After losing someone or something important, many questions may pop up for you. They may sound like this: Who am I now that my life has changed? Where do I go from here? How do I find purpose in life again?
There is a lot of soul-searching involved in answering any one of these questions, and typically it takes putting a bit of distance between you and the event that changed your life so profoundly.
Did you lose a loved one? Was the career you put your heart and soul into ripped out from under you unexpectedly? Have you been struggling with a health diagnosis that caused you to reevaluate everything?
It takes time to grieve losses like these and see all the pieces of your life as they are now, rather than how they used to be. You may feel shattered as if every part of your existence is laying on the floor scattered, and the pieces don’t fit together again.
Or you may feel as if something is missing and you won’t be able to go on. Here’s the truth: life has changed, as it has a habit to do, and you are changing along with it—like it or not.
You’re not alone. The fact is most people struggle to answer those same questions at a time like this. Deciding how to find purpose in life again is something you get to choose to do when the time feels right.
The first and most important aspect of finding purpose in life is to get in touch with your self-compassion. That means, be kind and gentle with yourself whenever it feels hard to do what you want to do.
Because the road to finding life purpose takes you up hills and into valleys, around bends and past blind driveways. Consequently, you must be compassionate, so you don’t drive yourself into a ditch.
Believe me, it will be hard sometimes. When you think about doing new things, meeting different people, or breaking out of hibernation, you may become anxious or afraid. Sit with that until you can reframe the feelings into something that motivates you do take small steps beyond what feels comfortable.
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Look Into the Mirror
The next part of how to find purpose in life is about self-reflection. This takes the courage and willingness to dig deep and discover who you are now that things have changed.
Many of your qualities and characteristics may be the same as before. However, they may feel a bit tarnished or wobbly. For instance, you may have been greatly confident before, and now you are not so sure of yourself. Or, you may have demonstrated clear and concise decision-making, and now you can’t make a choice to save your life.
None of these wonderful qualities are gone—you merely need to bring them back to the surface, dust them off, and find a way for them to fit you like a glove again.
Rebuild Your Foundation For Finding Purpose In Life
Another important element in finding life purpose again (or perhaps for the first time), is to become firmly grounded in what is most important to you now.
Have you ever been in a committed relationship for a long time, or stayed in a job for years, or had friends and family who rely on you and drain your energy? Often, this happens because you have compromised your core values and have lived by what someone else thinks you should do. This could be a spouse, manager, or friend. And, you keep doing what you do to keep the peace, or because you believe they wouldn’t like, trust, or love you.
Especially after a major life event that causes you deep grief and changes your life profoundly, it is the best time to re-evaluate what you care about. What is integral to who you are at the core? Your values.
Spend some time thinking about what makes you tick, what brings you peace. When you have made a list of all those values you want to live by, pick the top five. These core values will become your guiding light because, when you bump every choice against this shortlist, you will make sound and fulfilling decisions.
So, this becomes foundational for you to find a new purpose now that things have changed.
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Engage Your Imagination
When you are ready to take small steps forward, it’s time to let your imagination run a bit wild. At this point, you have identified what characteristics make you unique, and know—without a doubt—your core values. Now imagine what you would like your life to be like beyond the grief and loss you’ve experienced.
What do you love to do? What are you really good at? Then blend the two to come up with what you are good at and love to do.
For many people, feeling that your life has purpose and meaning translates into serving others. It may mean, fulfilling a need in your family, community, or the world. So, think about what you are really good at, love to do, and fills a need. This is when you become the solution for something or someone. Purpose.
If you are also looking to use your skills, talents, and gifts to support yourself and family, then add into this mix what you are good at, love to do, fills a need and someone pays you to do what you love.
Capture Your Vision
The next thing that will help you crystallize your purpose is to write it down. I mean, capture all the glorious details of every aspect of your vision to live with purpose. Describe who you are as you show up in this vision. Then, who you are with, what you are doing, how this feels to you, how you are helping others.
You will feel the power of this if you write it as though it has already happened and you are in it right here, right now.
Surround Yourself With Support When You Are Finding Purpose In Life
All of this can’t happen if you sequester yourself and try to do it alone. Trust me on this one. Not only is it easier when you get input and feedback from those around you, but the truth is also it is more fun. And in the aftermath of major life changes, fun is a good thing.
The key here is to surround yourself with people you trust. Who loves you unconditionally AND wants the best for you? Who do you trust to be honest and objective? Is there someone who will keep you in check when you veer off course? And who will walk this path with you all the way to the end and beyond?
Those are the people you want in your inner circle. I like to call them your Personal Board of Directors. They can help you uncover your best qualities and characteristics, bounce around all the values you could live by and zero in on five of them, and re-imagine your life in a different way. It is this team of trusted advisors who can help you uncover new purpose in your life.
Now It’s Time to Move Forward
At this point, you have a great sense of who you are and how you want to show up, what you value, and what you want to do that will bring purpose and meaning back into your life. You have all this because you captured it on paper.
Next, your job is to take that paper and make it come alive, like animating a feature film about your new life—and you are the leading lady. This means you need to step into action.
The best way to get a move on is to break down your big ideas into smaller actions, then break them down again into manageable tasks. The idea here is to work on the tasks, one-by-one until you can check off the smaller action as complete and start working on the next one. Soon your big idea will be right in front of you ready for you to take it and run with it.
Be sure to rely on your Personal Board of Directors to keep you on track and advise you along the way. And, keep revisiting your written vision to be certain you are moving in the direction you want to head. Finally, use your top values as the checklist against which you make any decisions, so you will always honor yourself and what is most important to you.
How to find purpose in life is an endeavor worth pursuing. Be gentle with yourself. Seek the help you need. And, finally, find what you love and work from there.
If you are living with an emptiness, feeling as if there should be more, you may not like yourself much or even know who you are anymore. Making choices to move beyond the isolation— and find what makes you sing again—can be hard and getting some guidance may be just what you need. Let’s have a chat and talk about how to get you to the other side so you can live a life you love, and it will love you back. Request your chat with María.