You Don’t Need a Purpose for a Purposeful Life

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At times in life, disillusion hits. A change in career track doesn’t really bring the satisfaction that you were looking for. Job searches can feel like an endless tunnel, with no light in sight. You start to question your path as a whole.

What am I actually supposed to do, really? This is also known as the quest for purpose. And it goes like this: when I’ll find that one thing that’s right for me, I’ll be satisfied. So now let me find it.

But… searching for purpose can be a rabbit hole. It gets us stuck.

As children, or at least when we were less moulded by societal norms, we used to naturally pursue interests and be in the flow of what energised us. This gets lost later on, when we try to intellectualise what brings us meaning and joy within the constraints of professional tracks.

Instead of figuring out your purpose, here’s a tool to tap back into your natural flow: an energy audit.

List 5 things that energise you: these can include both leisure activities (painting, meditation) and things that you may associate with work (solving complex problems, writing policies, helping people).
List 5 things that drain you of energy: again, these can be both things outside of work (talking to a toxic ‘friend’, running errands) and work-related (difficult discussions with a manager, creating PowerPoints).
*How do you ‘know’: energising things leave you full and at peace; draining things leave you empty and emotionally exhausted.

The exercise works best if you do it without jumping into the practicalities of asking how something could become a job, or getting annoyed that you can’t cut out things that drain you.

Sit patiently with it for a bit, and see what you learn about yourself. Consider it as a seed that will guide your intuition towards more flow.

I invite you to make a commitment to yourself for the week to come. Pick one thing that energises you, and do more of it. Then pick one thing that drains you, and do less of it.

You can do things that have purpose, without necessarily having found your purpose.

Go with your flow.

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I am a coach and trusted advisor to driven and gifted people who feel there’s an inkling of rebellion in them. I help them create more fulfilment and reduce stress in their work and careers, on their terms. You can sign up to The Sunday Question, my weekly invitation for introspection and action, here: https://www.anisiabucur.com/sign-up/

Written by

Coach — Career and Work Transformation | PhD Researcher | Facilitator

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