How to Hear the Whispers of Purpose in a Loud World

Do you ever look at your life and wonder why you’re here? How does your piece fit into this puzzle we call life?

Maybe you’ve begun to think there is no purpose. There is no reason. It’s all pointless.

If you believe that, it’s because you haven’t found your purpose… yet.

I believe each and every one of us has a unique purpose. Unique gifts that we’ve been given to help in life. Things we can do that others can’t. Things we gravitate towards. Think about it.

Why are you a genius at design and your best friend sucks at it?

How can the words of a poet bring a reader to tears, when you can barely string two sentences together?

Why does your mom’s cooking soothe your soul, when other food is just food?

Figuring out what your purpose is, can be challenging. It’s like finding a path that splits in 12 directions and you don’t have a map.

Life’s tricky like that. Sometimes the path will call to you, but you can’t hear it through all the noise. It whispers, it doesn’t shout. You have to listen, and follow where it leads. Here’s how to get started:


Discover Your Gifts


Take inventory of what you’re good at.

What can you do naturally?

Take out a piece of paper, or your notepad on your phone. List everything you’re good at. Don’t be embarrassed, no one needs to see this but you. Really give it some thought and write it all down.

Can you cook? Can you run long distances, rebuild an engine, write with such passion that you cry, or sing like you were sent from heaven? Maybe you’re a great listener, or give the best advice.  Building things might be a gift you have. Maybe you’re a great leader, or your experience has given you insight you can share in a way that helps people.

Now, circle all the things that really make you feel good. Listen for that whisper, or that little nervous nudge in your gut. Might feel like uncertainty mixed with a little excitement. This might not happen the first time through, especially if you’re not into “listening to your soul calling”.

What do you do for free? What do you wish existed for you as a child? There’s no right or wrong answer.

But the more meaningful, the better.

Does it bring you joy to sell coffee because it’s like selling sunshine? Were you were abused as a child and you wish you’d had someone to teach you how to deal with all that on a spiritual level?

Don’t be afraid to go deep here.

Circle the things that feel like more than words on a piece of paper. The things that feel like tiny dreams that you’re almost too afraid to imagine. No dream is too big, no dream is too small.

Keep this list. You’re going to want to keep adding to it until you get a better idea of what you should be doing with your life.


Look For New Experiences


Many people are afraid to try something new. It sounds stupid to say “don’t be” but I’m going to say it anyway. Don’t be.

Your one great joy in life, your life’s purpose, could be hidden in an activity you haven’t tried yet. If that’s not worth trying new things, I don’t know what is.

Are you worried you’ll suck at it? Everyone sucks at first. Embrace the suck. Do you think Picasso’s first painting was a winner? I doubt it. It probably looked like my four year old painted it. But you just might find, that you love it even if you suck at it. And when you combine practice with love… that’s where the magic’s at.

So try something new once a month. Make another list. This time write down all the things you’ve wanted to try but haven’t for one reason or another. Or if a friend invites you to something you’ve never been to, even if it sounds awful, give it a chance. Go to a leadership conference. Take a cooking class, take a dance class, join a support group, start a group on facebook geared towards your favorite books. Learn to swim, learn to sew, learn to paint. Anything you want.

Don’t worry what others might say. You should have seen my daughter’s face when I told her I was going to take a hip hop dance class. Haha. This is your journey, not theirs. And if that really holds you up, don’t tell anyone. You have my permission to keep it to yourself as long as you’d like.

Trying new things sets you free. It’s okay to suck at something. If you go in knowing you won’t be great at the start, but willing to see how you like it, it can be a great experience. Step out of your comfort zone.

Broaden Your People Perspective

This goes right along with trying new things. Talk to people. I like to play this sort of game at my current day job. Try to guess what a person does or use to do for a living. Make your prediction and then strike up a conversation and ask them.

It’s almost never the same answer twice. It’s always random things. Sometimes they have jobs you wouldn’t even know were real jobs. This is good for broadening your perspective. See what else is out there in the world. See what your options are.

It’s easy to get trapped in our comfortable little boxes. We forget that there’s a huge world out there full of people and purposes. We get stuck in a rut and forget to look around at the possibilities. Don’t give up, keep looking. You get to choose how your life goes, and you have so many options.

Talking to people from all walks of life helps to lift that veil a little. You use to drive race cars? You were an exotic dancer? You built websites? How did these people get into that? How do they feel about it now, looking back? Great lessons can be learned from those that have already been there, and done that.

You don’t need a list for this. Talk to people while in line for coffee, while waiting for your new tire, while grocery shopping. Just try to talk to strangers, and don’t tell your mom I said that.

Don’t Let The World Decide For You

Parents have expectations for their children, and so those children do what’s expected of them. And then they’re miserable. Or they rebel so hard against the expectation, that they do something opposite to prove a point, and also end up miserable.

Life has all kinds of plans for us, all kinds of expectations. But what really matters here is what makes you happy. What gives you a sense of purpose?

Take control of your own life. We all have our own lives and our own paths. And sometimes people try to force a different one on us. So many people get trapped in that expectation trap. Realize you have the choice, you can decide which path to trek.

Living up to someone else’s expectations for your life is torture, like a slow death. That may seem a bit dramatic, but I bet you know what I mean. Where one more day of going to work might do you in. You keep reminding yourself that it’s a good job, it pays your bills. You should be thankful you have it. And that’s all true and great, but it doesn’t change a thing.

If you’re questioning why you’re here, I’m talking to you. If what you’re doing bores you to tears and you think it doesn’t matter, then it’s time to find something that does matter. You don’t have to give up on finding a meaningful life, just give up on the parts of it that aren’t lighting you up.

Even a purpose driven life will have it’s down days. But there will be far more days that light you up and get you going.

Back to your list. I want you to write down every expectation that someone else had, or still has, for you. Every man in your family was or is a doctor, your mom worked three jobs to send you to law school, you were told from birth you’ll be attending college, your dad groomed you to take over the company, etc.

This doesn’t have to solely be related to your career choice. It can be your religion, the way you eat, the way you look at yourself. Your girlfriend or boyfriend expects you to be a certain way. Maybe your husband expects you to do too much, or to be someone you don’t want to be. Any expectation someone else placed on you that you didn’t choose.

Then I want you to go through each one, and decide if that’s an expectation you want to choose for your life. There may be some you want to keep. Maybe you enjoy being a doctor and really want to keep that tradition going. Maybe you like being a vegetarian, or you like being Christian. Maybe your wife pushes you to be a better person with her expectations and you’re grateful. But there will be some things on that list that aren’t serving you. It’s time to cross those off your list and your life.

Listen To That Whisper

At the end of the day, you need to listen to your gut. This may take some practice. It’s not something most of us grew up knowing. It can feel foreign and really confusing.

But it’s there. That inner guide. You have a map, you just have to learn how to read it. It’s whispering the answers. It’s your job to stop and listen. And the more you tune into that, the easier it’ll be to hear. Keep questioning all the parts of your life. Is this thing making your life better? Can you change it? That alone can improve life so much.

And don’t ever think you’re too old to try something new. People are out there living to 100. You might be 50. That’s not that old anymore. You have plenty of life left in the tank, so get going.

Keep adding and removing from your lists. And when you think you’ve found your purpose, go after it. If it’s truly your purpose, life will help you get there. Don’t get held up by doubts or excuses. It may take time, but you can do this. And it will 100% be worth it.

It is fully within your control, to live a life full of purpose. A life that uses your talents and allows you make a difference in some way. You don’t have to be the next Mother Teresa. Just be the next you. You’re the only one that can.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

I accept the Privacy Policy

By signing up for this guide, you will also be added to my mailing list. You will receive periodic updates and special offers from me via email. I will not sell or distribute your email address to a third party at any time. View my privacy policy.

Your Free 30 Day Self

Discovery Journal