“How do I find my purpose?” It’s a question we get asked a lot at The Life Coach School. Our clients are often searching for their passion or their “why”—and we teach them that their why is something they create for themselves. Yes, you read that right. We aren’t born with a why; we create our why.
Oftentimes, we confuse our why with success. You may think your why means making more money or being able to take the vacation of your dreams. Sure, those things are nice. But our why is bigger than that. It’s bigger than us.
For our coaches, their why is teaching other people how to be the best version of themselves possible. You see, their why isn’t actually about them. And they don’t expect their career as a life coach to simply provide this purpose for them. They recognize that it’s up to them to create their passion—and their career as a coach offers a platform to act on their why.
Who You Are Isn’t What You Do
So many of our clients come to us proclaiming that they want to quit the job they currently have. They tell us they’re unhappy there and they don’t feel fulfilled. But instead of quitting this job, it’s important that they recognize that their why isn’t the job they do from 9 to 5—it’s who they are. It’s who they get to be.
Your why and the job you do in the world are not dependent on one another. They can be intertwined, but you don’t have to have the job of your dreams to also have discovered your why. Your purpose should be found where you are right now, in this moment, no matter what your life circumstances look like.
If you’re in a job, marriage, or body you’re unhappy with, stay there until you do the internal work of finding your happiness in that space. Then, once you’ve discovered this happening, you can make a decision from a more emotionally balanced place. Stop trying to find your why in the wrong places.
How to Find Your Why
If you’re struggling to feel purpose or passion in your life—whether that’s in your marriage, career, dating life, or home—it’s important that you understand why. The first step toward figuring out why is doing a thought download. What’s a thought download? We’re glad you asked. When you do a thought download, you sit down for five minutes and write down any and every thought you have. It doesn’t matter how silly or outlandish the thought seems in your head. Write it down.
It’s important that when you’re doing your thought download, you’re staying away from a place of judgment. Do not edit yourself. Use a pen, not a pencil, so you can’t erase your thoughts. They’re there for a reason. Get them all out. Don’t avoid writing down the thoughts you think aren’t relevant.
So if you’re feeling like you don’t have passion in your job, your thoughts might be that you don’t like it, you dread going in every day, you get annoyed by your co-workers, you’ve been doing this so long you’re burnt out, etc. Take a look at what you wrote down. Do those thoughts seem negative? If so, are you surprised that you’re feeling so negatively about your job?
Your Thoughts Dictate Your Why
Now, imagine that you’re incredibly successful at your job and that you actually look forward to work each day. What would your thoughts be? Maybe you would approach your workday completely differently. Or maybe you’d feel excited when you get out of bed every morning instead of experiencing dread.
There’s a tool we use in Self Coaching Scholars called the Model. This tool teaches that your thoughts create your feelings, your feelings create your actions, and your actions create your results. When you change your thoughts, you also change your feelings. Do you see how that works? The way you’re thinking about your current situation dictates how you feel about it. It’s as simple as that. You’re in complete control of how passionate you feel. You control your why.
This may not come naturally at first. In fact, it will probably require a lot of effort. But when you’re able to practice it and make it a habit, you’ll program your brain to think differently. It’s sort of like learning to speak a new language. At first, you sound awkward trying to speak this language that you don’t understand. But once you practice it more, the better you become.
How Knowing Your Why Gives You Purpose and Informs Your Actions
Once you’ve learned how to start thinking thoughts that generate passion and purpose, you will start to feel these things. You’ll start to know your why. When you bring this back to the Model, you’ll see how this train of thought impacts your actions as well.
If you remember, your thoughts create your feelings, your feelings create your actions, and your actions create your results. So, when you feel a sense of purpose or passion, what do you typically do? You act on it. If you feel passion about your job, you go to work, excited and ready to get results. If you feel passion about being a parent, you can’t wait to spend time with your children. You generate that why by how you feel (and, of course, that’s generated by the thoughts in your mind).
If you feel apathetic about your job, do you think you’ll put your best effort into your work every day? Probably not. If you feel frustrated with your children, are you going to show up with love and compassion for them? Unlikely. Your feelings inform your actions—fortunately, you can control how you feel by the thoughts in your mind.
What is your why? Learn more about finding your purpose by enrolling in Self Coaching Scholars today. If you’re looking to discover your true potential, consider a career in life coaching. At The Life Coach School, we train the best coaches in the world. Get more information about our online Coach Certification Program by clicking here.