Look for Patterns to Understand Purpose

Over the years I’ve talked to hundreds of people about how their purpose finds them rather than the other way around. This approach is new to many and often greeted with curiosity as most people are used to thinking that they have to “find their purpose”. In fact many will say, “If only I could find my purpose, I’d be happy.” When this proves elusive, it’s easy to become discouraged. Sometimes it seems that knowing what gives life meaning is just out of reach.

Have you ever been asked to describe what you are passionate about and what makes you excited to get up in the morning as a way to discover your purpose? I know what it’s like to draw a blank. There are days you can’t think of a thing.

As a researcher, one of my jobs is to sift through a lot of information and look for patterns or themes to make sense of a mountain of seemingly unrelated data. And so I jot down notes, and draw arrows, and stare into space until a pattern begins to show itself.

This approach will work for you, too.  Dedicate a journal or notebook to yourself and in the evening write down a few notes that answer these two questions:

  • What did I do today that was boring, tedious, and seemed almost pointless?
  • What did I do today that I enjoyed and found exciting and rewarding?

Like a researcher, begin to discover the patterns in your life. This is a great way to understand what gives your life meaning and discover how your purpose is finding you.