Purpose: what does it actually mean & what can it do for you?

If you’ve not found your purpose, you might have the definition wrong. We debunk the myths. 

If someone was to ask you what your purpose was, what would you say? If you don’t have an answer, don’t worry - you’re not alone. According to a recent survey by the University of Arizona, 75% of millennials feel they lack a purpose in life. In order to truly answer this question, the first place to start is by defining what it really means.  

What is purpose? 

 

In the Book of Rituals, we define purpose as this: ‘The moment you discover your authentic self and get to know the real you a little better is the moment you can truly reconnect with your soul. And if you make the time to listen to it carefully, it will tell you what makes you come alive, and what you love to do with your time here on earth. This is your purpose’.  

 

It’s not necessarily about finding the perfect career or dedicating your life to saving the world – it’s about reconnecting and listening to yourself, finding out what makes you feel alive and dedicating the time to doing it. ‘I think of my purpose as my north star,’ explains Ani Naqvi, one of the UK’s most sought-after coaches, mentors and our purpose expert. ‘It guides me through my every day. I wake up thinking what can I do to fulfil my purpose? When you've got that, when you've got something that you're working towards, it gives you joy and clarity and adds meaning to your life.” So, if you feel like you don’t have that right now then don’t worry because you’re in the right place. Let's start by taking a look at what purpose might look like for you – because there are plenty of myths around the subject. 

Your purpose and your career are not the same thing 

According to a report, 70% of people define their purpose through work. This is one of the most important myths to debunk. It’s amazing if your career and your purpose align, but they won’t necessarily – and that’s ok. “A lot of people think they need to find a job that is purpose-driven, but you can actually find purpose in any job,” explains Ani. “For example, you can have two cleaners: one who cleans the house and it's a job for them. And one who has a sense of purpose around making a home comfortable, cosy and inviting for each family.”  

 

A good way of thinking about your purpose is to think about what you want your legacy to be. Will your legacy be your job title? Or will it be a personality trait or talent that you put into your job as well as your everyday life? “Imagine a cashier working in a supermarket,” explains Ani. “A friendly person that always puts a smile on their customers’ faces. Their purpose probably isn’t to work in a shop – but it could be to have meaningful interactions. Every day, they have the power to make a positive impact on their customers. Research has shown that spreading kindness can increase your own serotonin levels – and you can do that in most roles.” 

Your purpose might not be ground-breaking (and that’s okay) 

 

If what gets you out of bed in the morning is to rally for a more sustainable planet or to help put an end to world hunger – that’s amazing. However, finding your purpose is about being authentic and honest. You need to block out societal pressures about what your purpose should be and instead, listen to your soul and discover what genuinely fills you up and excites you. “We've all got a soul purpose” explains Ani. “As human beings having a human experience, our soul comes here to do certain things. One person’s soul purpose might be to transform other people’s lives. But another person’s might just be to enjoy their home and their garden and to support their family. We put a lot of judgement on different things, but it doesn't have to be a big thing - your soul's purpose can be quite simple.” 

What can purpose do for you? 

 
From reducing stress to feeling less lonely, there have been lots of reports, studies and surveys proving the benefits of purpose. To give you a few examples, researchers surveyed over 6,000 US individuals aged 20 to 70 on their sense of purpose and tracked their mortality rates for 14 years. Findings revealed a link between a strong sense of purpose and longer lifespans.  

 

In another recent study of 2,312 Swiss adults indicated that individuals who expressed a sense of purpose were less inclined to experience feelings of loneliness. Research has even shown that people with a sense of purpose are more likely to floss their teeth, exercise and generally take care of themselves as they feel they have something to live for. Having a purpose fuels a sense of optimisism and can shine positivity on difficult situations too.  

 

So, are you ready to find yours? Our purpose expert and trained hypnotherapist created a Hypnotherapy track to help you start visualising your purpose. Click here to try it out. To see an overview of the rest of the articles in our How to Find Your Purpose masterclass, click here.

 

This article is part of our How to Find Your Purpose masterclass, a series of articles and videos designed to help you live a life with more meaning. If you want to start debunking the myths around purpose, reveal what makes your heart beat faster and bring more joy into your life, you can find the rest of the content here 

 

Jessy Deans

Jessy Deans

Jessy Deans is a copywriter with a strong appetite for thought-provoking stories, travel and anything covered in white chocolate. With a background working in the fast-paced television industry, she has learnt the importance of self-care and downtime and believes there’s no such thing as too many candles. She is passionate and committed to her lifelong search for the perfect meal and subscribes to the doctrine that ‘if you can’t love yourself, how are you going to love somebody else’ (Ru Paul).