expected of us but do not give us happiness.
Your mission in life is made up of all of the goals you’d like to achieve and how you can make the world a better place. It is about identifying the things that appeal to you and benefit society, followed by taking steps to meet your goals.
Your mission is completely unique to you and should be about making yourself happy - not what is expected to make you happy.
You may decide that to feel fulfilled in life, you want to make it your mission to take small steps towards tackling climate change. If you’ve always loved the idea of seeing the world instead of settling down, then perhaps your life mission is to travel, whilst helping the communities that you visit.
Take the time to understand what you’d like to eventually achieve in your life and this will help you to identify your mission. Ultimately, a mission that ties in with your passions and helps the world can give you the greatest sense of satisfaction and purpose in life.
Step 3: Explore your ideal vocation & profession
Whilst vocation and profession are similar, your vocation can be described as an area that you have natural gifts and abilities in, whilst your profession is the path you decide to pursue formal training in.
An example includes somebody that has an affinity towards animals and a natural gift in biological science deciding to follow a career in veterinary science. Somebody that has great communication skills and has always found learning to play new instruments easy may find that they naturally fall into a career where they teach music.
Ikigai teaches that if you combine your vocation and your profession, with your passions and your mission, you will never truly feel like you’re working. This sense of deep satisfaction from doing something that you love is one way to lead a purposeful and fulfilling life.
To get started, review all of the areas you’re naturally gifted in and the professions linked to these areas. Once you’ve explored your ideal vocation, use this information to dictate which area you take up professionally. Whether creative or analytical, organised or free-thinking, there is a vocation and profession for everyone.
Enjoy the process of analysing your strengths and weaknesses - you may uncover some hidden talents that highlight obvious paths to find your true purpose.
If you love your day to day job, you’ll not only feel more content in your life, you’ll also see reduced stress levels and their effect on the body, helping you to live a longer and healthier life.
Find your life purpose with a coach or mentor
Whilst you now have the tools to begin exploring your life purpose, you may wish to gain additional support from an expert who can help you to make the right choices as you navigate your journey.
With over 100 coaches and mentors from a range of areas and backgrounds, finding someone with experience in a relevant field is easy! Browse our expert’s profiles and get specialised 1-2-1 support today.
We also have lots more helpful articles on self-improvement on our blog here. Here’s to finding your life purpose!