This post is part of a series by Shannon Kaiser called Live Your Life — a primer on finding your passion and living with purpose. Each day this week, we'll post one article offering the foundational elements you need to go deeper in the search for your life's true meaning. When you're ready to take the next step, check out Shannon's course: Get Unstuck: How To Find Your Calling & Live A Life With More Meaning.
Mark Twain and said, “The two most important days of your life are the day you are born and the day you find out what your purpose is.”
We all have a deep desire to know our purpose, but I’ve learned on my own personal journey and in coaching hundreds of people that many of us end up getting even more lost when we start the search. Many of us focus so intently on the search for purpose that we begin to feel like life will be meaningless until we find it.
Many coaching clients first come to me with a desire to fill that void, to feel more, to stop going through the motions — the longing to find their purpose and tap into their passion. This search for meaning connects all humans. We try to fill the void sometimes with things, with achievements, or with approval from others. But those are temporary, unsatisfying fixes.
If you've ever taken a trip across the country, you know your destination, but you may not have the entire route planned before you leave. You might face construction or detours and need to change course. This is a lot like the journey to your purpose.
The journey, the not knowing, the hard stuff — that is how we really find ourselves.
I believe the turning point for every person who has manifested a passionate life is the moment they start to believe in something greater than themselves. We have to believe that our life can become better, even when we don’t see that potential in our current reality.
Instead of being disappointed and downtrodden by what isn't working, we have to learn how to push through the tough times to a better reality. This is true of undesirable situation: If you're in an unhealthy relationship, you have to believe that you are deserving of and can be in a healthy, loving partnership to actually effect that change.
Focus on what you want, rather than what is. Giving in to hopelessness is the fastest way to kill your passion and prevent yourself from finding your purpose.
But how do you find hope in hopeless situation? It's easier said than done, but it is simple. You turn your attention to love, rather than doubt. You trust.
One of the myths that keep us feeling disconnected from our purpose is the belief that our purpose is reliant on one specific thing — a job title, a relationship status, a specific role in life. But you are not a noun. You are more than just what you do. You are not defined by any one thing.
The best and only way to inject more passion into your life is to live it to the fullest. The purpose of life is to immerse yourself in the experience and respond with love. This is why we are here: to learn, to grow, and to become who we are meant to be.
Wee can only do this by going beyond our comfort zones and experiencing life in a variety of ways. Limiting yourself to a single conception of "purpose" actually keeps you from finding your passion.
Ask yourself what brings you joy. Each of us has our own inner joy route — we all experience love and joy differently. Once you find what gives you joy, use your passion to live a purpose-filled life. Give yourself permission to be present wherever you are on the journey, and explore whatever brings you joy. Over the next thirty days, begin listening to the nudges from yourself to try something new, or take an existing habit or hobby in a new direction.
When you feel drawn to something, follow through on that inspiration. If you keep getting the idea to join a new fitness studio, take a cooking class, study a new language, or take that online course, say yes, and see where they lead you.
Let yourself be guided by your passions, with no expectation. Your only job is to see where they lead, and enjoy the process of living with passion.