If You Haven’t Found Your Purpose: How to Feel Good Anyway

Relaxation

“The person who lives life fully, glowing with life’s energy, is the person who lives a successful life.” ~Daisaku Ikeda

We’ve all heard the phrase “find your life purpose.” It gets thrown around so much nowadays. Many of us have been in what feels like an eternal quest to find it, especially if we’ve been feeling stuck, lost, and out of alignment. Finding our purpose then becomes an almost obsessive search for the solution that will solve all our problems.

We’ve been led to believe that a life purpose is a single thing, a calling that we’ll be passionate about, and that we’ll know deep inside that we’ve found it. With it, we’ll feel accomplished and fulfilled and, instead of feeling stuck, we’ll have our answer as to what we’ll do day in and day out, giving meaning to why we’ve been put on this planet Earth.

On the flip side, we believe that without one, we’ll live an uninspired, lackluster life. Without one, we’ll feel out of alignment and be forever stuck.

But what if I told you that’s not true? That what you think you know about finding your life purpose is, in fact, the thing that’s keeping you stuck, and that you can stop searching for your life purpose and still be fulfilled?

I know this may sound like a big claim. But after close to two decades of trying to find my own life purpose, I’ve finally learned that a life purpose is not an actual destination and much less the final step. It’s more about a general feeling than a tangible single thing we do. Let me explain.

I used to be the poster child for doing everything right and by the book. You gave me directions, I followed. I did what I was told to do, no questions asked. I studied what I thought was a sensible career choice and would be expected from a straight-A student that loved math (bachelor’s and master’s in economics, thank you very much).

My interest in finding my purpose first started during what I thought was my last semester at university. As I thought was expected from a math nerd like me, I was doing the honors stream in economics and needed the approval of the head of the department to graduate. Turns out that, even though I had chosen an elective as per the instructions in the program rule book, the head felt my choice was too “easy” compared to what my peers had chosen and, as such, could not let me graduate from the honors program.

I had to either graduate from the regular economics stream or stay an extra semester to do a more “difficult” course. (Spoiler alert: I did the extra course and did my master’s too, even though I knew deep down that was not what I really wanted to do. I did it because that’s what I thought I should do.)

Now, you may think (and I don’t blame you here—these are my thoughts too now in hindsight), what was the big deal about that? Just finish school and get on with life!

But for me, at that moment, my world came crashing down. It was then that I realized for the first time how I was defining my worth based on what I did and what others thought of me instead of from within. And that single event catapulted me to a journey of self-help and self-discovery that has now spanned twenty years.

The quest to find my life purpose thus began.

After graduation, I was feeling so lost that I became obsessed with finding my purpose, sure that once I’d found it, I’d stop feeling so stuck and uninspired, with life just passing me by. I yearned for my life to have meaning and was determined to find my purpose to get that.

For the next few years, I read books about how to find your purpose. I listened to podcasts and talks and even attended workshops. I was convinced that I’d eventually stumble on that thing that I was so passionate about and naturally good at that I could dedicate my life to doing it.

I asked myself what I liked to do and made lists. I asked others what they thought I was naturally good at. I took personality tests. Had my natal chart read. I even looked back to what I enjoyed doing as a kid in hope of finding my nugget of gold.

I tried it all, going down my list like at a grocery store: baking, creative writing, dancing, etc. The trouble was, regardless of what I did, as time advanced, I still felt lost and misaligned. In the meantime, I had to pay my student loans, so finding my purpose took the backseat as I worked in perfectly good jobs that paid the bills.

Fast-forward more than a decade later, and I was keenly aware that I had spent the last fifteen years working in corporate, feeling lost and stuck in a career I did not want, in jobs that didn’t fulfill me at all, leading a perfectly good normal life, married and with kids.

I had renewed my search for my life purpose with more vigor than before but kept hitting dead ends. Why couldn’t I have a passion that I could easily gain my life purpose from? What was so hard about finding a purpose that would help me get out of the rut and plug me into the fulfillment and inspiration I so desperately yearned for? Where was my purpose?

And then the unthinkable happened: I lost a very dear friend.

Her passing really shook me to the core. I closed off and broke down, letting myself mourn and feel all the feels. I asked myself some hard questions. If it had been me, would I feel like I’d lived to my fullest? Did I have any regrets? There’s nothing scarier than realizing that I was not living how I wanted to and that the main reasons were my doubts and my fears.

So, in true YOLO (you only live once) form, I made the decision to shake things up. I closed the door on finding my purpose and focused on living my present day-to-day life.

If I only had now, what was it I really wanted to do and have, and if I did have it all, how would I love to feel? And what did I need to do to feel that way today?

I dug deep and anchored myself to this vision of how I wanted to feel day in and day out and, based on that, I learned how to create goals and intentions with feeling. I finally understood the importance of making my decisions to ensure I kept or created this feeling I was aiming for, as opposed to making decisions thinking only about an actual end goal.

You see, it’s amazing how in truth we’re not necessarily chasing a particular thing (e.g., a different dress size, a promotion, a house, completing a marathon, etc.) but instead the feeling that achieving that will create within us (e.g., feeling fulfilled, worthy, peaceful, juicy, complete, etc.).

When you focus on creating that feeling instead of achieving a particular outcome, you realize that it really doesn’t matter what you do as long as what you’re doing is, in essence, making you feel the way you want to feel. In other words, it’s making you feel good inside.

In the end, maybe it isn’t, for example, losing weight that’ll make you feel really good (or happy, worthy, loved, etc.) but instead, changing how you talk to yourself daily when you look in the mirror. Focusing on creating that feeling right now will help you make decisions that will feel good and, as a result, help you do things that feel in alignment.

I also learned ways to quiet my mind chatter, turn down the volume on my inner critic, and become my biggest cheerleader. I learned how to tune in with my body and energy and pause when I need a break. I learned how to build confidence and developed strategies that help me get out of the freeze “deer in headlights” mode I get into when I’m scared and help me get moving forward instead.

And guess what happened? I realized that I had created a balance and flow to my life that felt good to me. I felt aligned, fulfilled, and motivated, exactly how I thought I would feel had I found my purpose.

Throughout this journey, I learned that having a life purpose is not about doing something in particular. It’s actually all about aligning your daily actions with your values and desires. Simply put, your life purpose (and everyone else’s, for that matter) is to make sure that every day, you’re living your life in integrity with what you believe in, what you value, and how you desire to feel in this life. That’s it.

It doesn’t matter what you do, what your career or passions are. It doesn’t even matter if you don’t have one particular passion or career. As long as you are always creating the feeling you want with each action you take daily, you’re living with purpose. And there’s nothing else you need to do.

Embarking on a quest to find your purpose leads you to believe that answering your soul’s call to live your most aligned and vibrant life is a straight line. That you simply need to tune into your soul to discover that particular something that you can dedicate your life to, the magic bullet that will solve it all. And nothing could be further from the truth.

You don’t need to find a life purpose to get unstuck and feel inspired and aligned. You simply need to get super clear on what’s truly important to you, what you really need and want, and how you’d feel having all that, and then take daily actions in alignment with creating this feeling.

Once you do this on a regular basis, you’ll be amazed at how inspired and fulfilled you’ll feel. You won’t feel stuck. You’ll never have to worry again about finding your life purpose because you’ll be living with purpose daily. And that’s what really counts.

About Adriana Paez

Adriana Paez is a certified life coach on a mission to help women who feel stuck and without purpose—enabling them to conquer self-doubt, grow confident, and find their groove again so that they can create a life that is deeply fulfilling, aligned with their true passions, and that brings them immense joy. Using her innovative three-pillar formula to thrive, Adriana helps others jump back into the driver’s seat of their lives and go from unstuck to unstoppable. adrianapaez.com / Instagram

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