Living a Fulfilling Life Leads to Your Purpose
As I’ve talked with women in their 30s and 40s about what’s working and not working in their lives, I’ve discovered something...the more fulfilled a woman is in her life (family, friends, activities, job, etc.), the less of a quest she’s on to find her ‘purpose’ and the happier she is.
What an incredible discovery!
Some women are dying to figure out their ‘purpose, ’ and I think that’s a worthy exploration if that's you (I’ve been on it myself!).
So, that begs the question, how do you find what fulfills you?
FIGURE OUT WHAT’S MISSING
The first step to finding out what fulfills you is to uncover what’s missing in your life. When something is missing from your life, you typically know it, but I bet there are some things that you are so used to not having in your life, that you aren’t even aware you need them.
Figuring out this part is a journey. You start with the things you know to be missing in your life; then you dig deeper.
As you fill in those pieces (they're usually the stuff on the surface), you give yourself the space to peel back the layers to see what's missing on a deeper level. It’s when you discover what lurks beneath the surface that the real opportunities blossom.
By adding those elements to your life, you’ll start to create a way of living that feels more meaningful and aligned with who you are and what you crave.
But, regarding the most common things people feel are missing from their lives, what typically falls into this category?
“Relationships” may be with a partner, family, friends, co-workers, etc. If something is unfulfilling you there, you’ll know it. It may not even be the person that’s missing, but something within the relationship (which is sometimes worse!).
Relationships in and of themselves aren’t always the answer - they have to be the right relationships.
Relationships that drain you need to go. This may sound harsh, but there are very few, if any, relationships that you have to keep alive.
Just because you’re related to someone doesn’t mean you have to keep them in your life if the relationship doesn’t work for you. Just because you’ve been friends with someone forever, doesn’t mean you have to stay friends with them if it’s not benefiting you. And, just because you love someone doesn’t mean you need to stay married to them if you’re miserable more often than you’re happy.
For some, what’s missing is a sense of adventure or fun. Too often we get stuck in a rut without anything that boosts our adrenaline; without an outlet for fun or the ability to feel adventurous (one of the top things I hear from women that they crave), life can feel empty.
Some people are lucky enough to have a career that provides them with meaningful work that allows them to go to bed at night feeling like they’ve made a difference in the world. Most, unfortunately, don’t have this, and while, yes, you could try to change careers to find it, you don’t necessarily have to take such a big step.
A deeper spirituality could mean a traditional religious relationship, or it could be a stronger connection with the universe and yourself (meditating, journaling, more in-depth chakra work, etc.).
Community or Outreach
Some people have a strong need to give back and be active in their communities. In doing so, it gives them purpose and fulfills a sense of duty. When this piece is missing in the lives of those people, they experience a strong sense of imbalance and unrest.
* * * * *
These are just some common suggestions, but it’s not limited to just these areas. The point is, if you’re feeling unfulfilled, there’s something missing, and the first step is to figure that out.
TRY NEW THINGS
If something is missing and you can’t easily put your finger on it, there’s really only one solution to figuring it out: You’re going to have to try new things.
Look at this as an opportunity to explore, be curious, and step outside of your routine and choices. It’s your chance to be creative with your life, but be sure to check your own judgment at the door.
Remember, just because you didn’t like something years ago, doesn’t mean you won’t like it now. Conversely, just because you loved to do something when you were younger, doesn’t mean you’ll love it now (but try to figure out why you enjoyed it when you were younger...there are clues to be uncovered!).
What has always made you curious?
Take classes, read books, watch documentaries, travel, talk to strangers, etc.
Your goal is to step outside of the world that’s comfortable to try on different things to see what gives you that little jolt of life.
When you find those sparks, take note - it’s the little sparks that sometimes ignite into big flames!
LOOK BACK AT THE PERSON YOU USED TO BE
Our past always holds clues to who we are now, so it pays to think back on things you used to love to do when you were younger.
When you look back over your life, pay attention to the times when you were so engaged in something that you completely lost track of time. That’s a good sign that you were doing something that was in your zone of genius, or at the very least, it was something that completely lit you up.
Also, consider what you miss doing from the past. Maybe life got busy, or you just forgot as time passed, but if you can pinpoint things you used to do that you genuinely miss, it’s time to give it another try.
Finally, if you had all the time in the world and money was no object, and you knew no one would judge you...what would you do?
As humans, we tend to get caught up in the particulars and let that stop us, but for the sake of this exercise, give yourself permission to imagine a life with no judgment and unlimited resources. How would you spend your time?
While we do evolve, there are fundamental pieces of our personality that don’t shift. Because we’re so used to them, we may be blind to them, so getting curious about your past is a valuable exercise in discovering your unique talents and interests.
My goal is not to make you abandon your search for your purpose if that is a desire of yours. But, perhaps in seeking out what fulfills you, you will find your purpose and start living it without even realizing it.
By figuring out what’s missing, trying a ton of new things, and remembering what you used to love to do, you will gather a ton of valuable clues as to what would give you that sense of fulfillment.
Once you find that, you will be more content, and most likely...living your purpose.