How to find your 'why'

More and more, we recognise the importance of doing satisfying, meaningful work for our sense of happiness and well-being. Whether that’s within our main salary-earning role or as a passion, hobby or side hustle, a sense of purpose boosts our motivation and our resilience. 

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But there’s nothing like staring at a blank page titled ‘my purpose’ to instill a wild, existential panic. In fact, discovering purpose is one of the topics that my coaching clients find most intimidating to begin with. Many of us are secretly terrified that maybe we don’t have a purpose, and that this makes us selfish or less than. The trick is to ease yourself in and start small - we don’t all need to save the planet on a Greta Thunberg scale, but we all bring something unique! 


How to uncover your purpose

Here's what I've learnt about uncovering your purpose...

Go with your gut

Start to consider the following questions, and note down the first thoughts that come up, even if they don’t feel ‘right’ or important enough. Don’t overthink it, and don’t start dismissing things as unrealistic just yet. Permission to stay in ‘dream state’ for this one. 

  1. If you never had to work again, how would you spend your time?
  2. How would you like your life to be remembered by others?
  3. Which people or causes would you like to make an impact on?

Let it simmer

Take time when you’re thinking about your purpose - don’t expect to sit down and crack it in one sitting. Save a draft on your phone or leave your notebook open somewhere you can come back to it over the next few days or weeks when things pop into your mind.

Get out of your head

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, take practical steps like looking at your bookshelf to remind you of ideas that you’ve enjoyed learning about, or your camera roll for moments where you felt particularly fulfilled or proud. 

Phone a friend

Often we aren’t the best judge of our own unique talents and contributions, so chatting with family and friends can throw new light on what we bring to the world. This can make us uncomfortable, but stay curious. If a friend shares a quality that you don’t recognise in yourself, ask them to tell you a little bit about when and how they notice you doing it.

Look for the connections

Most of us won’t have one single cause that we want to dedicate our lives to. Instead, look for the common themes in all of your notes - which activities and ideas came up multiple times, or in different ways? This could be things like connection, adventure, community, or leadership. What else could you do that would feed into this same theme?


Remember, this isn't a once-and-done activity either. Once you've connected the dots and taken steps to align your lifestyle with your purpose, take time to revisit your purpose at key intervals. That might be seasonally, or it might be whenever you notice you're feeling a bit flat, or there's a big transition coming up in your life or career

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Life Coach Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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Weybridge KT13 & London W8
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Written by Alice Gaisford, Trusted Life & Career Coach. Empowering you to be your best.
Weybridge KT13 & London W8

Alice Gaisford is an experienced life and career coach. With a background in psychology from Oxford University, Alice specialises in empowering her clients through self-discovery, restoring balance, and building positive habits.

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