How do you find the purpose of your life? For me, it started as a bit of a calling at a young age. I always knew I was meant to help people, but I wasn't quite sure how.
A piece of the puzzle fell into place one day when I, about 14 years old and stuck in a math class I disliked, began imagining myself anywhere but that room with that teacher. As I wandered off in my mind, I was daydreaming of becoming a great mystery writer, penning timeless classics in the style of Agatha Christie. I saw myself smiling, shaking the hands of fans and signing books. It was a lovely image...
I was jolted back to reality with the sound of my teacher asking, “Tara? Do you know the answer?”
Of course, I didn’t know the answer to the math question, but I thought I might know part of the answer of what I was meant to do in my life: be a writer.
If you have been feeling stuck, wanting to become something that you are not today and wishing yourself in a new, freer situation that actually makes you feel good, then it’s time for you to ask yourself, “Do you know what would make you happy? Do you know how to define that dream?”
Far too often we simply wish ourselves out of a bad or stagnant situation, but have no idea what would actually make us happy.
In order to achieve your dreams, you need to know your dream in the first place. Here are three key questions to help you to do just that:
Question 1: What do you love to do?
Think about everything you do in your life now. What makes you feel the most joy? Maybe you love to cook for your family and friends. Perhaps you enjoy coaching your child’s soccer team. Maybe you love to help solve people’s problems. Whatever it is, list everything that makes you feel passionate about life.
Question 2: What did you love to do as a child?
Remember when you were a kid, filled with joy, energy, and hope? What was it about that period in your life that made you truly happy? For some, you may have loved to write. For others, it might have been dance, sports, or just playing in the yard. Whatever it was, dream back to that time and write it all down. (If nothing else, you will feel a full-body smile just imagining the happy times of your youth.)
Question 3: What kind of life would allow you to feel this passion again?
The answer to this one will require both your imagination and a little research. Look at all the things that make you passionate, and imagine a life that allowed you to live with that same sense of joy. Is there a way to reintegrate some of those activities into your life? No, you might not play kickball as an adult, but you could learn another, similar activity.
If you are seeking a new career that would bring you more joy, what kind of career would let you bring your passions to work?
The answer might come to you right off, or it might take some research. For instance, if you loved dance as a child, there are many ways to build a career around it - for instance, you could become a dance therapist, a NIA instructor, or an aerobics teacher. If you loved to write, you could become a freelance writer, a ghostwriter, or an author. Whatever it is that you love, get online and research the kinds of jobs that use that skill. You might be surprised what you find!
Then, imagine the life that would give you the freedom you desire. Close your eyes and smile, allowing a feeling of joy to flow down into your body and up into your brain. Then, just ask yourself, “How could I create a life that would bring me joy? What kind of life would that be?” Wait for the answers. If you are visual, you might actually see yourself moving to a new location or working at a new job. If you are auditory, you might “hear” in your mind some ways to move forward.
If this is hard for you the first time, just stick with it. Do just 5 minutes of focused meditation on your “dream life” a day, writing down your observations after each session.
By doing this, your dream life will become more defined and you will become more focused and joyful.
What did you find from doing this exercise? And are you one of the lucky ones that has found your dream life? How did you do it?