Do you ever feel like you’ve lost yourself?
Like you don’t know what your purpose in life is anymore?
Or maybe you don’t know who you are, in any sense of the word?
If so, don’t worry. You’re not alone.
Many people go through this same thing at some point in their lives (I certainly have, more than once, to be honest). The good news is that there are things you can do to find yourself again and reconnect with your purpose. In this post, we’ll discuss some tips on finding yourself and getting your life back on track.
The first step in finding yourself again is to take some time for self-reflection.
There are many ways to self-reflect. Some people like to go for walks in nature (or, in my case, take solo camping trips!) Others might sit in silence and meditate, journal regularly, or make art simply for the sake of self-expression. It’s essential to find what works best for you and to make time for it in your busy life.
Self-reflection is a crucial ingredient to finding happiness and living your purpose. When we reflect on our lives, we can identify what’s important to us and what makes us happy. We can also figure out our purpose in life and how we can best contribute to the world (which, in turn, makes us feel even more aligned). Taking time for self-reflection is essential if you want to live a meaningful and fulfilling life.
So, how do you take time for self-reflection?
Here are a few tips to get you started:
- Identify what makes you happy and why. What are the activities, people, and things that bring you joy? Why do they make you happy? What is it that you enjoy about them? And how can you prioritize them even more?
- Be honest with yourself. Are you living a life that’s true to who you really are, or are you living someone else’s version of what they think is best for you? This can be jarring when we realize we’re living the life we thought we should be living, not the life we’re actually here to live. Give yourself grace; many people get lost and off-track because of other people’s (or society’s) expectations. I promise you can take whatever skills and experience you have to date, no matter how “off-base” it feels, and apply it to living your purpose. Life has just been shaping you in a completely unexpected way. It’s not for nothing.
- Make time for yourself. This might be difficult at first, but it’s important to find time to do something that brings you joy each day. Maybe this means waking up earlier so you can have some peace and quiet, going for a walk after dinner, or taking a yoga class once a week. It’s also essential to be in silence, whether that’s meditation, prayer, or simply sitting and just being. This is harder for people who are used to staying on the go and keeping busy, but it’s even more critical in those cases. Being with ourselves is the fastest way to figure out who you are and what you want. It’s uncomfortable, but that feeling will start to dissipate with more intentional practice, and soon you’ll be craving your alone time when it’s missing!
- Sit down and ask yourself some tough questions about who you are, what you want out of life, and what makes you happy. This can be a complex process, but it’s important to be honest with yourself. In doing so, you might reveal that your job, relationships, lifestyle, or friend groups aren’t aligned. This is terrifying at first, I know. Just remember that knowing gives you freedom, and you don’t have to take any actions you’re not ready for.
The benefits of self-reflection are countless, so make time for yourself today and see what happens. You might be surprised at how much more like yourself you feel.
Once you better understand who you are and what you want, set some goals and start working towards them.
It’s essential to have a sense of direction in life, and setting goals will give you that direction. Even if you’re not 100% sure who you are and what you want to be doing, take the time to set some small, intentional goals around anything that lights you up. It can be as simple as reading every evening or as big as training for a marathon because you’ve always thought that would be cool to do. It can be as simple as going for a walk every day at lunch or as big as tossing your entire wardrobe and buying only new pieces that you feel fabulous in.
If it brings you even an inkling of joy, make it important.
When you set personal goals and work towards them, you grow as a person. You learn new things, become more confident, and develop a better sense of who you are in the process. Here are some tips on how to set personal growth goals that will bring you home to yourself when you’re feeling lost:
- Start by thinking about what you want to achieve. What are your goals for the year, month, or week? What’s exciting to you or sounds fun? What’s something on your bucket list that you haven’t made important because you think you should be putting your time in other places? What whims are tugging at you? Choose something, anything, and set that as your goal.
- Be specific about what you want to accomplish with this goal. Don’t just say, “I want to be more confident.” Instead, try “I want to join a club and meet five new people.” Don’t just say, “I’m going to replace my whole wardrobe.” Try saying, “I will choose three exciting events to attend this month and put together three new outfits to wear to them.” Choose the marathon to run, sign up for a painting class with a set schedule, or enlist your friends to help you check something off on a specific date. Specificity is key.
- Make sure your goals are challenging but achievable. If they’re too easy, you won’t feel motivated to achieve them. If they’re too difficult, you’ll get discouraged and give up. The sweet spot is what I call “Goals that Propel You Forward.” They’re big, exciting goals (the excitement part being key!) that ensure we do all the less-fun parts of the process. Meaning, if I’m super excited about running a marathon in the fall, it will pull me through the less-fun moments of meal planning, cross-training, hydrating, foam rolling, etc. And the achievable piece is also crucial. Choose a realistic date and scope for your goal, and consider what’s within reach from where you are while making sure it also stretches you a bit. It’s a balance!
- Set a deadline. This will help keep you accountable and ensure that you stay on track. When we’re wishy-washy with our goals, we’re less likely to make them happen. And if we’re not moving forward on things that feel exciting and important to us, it will take longer to reconnect to ourselves and begin living a life aligned with our purpose. I know these goals may not be The Thing That Leads You to Your Purpose, but they’re stepping stones in the right direction. Whims, dabbling in our delights, and following our joy are some of the fastest ways to uncover what our true calling is in this life.
- Reverse engineer your goals and break them down into smaller steps. This will make them easier to accomplish and give you a sense of progress as you work towards them. Break them down until you have things you can do RIGHT NOW. If it’s not that small, you’ll find more excuses not to start.
- Write down your goals and keep them in a visible place. This will help you stay motivated and remind you of what you’re working for. Enlist other people for accountability and support! Having a coach, accountability buddy, or group makes a world of difference in keeping our sights where we want them.
If you need support, I developed a whole process around using a specific type of goal-setting to uncover and start living our purpose. I’ve packaged it into an affordable workbook that you can have in your hands in a matter of days!
Lastly, trust your timing and your process.
I know it feels like there’s urgency in finding your way back to yourself and beginning to live your life on purpose, but I promise there’s time.
Some people find their purpose early in life.
Some people find their purpose way down the line.
Some people find their purpose and still get lost!
There’s no right timing for living our purpose, and there’s no wasted time. There are simply seasons of our life where we’re not in alignment, but those seasons still shape us into who we’re here to be. And when we’re ready to do the work to come home to ourselves and start showing up fully aligned and expressed, all that time we were wandering in the “wrong” direction will be fruitful beyond belief.
When I’ve “come home” after being lost, I’m always reminded of this truth.
All those years I went down the “wrong” path of becoming a designer and working for design firms wasn’t for nothing. Even not looking at the fact that I still offer design services and use my skills to brand and grow my own business, my experience with brand strategy makes me an infinitely better coach.
All those years I was lost and off-track because of grief, trauma, and what it took to heal wasn’t for nothing. While my business failed, my life fell apart, and it looked like I was so far off course I might never find my way back, I learned so much about what it takes to heal and find wholeness, how life is constantly shaping us, and what it takes to make impossible things happen. Things that have proven to be tremendously valuable to my clients and set me apart from other coaches.
Trust your timing and your process.
All things in nature come to bear fruit in their right time.
Certain plants bloom every season.
Certain plants produce once and need to be replaced with brand new seeds.
Certain plants take several years to craft the smallest of fruits.
Humans are no different.
Getting lost is inevitable on these journeys, and we all navigate various detours at different points in our lives. It’s not fun and can be downright depressing, but it’s not for nothing. It’s not wasted time as long as you consciously choose to come home to yourself, uncover your purpose, and live it full out going forward.
Be sure to grab your Foundations for Unshakable Joy™ workbook!