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Last Updated on October 29, 2018

How to Find the Purpose of Life and Start Living a Fulfilling Life

How to Find the Purpose of Life and Start Living a Fulfilling Life

As a mindset and performance coach, I help people achieve success. My clients create high performance in what matters most to them, resulting in a strong sense of purpose and fulfillment. I’m going to share with you the transformation of a recent client and how you can use these same strategies to create a life of purpose and find your true meaning of life.

The Journey of Finding the Purpose of Life

“Ding,” my phone beeped at me, signaling a new potential coaching client had filled out my pre-interview questionnaire. She was successful in her career and enjoyed the challenge of her work. But like many of my ambitious clients, she was struggling to balance her work and her personal life. She started to feel lost about her goals in life.

This is how I met her, Jenny (alias), a high-powered career woman.

Jenny’s career had gradually crept all over her calendar, and she was trying to cram her personal life around the edges. From the time she woke up in the morning until going to bed, emails marked ‘urgent’ from colleagues and clients flooded her inbox. She spent a lot of time putting out fires and responding to the demands of others. Her self-care had dwindled. She had little time to nurture her most important relationships with family and friends.

She was feeling overwhelmed with her never-ending to-do list and was wondering if the life she imagined living was even possible.

During her interview call with me, I knew I could help her. I’ve helped hundreds of high achievers with the struggles she faced, and was confident that 8 weeks later her life would look much different.

And it did.

In our weeks together, she achieved the following results:

  • Achieved her ideal work-life rhythm (without sacrificing her career success)
  • Began an exercise habit
  • Created time to nurture new friendships
  • Streamlined her workflow in her career and personal life
  • Created the space to realize a big dream and make an action plan to achieve it
  • Defined success on her terms and built her life around what matters most to her
  • Felt a sense of purpose and fulfillment

A Step-By-Step Guide to Start Living Your Purpose

Here is a breakdown of the 4 strategies I used with Jenny. You, too, can use these strategies to find your purpose of life and your sense of significance.

1. Define your true priorities and eliminate false objectives

To live your extraordinary life, you’ll need to live YOUR life, not somebody else’s.

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Often, we live our lives how others want us to live. We build our daily habits and schedules around what our families, friends, and society want for us. We are a product of our surroundings.

It takes guts to live your life according to your true priorities, especially when your priorities differ from the people around you. When you have the courage to build your life around what matters most to you, you live authentically and your days become filled with a stronger sense of purpose and fulfillment.

Remember:

    In today’s high-pressure, crazy-busy world, it is very easy to stray away from your true priorities and build a life around false objectives. False objectives are the goals you’re working toward that don’t align with what matters most to you and the person you most want to be.

    For some people, climbing the corporate ladder is a false objective because they desire more than anything to take some time away from their career to stay home with their young kids. For others, having a large home mortgage is a false objective, because they would love the freedom to travel the world.

    In order to feel fulfilled, it’s important to closely evaluate your life and be 100% honest with yourself on the following questions:

    • What matters most to you?
    • What false objectives are you working toward?

    It’s important to identify and eliminate the false objectives in your life. When you eliminate the false objectives, you begin focusing your life on what matters most to you; and, it gives you the space to create your authentic, extraordinary life.

    This guide will be helpful for you:

    The Ultimate Guide to Prioritizing Your Work And Life

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    2. Develop a crystal-clear vision of the life you desire

    As you define your true priorities, you can start developing a vision for the life you desire.

    How will you build your life around your priorities?

    Write down everything you can think of about the life you desire. Then work on believing it’s possible to achieve it. This can be really difficult, but it’s crucial.

    If traveling is one of your biggest priorities, and you deeply desire to create a freedom-based career with a laptop lifestyle allowing you to work from anywhere in the world, you’ll need to believe it’s possible. If deep down you believe that it’s not possible for you to break free from the 9-5 in the cubicle, you won’t take the steps necessary to break free from the office.

    If you say writing is very important to you and your biggest ambition is to become a New York Times bestselling author, but deep down you believe that you’ll never finish writing your book, the actions you take every day are going to align with your disbelief. When you’re not feeling motivated to write, you won’t. When you’re feeling defeated, you’ll quit.

    What you believe about yourself–and what you believe is possible for yourself–affects how you show up every day to achieve your biggest goal.

    Get clear about the life you desire, and work on believing it’s possible to achieve it.

    Check out this article and find what matters to you most:

    There Is More to Life Than ____________

    3. Create a plan to achieve your vision

    Let’s use the bestselling author example again.

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    If your biggest ambition is to become a New York Times bestselling author, because you want to write about a topic that matters a lot to you and make a difference in the lives of many with your words, you’ll need a plan to achieve that vision.

    Hope is not a strategy. You’ll need a plan.

    You’ll need to develop a writing habit. You’ll need to research how to get published. You’ll need to learn how to effectively market the book or how to hire somebody to market it for you.

    Create a specific plan and give yourself deadlines to achieve it. Use SMART goal to outline your plan:

    How to Use SMART Goal to Become Highly Successful in Life

    4. Deal with resistance effectively

    Every day, when you are working on building your life around your true priorities and your big vision, you’ll face resistance. Your life will probably look something like this:

      This resistance occurs in many forms including:

      You will be bombarded every day with many things that attempt to distract you away from your true priorities.

      It’s important to run YOUR race, live YOUR life, focus on what matters to YOU, and build your life around YOUR vision.

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      You’ll face a lot of resistance, and it’s important to have strategies in place to deal with your resistance effectively, so you’re able to stay on track even during tough times.

      Think it’s too late to live the life you desire? Not true! Here’s the proof:

      How to Start Over and Reboot Your Life When It Seems Too Late

      Final Thoughts

      When you’re clear about what you truly desire and what matters most to you, and you develop a plan to achieve your big vision, everything changes.

      You feel more focused and you make decisions that align with your true priorities.

      You find the purpose of life.

      You show up with more passion and enthusiasm.

      You build your life around what matters most to you, and life becomes very fulfilling.

      Featured photo credit: Sharon McCutcheon via unsplash.com

      More by this author

      Dr. Kerry Petsinger

      Entrepreneur, Mindset & Performance Coach, & Doctor of Physical Therapy

      Feeling Stuck in Life? How to Never Get Stuck Again How to Find the Purpose of Life and Start Living a Fulfilling Life Don’t like your job? Here are some solutions. How People Make Decisions That Are Bad For Them How to Have a Successful Career and a Fulfilling Personal Life

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      Last Updated on August 19, 2019

      How to Be True to Yourself and Live the Life You Want

      How to Be True to Yourself and Live the Life You Want

      We live in a world that constantly tells us what to do, how to act, what to be. Knowing how to be true to yourself and live the life you want can be a challenge.

      When someone asks how we are, we assume that the person does not mean the question sincerely, for it would lead to an in depth conversation. So telling them that you are good or fine, even if you’re not, is the usual answer.

      In an ideal world, we would stop and truly listen. We wouldn’t be afraid to be ourselves. Instead, when we answer about how we are doing, our mask, the persona we show the world, tightens. Sometimes even more so than it might have been before. Eventually, it becomes hard to take off, even when you’re alone.

      Imagine a world where we asked how someone was doing and they really told us. Imagine a world where there were no masks, only transparency when we talked to one another.

      If you want to live in a world that celebrates who you are, mistakes and all, take off the mask. It doesn’t mean you have to be positive or fine all the time.

      According to a Danish psychologist, Svend Brinkman, we expect each other to be happy and fine every second, and we expect it of ourselves. And that “has a dark side.”[1] Positive psychology can have its perks but not at the expense at hiding how you truly feel in order to remain seemingly positive to others.

      No one can feel positive all the time and yet, that is what our culture teaches us to embrace. We have to unlearn this. That said, telling others you are ‘“fine”’ all the time is actually detrimental to your wellbeing, because it stops you from being assertive, from being authentic or your truest self.

      When you acknowledge a feeling, it leads you to the problem that’s causing that feeling; and once you identify the problem, you can find a solution to it. When you hide that feeling, you stuff it way down so no one can help you.You can’t even help yourself.

      Feelings are there for one reason: to be felt. That doesn’t mean you have to act on that feeling. It just means that you start the process of problem solving so you can live the life you want.

      1. Embrace Your Vulnerability

      When you are your true self, you can better self-advocate or stand up for what you need. Your self-expression matters, and you should value your voice. It’s okay to need things, it’s okay to speak up, and it’s okay not to be okay.

      Telling someone you are simply “fine” when you are not, does your story and your journey a great disservice. Being true to yourself entails embracing all aspects of your existence.

      When you bring your whole self to the table, there is nothing that you can’t beat. Here’re 7 benefits of being vulnerable you should learn.

      Can you take off the mask? This is the toughest thing anyone can do. We have learned to wait until we are safe before we start to be authentic.

      In relationships especially, this can be hard. Some people avoid vulnerability at any cost. And in our relationship with ourselves, we can look in the mirror and immediately put on the mask.

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      It all starts with your story. You have been on your own unique journey. That journey has led you here, to the person you are today. You have to be unafraid, and embrace all aspects of that journey.

      You should seek to thrive, not just survive. That means you do not have to compete or compare yourself with anyone.

      Authenticity means you are enough. It’s enough to be who you are to get what you want.

      What if for the first time ever, you were real? What if you said what you wanted to say, did what you wanted to do, and didn’t apologize for it?

      You were assertive, forthcoming in your opinions or actions to stand for what is right for you, (rather than being passive or aggressive) in doing so. You didn’t let things get to you. You knew you had something special to offer.

      That’s where we all should be.

      So, answer me this:

      How are you, really?

      And know that no matter the answer, you should still be accepted.

      Bravery is in the understanding that you still may not be accepted for your truth.

      Bravery is knowing you matter even when others say that you do not.

      Bravery is believing in yourself when all evidence counters doing so (i.e. past failures or losses)

      Bravery is in being vulnerable while knowing vulnerability is a sign of strength.

      It’s taking control.

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      2. Choose Your Attitude in Adversity

      You can take control of your destiny and live the life you want by being true to yourself. You can start anytime. You can start today.

      You can start with one day at a time, just facing what happens that day. Most of us get overwhelmed when faced with the prospect of a big change. Even if the only thing we change is our attitude.

      In one instant, you can become a different person with a change of attitude. When you take control of your attitude, you become able to better understand what is around you. This allows you to move forward.

      Originally, you may have had a life plan. It could have started when you were little; you were hoping to become a mermaid, doctor, astronaut or all three when you grew up. You were hoping to be someone. You were hoping to be remembered.

      You can still dream those dreams, but eventually reality sets in. Obstacles and struggles arise. You set on a different path when the last one didn’t work out. You think of all the “shoulds” in your life in living the life you want. You should be doing this…should be doing that…

      Clayton Barbeau, psychologist, coined the term “shoulding yourself.’[2] When we are set on one path and find ourselves doing something different. It becomes all the things you should be doing rather than seeing the opportunities right in front of you.

      But in all this disarray, did you lose sight of the real you?

      It may be in our perceived failures and blunders that we lose sight of who we are, because we try to maintain position and status.

      In being who we really are and achieving what we really want, we need to be resilient: How to Build Resilience to Face What Life Throws at You

      It means that we do not see all possibilities of what might happen, but must trust ourselves to begin again, and continue to build the life we want. In the face of adversity, you must choose your attitude.

      Can attitude overcome adversity? It certainly helps. While seeking to be true to yourself and live the life you want, you will have to face a fact:

      Change will happen.

      Whether that change is good or bad is unique to each person and their perspective.

      You might have to start over, once, twice, a few times. It doesn’t mean that everything will be okay, but that you will be okay. What remains or should remain is the true you. When you’ve lost sight of that, you’ve lost sight of everything.

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      And then, you rebuild. Moment after moment, day after day. We all have a choice, and in this moment, that matters.

      You can choose to have a positive attitude, seeing the silver lining in each situation and, where there is none, the potential for one. Maybe that silver lining is you and what you will do with the situation. How will you use it for something good?

      That’s how you can tap into yourself and your power. Sometimes it happens by accident, sometimes on purpose. It can happen when we aren’t even looking for it, or it can be your only focus. Everyone gets there differently.

      You can rise, or you can remain. Your choice.

      When the worst happens, you can rely on your authenticity to pull you through. That’s because Self Advocacy, speaking up to let others know what you need, is part of finding the real you.

      There is nothing wrong with asking for help. Or sometimes, helping others can help us deal with the pain of a hurtful situation. You decide how you’re going to help others, and suddenly, you become your best self.

      3. Do What Makes You Happy When No One’s Looking

      Being the best version of you has nothing to do with your success or your status. It has everything to do with your Character, what you do when no one’s looking.

      In order to create the life you want, you have to be the person you want to be. Faking it till you make it is just a way to white knuckle it through your journey. You have the fire inside of you to make things right, to put the pieces together, to live authentically. And Character is how you get there.

      If you fall down and you help another up while you’re down there, it’s like you rise twice.

      Along with attitude, your character is about the choices you make rather than what happens to you.

      Yes, it’s about doing the right thing even when obstacles seem insurmountable.  It’s about using that mountain you’ve been given to show others it can be moved.  It’s about being unapologetically you, taking control, choosing your attitude in adversity and being the best version of you to create the life you want.

      How do you know what you really want? Is it truly status or success?

      Unfortunately, these things do not always bring happiness. And aspects of our image or “performance driven existence” may not achieve satisfaction. Materialism is part of our refusal to accept ourselves as enough. All the things we use to repress our true selves are about being enough.

      “Enoughness” is what we truly seek, but ego gets in the way.

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      Ego is the perception of self as outer worth. It’s not REAL self worth.

      Ego represses our true self with a new self— the self of chasing ‘“Am I ever enough?”’ questions. And instead of filling our true selves with self-love and acceptance, when we “should ourselves” and chase “enoughness,” we feed the ego or our image.

      It’s important to realize YOU ARE ENOUGH, without all the material trappings.

      Stanford psychologist Meagan O’Reilly describes the damage of not thinking we are enough. One of her tactics for combating this is to complete the sentence,[3]

      “If I believed I were already enough, I’d ____”

      What would you do if you felt you were enough?

      By believing you are enough, you can live the life you want.

      So many fake it to try to get there, and they end up losing themselves when they lose more and more touch with their Authenticity.

      Final Thoughts

      By being yourself, you are being brave. By acknowledging all you can be, you tell the universe that you can until you believe it too. The steps are easy, and you are worth it. All of it is about the purpose you are leading and the passion that is your fuel.

      Being true to yourself is all about mastering how to live life authentically rather than faking or forcing it. Having the life you want (and deserve) is about being trusting in yourself and the purpose you are living for. Both need passion behind it, fueling it each second, or you will experience burn out.

      When you are authentic, you can call the road you walk your own. When you live your life for you and not just the results of all your actions (faking it till you make it), you can let go of what you don’t need. This clarifies and pushes purpose to you, living for something that is greater than you.

      You will find that making decisions based on what will actually achieve your goals, will help you attain the life you want, and your success with each step, will allow you to enjoy the process. Good luck!

      More About Living Your True Self

      Featured photo credit: Ariana Prestes via unsplash.com

      Reference

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