The Power of Getting Clarity and Finding Your Purpose

In a world full of distractions and overwhelming choices, clarity and purpose are important starting points to achieving what we want from life and work.

In over 20 years of studying purpose, I’ve come across many misleading concepts that can prevent us from getting clarity and uncovering our own purpose.

One of the things that was said to me on a number of different occasions in different ways was that you have to find your purpose. Because if you do, your life will take on a whole new meaning and go to  a whole new level (and the implication was if not, your life will be pointless and wasted!).

I became quite desperate to find my purpose so that I could live my greatest life. It became a stressful pursuit but still, I maintained a sense of real desperation which drove my search to find my purpose. I was afraid of missing out and wasting my life.

In all the years I've been helping people to achieve greater success and have transformational shifts, I’ve found that three main elements make up the road to success; clarity, mindset and alignment.

In this blog, I’ll share common pitfalls people experience when finding clarity and purpose. So you can avoid falling into them and get the benefits of knowing your purpose.

The Intersection of Clarity and Purpose

As a life and professional coach, I've come to recognise the immense value of understanding one's purpose and gaining clarity on it.

Before we get started, here are a couple of definitions that I’ve developed over the years (through a lot of pain of misunderstanding, and believing what was taught but not necessarily true).  

Clarity is simply being clear about what we want in life.

Purpose is doing what gives us the deepest and  greatest love and fulfilment in life (and that’s it!)

Clarity leads to purpose, so I'll be using clarity and purpose interchangeably here.

4 Major pitfalls to avoid when seeking your purpose

1. Looking outside ourselves to find our purpose

If we have a purpose, and we do, how can we not already be living and serving it?

When I came across this question for the first time, it was a game-changing way to look at purpose for me. It got me to stop looking to the outside and start looking at what was going on inside me.

I started looking at what already fulfilled me; where I was already focused, what I was already thinking about and doing, and where I was already.  

If we remove all the fears and all the trying to please other people, what's left inside of us that we really want to do - what's calling us from within - this is our purpose.

2. It’s about us, not others

Another pitfall is being influenced by others to define our purpose.

We have often been taught that our purpose is about other people. And It certainly will involve other people or mean that we will be helping people somehow.

However  our purpose is what fulfils us (not them). The problem with focusing our purpose on others is that we rely on them and say, “Hey, am I fulfilling my purpose?”

We end up relying on things that we can't necessarily control. Because that person has to change, or those people have to change for us to be fulfilling our purpose.

The purpose is in fulfilling what we are called to do, to the best of our ability - not to try to control the result or others.

3. What’s driving you is not your purpose

Another mistake that people make is thinking our purpose is what drives us.

I work with a lot of very successful people. They feel like the drive they have is their purpose.

But often, their drive is coming from a story or trying to fill some sort of lack.

And many of those people achieve great things. But they look back and realise they weren't really focused on the things they loved the most. They were focused on things to prove something or cover up a story of not feeling good enough or worthy -  or believed there was someone they had to impress or please. They are not fulfilled or happy.

Purpose is inspired, not driven.

It gives your life true fulfilment, not endless stress and pushing.

There’s more than one type of purpose

One purpose is the kind that we've been talking about - what fulfils you the most.

We weren’t given any ultimatums when we were born - we were just given life, and we don’t have to do anything in return for it.

Our purpose says to us “Hey! I’ve got this time - what would I love to do the most with it?” What could you create? Could you start a movement, build a brand, be financially free, enjoy loving relationships, experience health or well-being or spiritual pursuits?

What do you do that most fulfils you?

And then there's another purpose that many people miss, perhaps an even more important one.

The second type of purpose is what we do and experience in the moment.

Here’s an example.

We get up in the morning, and we brush our teeth. How many of us just go to the bathroom and brush our teeth, and don't even notice that we are brushing our teeth, because we've done it thousands of times in our life? We'll say we don't even think about brushing our teeth because we're all thinking about something else in the future - what we are going to do today, or perhaps start stressing about the to-do list.

But if we really, really carefully consider this - the future that we think about doesn't actually exist. It's just a thought in the mind, an image in the mind that has nothing to do with actual reality.  And the past is also just an image in the mind.

So, at that moment that we are brushing our teeth, our entire life purpose is actually simply to brush our teeth. Because that’s the only thing that we are actually doing.

And when we eat our breakfast, eating our breakfast is our purpose. And when we're talking to a client or someone at work, that is our purpose.

Our entire life  purpose is what we're doing now - to be fully absorbed in the moment that we are in.

Imagine for a moment that what you are doing now is the last thing  you are ever going to do (we never actually know what that moment will be!). Would you want to be worried about a past that doesn’t exist, a future that doesn’t exist, or be fully absorbed in the thing that you are doing right now - the people you are with, the amazing body you have, the beautiful flowers or trees you are seeing, or whatever you may be present to?

If we realise that now is the only real reality, we will realise that our true life purpose is to be fully appreciative and present in it.

We don’t have to find our purpose!

With all that talk about pitfalls to avoid when finding clarity and purpose, it’s also really important to realise that we don't have to “find” purpose.

Go back and remind yourself of pitfall number 1 (looking inside yourself to find your purpose).

“Finding” your purpose is actually about becoming aware of the purpose you already have.

We must start with the understanding that we already have a purpose. Otherwise, we're starting from the wrong context.

You've had a purpose since the day you showed up.

And that purpose might have grown and developed. But understand that you have a purpose.

We just need to uncover it rather than go and search for it and find it “out there”..

It’s already there, we just need to become aware of it consciously.

Your purpose is really unique to you. And sometimes we've really got to dig into  ourselves to find it.

The Expand Community

If you found this information helpful, come and explore the Expand Community. This is where I help people get clarity and uncover their purpose. We apply all these tools we’ve been talking about, so you can make a difference in your life and the world around you.

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