Finding Purpose When You Feel Purposeless

June 21, 2024
Reading time: 4 minutes
Motivation, Purpose, Self Improvement


Everyone desires a feeling of purpose. It’s that sweet sensation of being excited when you wake up for the day, having clarity about where you are and where you want to go, and knowing that your actions are aligned with deeper meaning. Living our purpose brings us a sense of satisfaction and peace, the belief that our contributions make an impact and that our presence makes a powerful difference. I mean, who wouldn’t want to feel this way?

Yet, one survey reported that only 10% of people say they know their life purpose and only 5% say they follow that purpose on a regular basis. Forbes shared another survey by HP that found only 28% of people say their work gives them a sense of purpose.

So, if purpose is so elusive, do we really need it?

Yes! Purpose fuels an optimistic outlook and can even act as a shield against challenges, turning them into stepping stones for growth. Research suggests that older adults with a strong sense of purpose experience better health as they age, including a sharper mind and a stronger body. They’re also more likely to take preventative measures for their health. The bottom line is that a strong sense of purpose is paramount to your mental and physical well-being.

The tricky part is understanding the difference between living our genuine purpose and relentlessly seeking what we think our purpose is or should be. Add to this that our purpose may change over time depending on the seasons of our lives, and you’ve got the makings of a real quagmire. Mainly because we usually aren’t aware of how important our purpose is to us until those times when we feel… purposeless. Those experiencing a job loss, becoming empty nesters, retirees, people leaving the military, and even recent college graduates—as we grow and change, so too does our purpose, and those shifts aren’t always easy.

In times like these, it’s helpful to remember that the quickest way to find purpose again is to embody the purpose that we already have. It may be simple, minor, or decidedly unglamorous, but that does not mean it’s not purposeful or essential. My husband Michael has spoken about this very idea. He shared about how different Israelites had different roles in the desert. Some roles were crucial, and some were seemingly not important at all. But no matter what role they fulfilled, no matter the status or the type of position or job, each Israelite revealed the same quantity of Light. No matter what our purpose is, big or small, the opportunity to share our gifts and reveal our Light is always there.

From a greater spiritual perspective, the Creator has a unique plan for each of us. It may not be writing a bestseller or achieving a specific type of notoriety, wealth, or a Nobel prize. Your purpose on some days may be to simply offer words of encouragement to a total stranger. Other days, it may be meeting a challenge with levity and deep breath instead of leaning into your nature, whatever that nature might be—from internalizing stress, exploding in anger, blaming others, or criticizing yourself. We are part of a larger plan, and the more we lean into co-creating our purpose with The Creator, the more purposeful we will feel.

Another way we can find the path back to a sense of purpose is by understanding what is not our purpose. Interestingly, it’s usually things we’ve been conditioned to believe make us successful, worthy, or very purposeful. Here are a few places where you’re not going to find your purpose:

In a Big Paycheck

We often measure our worth by the digits on our paycheck, believing that a higher salary equates to greater happiness and fulfillment. But true success and purpose lie beyond these numbers. What if the real measure of your success is found in how you live your purpose daily, your impact on others, and the joy you experience in everyday life? While having a big job and an equally big paycheck allows for security and stability, it isn’t anyone’s sole purpose.

In the Material World

It is very easy to mistakenly equate a sense of purpose with things like wealth, status, and material possessions. It isn’t wrong to desire these things, and they certainly contribute to a comfortable life, but they are not what brings a sense of purpose. Anything missing from our inner experience will never be found outside of us—no matter the house we live in or how many followers we have. True fulfillment is about embracing and living our current purpose to its fullest expression. It’s about finding joy in the journey rather than just the physical destination.

In Comparing Ourselves to Others

When we’re feeling purposeless, many of us look to what others are doing. This isn’t necessarily bad. Being inspired by other people is a healthy way of clarifying what we want. However, it’s easy to fall into the trap of comparison. We compare our salaries, possessions, and lifestyles with others, which leads not to inspiration and motivation but to feelings of inadequacy and self-doubt. When we are living our purpose, we are wholly unconcerned with others, and embracing our unique journey becomes its own source of joy. Everyone has their own path, and what matters most is that you live authentically and true to yourself.

Living the purpose you already have means embracing the present and recognizing the value in your current actions and daily experiences. Instead of constantly seeking a grand, elusive purpose, focus on the ways you are already making a difference in your everyday life. Acknowledge the impact of your kindness, the dedication you bring to your work, and the love you share with others. And if you don’t feel you show up in this way in your life and the lives of others, then this is the ideal place to create the shift from feeling purposeless to purposeful.

By appreciating and nurturing these aspects, you realize that purpose is not a distant goal but a daily practice. This shift in perspective allows you to find fulfillment and joy in the here and now, transforming ordinary moments into extraordinary ones. When you live the purpose you have, you create a life rich with meaning, authenticity, and deep satisfaction. Which, ironically, is precisely what it means to live a purposeful life.

Take purpose one day at a time. Your purpose isn’t something you have to find; it’s something you bring your consciousness to so that when it arises, you can recognize it.

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  1. Jonathan Daniel Kruger Erbstein : June 26, 2024 at 5:58 pm

    Thank you, Light and Love

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