Lacking purpose is one of the key issues that my clients say they struggle with when they’re trying to discover and create a life they love. So I have done a bit of research with my past clients about what gives them purpose. And I found that, what it boils down to, is 5 common Purpose-Giving Places that are mentioned again and again.

Read on to discover what these are, and be inspired to find more purpose in your life!

Sense of purpose comes up inevitably as a topic in most of my coaching conversations with clients that are looking for a next direction in life.

Having a sense of purpose asks for why you’re doing what you’re doing in your life.

It’s a Why that really matters, connected to who you really are and what you deeply believe in. One that makes you get up in the morning, and move mountains if you have to.

Yet our journey to this fundamental Why? can be difficult. And what gave us purpose earlier in life might not do so anymore later on. And we can lose our sense of purpose, too – when we’re disappointed, disillusioned, or come up against the rough sides of life. It’s easy, then, to feel that our efforts have no point.

So I thought I’d do a bit of research, to see what my coaching clients say gives them purpose. And  I found that their answers pretty much boiled down to 5 common things.

If you’re looking for purpose, check them out here, and get inspired!

1 Making a difference

make a difference webMaking people’s lives better. Making the world a better place. Through what you do, who you are, or how you behave. It doesn’t matter whether you do that in your own, small patch, or with worldwide impact. Making a difference even just to one person is enough to give your life purpose.

You could educate people, giving them the knowledge they need so they can thrive – say, helping them grow crops to make a living, pass an exam, eat more healthily, or change their life for the better.

You could provide resources – money, materials, time – that improve the lives of those who lack them, perhaps by sponsoring someone, giving clothes or books, or volunteering your time.

If you’re someone like Bill Gates or J.K. Rowling, you could give away your billions, or set up a philanthropic organisation.

You could be a role model for those who don’t have one. Speak up against injustice. Or just commit to being more conscientious with your recycling. The possibilities are endless!

If you want to give your life more purpose, ask yourself:

What could you do to make a difference?

2 Serving others

serve webThis is where you take care of someone. Look after them. Do for them what they themselves cannot do. This is where you’re being useful to someone.

It’s what the so-called Helping Professions and charities provide – and in private life, it’s often the unseen and unsung work mainly of women: Listening without judgment. Being there with someone in pain or illness. Providing medical, practical or psychological guidance, care, therapies or support to body, mind or soul.

Seeking work that serves others can give you a sense of purpose. But you can serve others outside of work too: Join the Samaritans. Take in a refugee. Look after an ageing relative. Host Christmas for those who are alone. Set up a soup kitchen for the homeless. Adopt an abandoned animal. You get the gist.

If you want to give your life more purpose, ask yourself:

What could you do to serve others?

3 Providing and nurturing

nurture webMany people get a whole new sense of purpose in life when they start a family. They become more focused on what’s really important to them: Providing for their family. Giving their children the best possible start in life. Their life becomes less about themselves, and more about nurturing others.

But providing and nurturing gives us purpose not only when it’s to do with family: It can be about anyone or anything that we strongly feel is important in our life:  Someone not related to us. A meaningful business. An art form. A philosophy. An animal. A garden.

Somehow, the sense of purpose seems to come from taking on responsibility for someone or something beyond ourselves. And giving ourselves over to that!

If you want to give your life more purpose, ask yourself:

Whom or what could you provide for, or nurture?

4 Doing something well

skill webLearning, practicing and mastering a skill is something that feels very purposeful and satisfying to a lot of us. It gives us a sense of progress, aliveness, growth, development. And with growing mastery of what we’ve learnt, with being able to do something well, comes confidence, fulfillment, joy and satisfaction.

It doesn’t seem to matter whether you learn plumbing, science, singing, management, teaching, counselling, painting, computer skills, parenting, blogging, or a foreign language.

But if it’s a skill you love to exercise and use, it’s better. And if you then use this skill to make a difference to, serve or nurture others, even better.

If you want to give your life more purpose, ask yourself:

What skill or competence could you acquire?

5 Connecting with something greater than yourself

connect webThis is about contributing to something for the greater good.

Make a difference by being part of a club, a group, an association that you share aims and goals with. Take on a good cause – whether political, ecological, spiritual, philosophical, nutritional, or in the areas of health, welfare, justice, equality.

Help save a species on the way to extinction. Work towards a fairer society. Contribute to raising consciousness and spiritual awareness in people. Spread knowledge of slow food, or vegetarianism. Fight against global warming. Advocate for political, legal or societal changes.

This one will boost your sense of purpose not only through feeling part of a worthwhile cause, but also through working alongside others towards it!

If you want to give your life more purpose, ask yourself:

What cause could you get connected to?

Over to you now:

You’ll have noticed that my 5 points are all connected. All of them have something to do with getting beyond ourselves and giving. To others. To the world. Seeing a need and using what we have in us, to help fulfill it.

Do they resonate with you?

Or do you derive your sense of purpose from something else?

Why don’t you share it below?

And if you want help creating a purposeful future… 

It can help working with an independent, objective person, who can help you see what you on your own don’t see, and draw out what gives you purpose.

Click here to check out my coaching programmes 

They are designed to give you space, structure and inspiration, as well as guide you discover your purposeful next direction, and then move towards it.

As one of my clients said:

“Sometimes it takes another person, someone who is unbiased,
to help us see what’s right in front of us!” 🙂

See what else my clients say about coaching with me