Like many others, you may be at a point in your life where you start to ask the question: why am I here? What is my purpose? Maybe this is something you’ve always pondered and couldn’t find the answer to. Or perhaps you’re just at the point in your life where you’re looking for more meaning. Don’t worry; you’re not alone. That was me not too long ago.
But like most of us, I didn’t know where to start when it came to finding my life’s purpose. So I read every book I could find, listened to various podcasts, and watched Youtube videos related to finding purpose. I was determined to figure this thing out, lol.
However, I realized that even though it is a step in the right direction to feed your mind with thoughts and ideas that will allow you to uncover the answer you seek, the true path to finding your purpose is taking a journey within.
The journey within involves taking the time to pause to discover who you are, reconnect to your true self, and listen to your inner wisdom to discover your unique path.
In this article, we’re going to explore just how to do that. We will cover five (5) ways to find your purpose using the Japanese Ikigai model.
What is Ikigai?
Ikigai is a Japanese concept that means a ‘reason for being,’ having a direction or purpose in life. It is a lifestyle that strives to balance the spiritual with the practical. This balance is found at the intersection where your passions and talents converge with the things that the world needs and is willing to pay for.
Ikigai is the convergence of these four primary elements:
- What you love (your passion)
- What you are good at (your vocation)
- What the world needs (your mission)
- What you can get paid for (your profession)
To help you find your purpose, we will explore these four areas in the form of questions below. As we reflect on these questions, trust your intuition – your inner wisdom that will direct you to the path you should take.
Here are 5 ways to find your purpose & bring it to life
1. What do you love?
One of the key elements of finding your purpose is to follow the path of joy and bliss. Think about the things you do that make you feel alive. They hold clues and keys to what your soul’s purpose is.
To start, identify your passions, interests, and curiosities, and write them down. Ask yourself:
- What sets my soul on fire? What lights me up? What actions and activities get me excited?
- Is there something that puts me in a flow state, where I lose track of time and can get lost in doing this thing?
- If money was not an issue, what would I be doing?
It could be something as simple as your love for food. In that case, you could look into culinary arts, become a food critic, or start a food blog. One of my favorite travel youtube channels to watch is about a guy who travels around the world, tries different types of local food, and shares his experience with the world. That’s all he does, and he gets paid to do this. How cool is that?
Be Open to New Opportunities
If you’re unsure about what you’re passionate about, start experimenting. Be open to trying new things and stepping outside your comfort zone. Follow your curiosities and pay close attention to how you feel in the moment.
2. What are you good at?
The next step to take to find your purpose is to reflect on the things that come naturally to you.
To start, ask yourself:
- What natural gifts, talents, and skills do I have?
- What comes easy to me?
- What do I do that takes no effort at all?
What you’re good at could be natural abilities that you were born with or skills you’ve developed throughout your life. Take a moment to reflect on these and write them down.
3. What does the World need?
An essential part of your soul’s mission and purpose is to be of service and make a difference in the world. When you commit to serving humanity, the earth, and others, every possibility in life can be filtered through that lens. You begin to see opportunities all around you to serve, make a difference, and inspire change.
A great way to begin recognizing opportunities to serve that align with your purpose is to ask:
- Are there any social, environmental, or economic problems that I want to help solve?
- Are there any issues in my community that pull on my heart the most?
- How would I enjoy being of service?
- How am I already helping others?
- What are the things I do that uplift those around me?
- How am I already making a difference in the world?
- Are there opportunities to spread kindness, love, and light at home (with my family and those closest to me)?
As you reflect on these, I want you to remember that there are no “small” or “big” missions. Any act of kindness or service to humanity can greatly impact the world.
4. What can you be paid for?
When we start to talk about money in relation to purpose, it sometimes feels a bit off. But how awesome would it be to be able to make money doing work that you love? Think about how fulfilling you would feel to wake up excited about each new day because you get to do what you were meant to do.
So, to start, ask yourself:
- What services or products can I provide that would make a difference in someone’s life?
- What solution can I create to meet people’s needs?
- What problems can I solve?
To go a step further, identify relevant trends or opportunities in today’s world. In what direction is the world moving? For example, online learning, content marketing, remote work, social networking, digital products, global connection, etc.
As you think through these, as always, write them down.
5. Find your sweet spot, your Ikigai
Now that we’ve explored the four main questions to find your purpose, the next step is to look at how these areas (steps 1 – 4) can overlap. Look at how you can bring them together to find your “sweet spot.” Finding that “sweet spot” will get you closer to uncovering your purpose.
You can grab a piece of paper or access our free worksheet below to bring it all together.
Ready to find your purpose? Get your free Ikigai worksheet.
To help you work through the steps above, I’ve created a free fillable worksheet you can download to help you identify your unique contribution to the world.
Release what is holding you back.
We often hold ourselves back from walking in our purpose because of the things we believe about ourselves. So it is important on this journey to pay attention to the internal self-talk, patterns, and perspectives you’re habituating in your life.
You know that sneaky little voice inside your head that says:
- “Who are YOU to do this?”
- “No one cares about what you have to say?”
- “You are not qualified enough.”
Ask yourself honestly: is this serving me in standing in truth and living the life of abundance, joy & fulfillment that I am truly here to lead?
Whenever these negative thoughts arise, focus on positive words of affirmation, push through and do the thing anyway.
Also, dig deeper to uncover where these limiting thoughts and patterns come from. Is this something you were taught as a child? Are there areas in your life where you need to heal? If so, take the time to let go, forgive, and heal so you can fully embrace your calling.
Final thoughts on how to find your purpose
When it’s all said and done, the purpose of life is to LIVE and to live totally. It’s about the exploration of one’s self and understanding all the dimensions of who you are. We are here to love, learn, grow, be free, enjoy life, and evolve.
Life is about aligning with who we truly are and sharing our authentic self with the world. Each one of us has the desire to express this in his or her way. This expression of who we are is what leads us to our purpose. The key is to find something we’re passionate about, something that our soul connects with, and then pursue it. When you live your passion, you bring more joy, energy, and enthusiasm to your life. When you live your passion, your purpose will naturally unfold.
Were you able to find your sweet spot working through the exercise? Please drop me a note in the comments section below to let me know what you’ve discovered.