My Novel Two-Step, Effective Way To Discover Your Life’s Purpose

nathan DeFiesta woman back

Are you struggling to figure out your life’s purpose? “What else is there in my life worth pursuing?” you might say. For some time, this has been a popular topic in the self-development field. As a coach, I hear of so many struggling to find their life’s purpose. Actually, I did too. I finally discovered a two-step process that made this challenge oh so possible – and fruitful too!

Earlier in my life operating as a husband, father, and business executive, I was so consumed with my roles and tasks that I didn’t give my life’s purpose much thought. Things were going well. Then came a divorce, children leaving home, and my career taking a nosedive just when it should have been taking off. What’s more, my finances followed my career stressing me even more. Only then did my life’s purpose became a focal point.

Reading, contemplating, trying many exercises, and working with coaches, the answers didn’t come quickly or easily. Finding my life’s purpose seemed a lot more complicated than simply “following your bliss.” Finally, as I was beginning to coach others, the process presented itself. It takes work and commitment, but it has worked for me and most of my clients. The discovery process is a novel one and not necessarily easy. Nevertheless, it is so rewarding.

This first step I am about to share is the novel one, perhaps strange, and can be very challenging. It is only for the committed. I maintain that everyone has a “curiosity muscle” though many have allowed it to become dormant past childhood. I want you to really build yours and shake your mindset up big time! Are you ready?

Step #1 – Pick one topic you have absolutely no interest in, know little or nothing about, and perhaps even detest or disapprove of. It could be the opposing political party, football, insect mating habits, a particular religion, the history of  a country, algebra, stamp collecting, stock investing, climate change, baroque or heavy metal music, 14th Century Italian art, quantum biology, etc. You name it. Now I would like you to research and learn everything you possibly can about this subject. Become expert enough on it so that you would confidently present a convincing 50-minute talk discussing why it is interesting and important to a group of interested adults. Alternatively, you might write a succinct 750 to 1,000-word essay for publication or a more extensive 5,000 to 10,000-word term paper about it detailing the same. You have no more than sixty days to complete this and you must spend a minimum of 30-hours intensely learning about it. Search the Internet, read or listen to books and podcasts. Interview subject matter experts or authority figures. Use your creativity. Do something toward this at least every other day, if only for 15-minutes. Don’t binge or wait until the last moment. Become outrageously curious, curious about everything. See how much you can learn and grow. Pretend you were the journalist assigned to do this as a news story for a show like “Sixty Minutes.” Commit to giving this your best effort.

By the time we enter the sometimes messy middle of life, we’ve dug deep brain patterns of belief and established routines and reactions without giving much conscious thought or clear thinking to them. By doing this curiously weird and challenging exercise, I am forcing you to startle and completely upset those patterns and create or refresh your brain’s neural pathways. In essence, you begin to once again see things with awe as would a child — everything is new. You don’t know exactly what you will find as you dig deeper, but you will have begun to be able to return your brain back to growth and adventure. While my purpose is not to “convert you” to your new study subject, I am trying to awaken you to more of the possibilities that we routinely drive by as we travel the highways of life — to build your awareness.

Interestingly, many folks have actually developed meaningful lasting relationships with their subject and almost everyone gains an immense amount of self-satisfaction of accomplishment in completing this challenge. “Wow! I never knew…, I didn’t appreciate that… Would you believe…? Isn’t it interesting that… Let me tell you about… ” are the beginnings of typical comments. You will find that not only does this prepare your mindset and confidence for the task of finding your purpose, it builds that all important curiosity muscle while demonstrating your ability to grow and learn. In the process, you may uncover possibilities of interest and excitement that you never knew of as well as some latent talents. You will find yourself engaging in life in ways you never could have imagined. You will begin to see the world differently. I guarantee it.

This second step may appear easier and more conventional, but it is essential to preparing yourself to discover your Life’s Purpose.

Step #2 – Figure out ways to serve others and then begin doing them. First, list down on paper at least twenty-five different ways you can serve others beyond your immediate family. What special talents or energies might you bring to the hungry, poor, sick, dying, aged, children, poorly educated or disadvantaged, traumatized, immobile, the wildlife, startups, charities, the environment, food supplies, political service, disaster relief, or a religious or philosophical group, etc.? The possibilities are nearly endless and may be as close as next door or across the street. Next, identify the top 2-3 that you feel might fit you best and that you can start the quickest. What feels like the best fit and what might help you grow the most? Pick that one.

Now for the tough part. Begin! Act! Make time for this. Hold yourself accountable. Contact others who can help you make your service happen. Who also does this? Who has experience? What have they encountered? How can they advise or help you? Can you team up with others? Acquire the tools or training if needed. Volunteer. Join a group of like-minded folks. Don’t overpromise or overcommit, but take small, sustainable steps to begin your service habit. Act from a qualitative rather than quantitative perspective. Throw any expectations out the window. Make this a lifetime marathon and not a sprint. Appreciate that your purpose can be cultivated in your day-to-day existence without extensive travels or changes. Stay patient.

As I have seen, your purpose may not be restricted to volunteering or working with or for a non-profit. It could be creating art, literature, music, inventing, performing, writing, speaking, coaching, or teaching, etc. It might include a change of function where you work or a new job in the same or different field. You might consider practicing law or accounting, being doctor, therapist, or researcher. Often we neglect to realize that our purpose may to be our best self, best partner, best parent or child or sibling, best friend, best role model, best neighbor, best teammate, best leader, etc. Let your imagine roam. Remember that it’s never too late to finish strong.

As you begin to communicate, collaborate, and cooperate with others in service to others, you become a creator. Any other problems you have will likely begin to drift back into the background where they belong. When you combine this with your developing enthusiasm for curiosity, you will have completely changed your energy and chemistry. New opportunities will present themselves. The lenses by which you see the world will be clearer. No matter your circumstances, personality, or perceived intelligence, this approach can and will work. This is admittedly not easy an easy challenge. That’s okay isn’t it, especially if it works?

I have found that the timing to find your purpose is completely unpredictable. For a very few, just working this two-step process for a matter of a several intense hours or a few days will reveal their life’s purpose. Your purpose may arrive by a shock to your system, a new piece of information, an awakening, a dream, a new person, old friend, or simply gradual recognition and awareness. For the rest, dig in and test my hypothesis. Try to prove me wrong. Besides, what’s the risk? Often the best thing is that the longer this two-step process is for you and the tougher it is, the more valuable it will be. And are you ready for the best news? It works, your life’s purpose will eventually appear!

P.S. To share what finally happened to me, I escaped my funk, started a charitable foundation, went back to school gaining a Ph.D. in Holistic Counseling and a Doctorate of Divinity after the age of sixty, developed a coaching practice, and am writing books and sharing in articles such as this one. Today has been my best day ever and tomorrow will make today jealous! And I can give you a hint that your true purpose will never focus on money, fame, pleasure, or power, but the byproducts will delight you.




Leave a Reply

  • (will not be published)