Updated on April 2nd, 2019

Lacking purpose and not knowing where to find it is one of the key issues that my clients struggle with when they’re wanting to create a life they love. So I have done a bit of research with past clients about what has given them purpose. I found that it boiled down to 5 common Purpose-Giving Places that people 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 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 we‘re doing what we’re doing in your life. It’s a Why that really matters, connected to who we really are and what we deeply believe in. One that makes us get up in the morning and enables us to move mountains if we have to.

Yet our journey to this fundamental Why? is often difficult. What gave us purpose earlier in life might feel meaningless later in life. 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 help you if you’re in that place right now. I wanted 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 webThis is about making people’s lives better, or making the world a better place. You can do that through what you do, who you are, or how you behave.

It doesn’t matter whether you do it in your own, small patch or on a large scale with worldwide impact. Making a difference even just to one person will change their life and can be all you need to feel that your life has purpose.

You could educate people, giving them the knowledge they need so they can thrive – say, teaching people how to grow crops to make a living, or impart information they can use to 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. But even if you’re not rich or famous, you could be a role model or a mentor for those in need. You could 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 the unseen and unsung work mainly done by women: Listening without judgment. Understanding and accepting. Being there with someone in pain or illness. Providing medical, practical or psychological care, therapy or support to body, mind or soul.

Doing 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 at that moment: Providing for their family. Looking after their children to give them the best possible start in life.

As they do so, 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 we have created or support. 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, by serving or nurturing 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 or 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 five points are connected. All of them have something to do with getting over or beyond ourselves and giving to other people or the world. They’re about seeing a need and using what we have within us to help fulfil it.

Do my points resonate with you?

Where do you derive your sense of purpose from?

Why don’t you share it below?

And if you want help creating a purposeful future… 

If you’re at a crossroads and are struggling to find a meaningful next direction in life, it can be useful to work with an independent, objective person like myself. I can help you see what you on your own might have overlooked, 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 as 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