02 Oct 3 Steps To Finding Your Life’s Purpose (And Dream Job)
When Haley Hoffman Smith began creating motivational TikTok content, she didn’t expect the most common question that she gets asked. “How do I find my purpose?” flooded her comments and DM’s. She had created a TikTok video for a popular trend that reflected her growth trajectory from a purpose-less 15-year-old to her now, at 24, as a six figure entrepreneur signed with her dream talent agency in New York City. The video garnered over a million views and counting, spurring hundreds of requests for advice on how to find one’s life purpose.
Finding your purpose is a big question – probably, the biggest question most people ask themselves. Yet, according to a survey of 2000 Americans, only 10% of people are working the job they dreamed of back when they were teenagers. People cited many reasons, including financial limitations, lack of skills, or focusing on family, for this departure from pursuing their dream jobs.
The sense of existential dread that pervades upon the mere contemplation of one’s ‘life purpose’ is enough to fog clarity and spark anxiety. Some would argue that we all have just one purpose, while others, like Liisa Kyle Ph.D., will argue that we have multiple purposes that we fulfill throughout our lives. But one thing’s for sure: a sense of connection to one’s purpose is one of the most important considerations in our work, our passions, and our businesses.
It can even help us live longer. A study by Clearvue Health reported that purpose correlated significantly with mortality in a cohort of 8,419 adults. “Essentially, when you feel like you have something to live for, you actually may just live longer as a result,” the article stated. I spoke with Hoffman Smith to learn more about how she’s helping hundreds of people answer the million dollar question, “How do you find your purpose?”
1. Reflect On Your Excitement
It’s no secret that our answer to this question will come from some level of self-reflection. “When I sat down to create a five-day course, The Purpose Pilot, I knew I had to guide students through the right set of reflection questions to help them really understand themselves,” Hoffman Smith noted. “A major part of this was in seeing where their interests and passions converge.”
Many of us dismiss our real life dream as merely just an ‘interest.’
“We’ve been encouraged to think of our passions as something that’s credible, that can lend itself to a career we feel comfortable in pursuing,” she adds. “But when we allow ourselves to look at our interests, we’re able to see the real dream that may be in our blind spot.”
In assessing these interests, pay close attention to what really excites you. “The course teaches what I call an ‘Energy Test,’ which is where you close your eyes and think through each passion and interest, and feel the energetic response in your body,” she shared. “What I’ve found is that thinking about one’s real dream and sense of purpose will feel akin to taking a few shots of espresso! You have that capacity for renewed energy within you, if you light the flame in the right way.”
2. Understand & Overcome Your Limiting Beliefs
Identifying your sense of purpose would be far easier if there weren’t limitations in the way. In fact, that’s likely why you haven’t identified it yet. “What I’ve found is that deep down, we actually do all know what we were put on this Earth to do. But, that gets covered by years of invalidation. Your dream can be invalidated by your perception that it isn’t ‘realistic,’ that you aren’t good at it (think: you wanted to be an actress but you never got the lead in a school play), or because you simply never saw anyone pursuing your dream in your immediate environment,” explained Hoffman Smith.
“You have to become aware of the voices in your head that say you ‘can’t’ do something, then figure out where those voices came from,” she said. To begin to do this in your own life, reflect on this question: “What did you want to be before the world told you that you couldn’t?”
3. Take Action
Confidence is built through taking action, which is why Hoffman Smith’s course concludes with what she calls a ‘Do It Day.’ “The concept is to choose one day – and plan ahead for it – in which you tackle that beginning business plan or your book or your passion with momentum,” she explained. “If you get to plan for it ahead of time, it feels almost like a holiday, and makes you more likely to take massive action.”
As for what the day entails, she recommends a third person approach. “If you had a friend with your big dream, what would you advise them to do to get started?” she says. “Sometimes, we gain clarity by putting some separation between us and our work.”
Ultimately, Hoffman Smith’s goal is to help people who feel the call to follow their big life dream once and for all. “Here’s a secret: your biggest life dream and your life’s purpose are the same thing. Don’t doubt what you know in your heart to be your calling.”