It’s been exactly five years since I jumped off the proverbial cliff, into the abyss of the unknown, and quit my successful, addictive and lucrative career.
I walked away from the status I’d built over the previous 10 years, around which I’d built my entire identity.
And I walked away from the money, oh, the sweet money, the kind I could actually count on to show up predictably in my bank account every two weeks. The kind of money that gave me complete and total freedom to do or buy whatever the hell I wanted. The kind of money that allowed me to never worry about money, even for a second.
I loved music and I was working as a record label executive. I was surrounded by fame and talent. I could get on almost any guest list with one quick email. I thought I had my dream job. I thought I was living my life purpose.
But then I started to see the signs.
Do everything I could to avoid going to shows, staying out late, and hanging around in venues that reeked of stale beer. Come up with every excuse I could dream up in order to work from home and avoid spending time in the office. Delegate every creative task to members of my team, because I didn’t have an ounce of inventiveness left in me.
My energy was flowing faster than a river during a downpour, but it was heading in a completely different direction than the one my career was going in.
I had no idea what I was going to do next, but I knew I had to stop what I was doing. So I quit, and then I began to search for my true purpose and path. But the quest wasn’t pretty. I tried a number of strategies including:
Throwing money at the problem-–spending tens of thousands of dollars on personal development programs and coaching that I was positive held the answers (they didn’t).
Running away from the problem—otherwise known as spending time chasing enlightenment, over focusing on romantic intrigues and moving houses about a dozen times
Freaking out about the problem—which is mostly self explanatory
Eventually, my fumbling-around-in-the-dark efforts paid off, and I stumbled across my life purpose haphazardly and synchronistically.
Long story short, I discovered Vedic Astrology and my desire to understand and practice it has consumed me ever since.
As destiny would have it, many of my astrology clients have come to me amid their search for life purpose, meaning, fulfillment and joy, and fortunately, I was able to reverse engineer my process of finding mine in a way that can be replicated.
To hopefully save you a bunch of time and energy, here are the seven myths that stop us from living our life purpose and what to believe instead.
1. We can’t get paid to do what we love.
Other versions of this myth: what you’re passionate about isn’t important or worth anything. You need to a have a “real” job. Work is not meant to be fun.
This myth got busted for me after my first day at Burning Man many years back, when every other person I met was doing something wonderfully wacky and weird for a living, like creating world peace or selling products that promoted optimism.
You can name pretty much any activity and there is someone who will pay you to do it. Love to eat ice cream? Open an ice cream food cart. Start a blog where you review new ice cream flavors. Throw parties where people get to eat exotic ice creams.
Like to play video games all day? Become an affiliate advertiser for your favorite game. Be a video game tester or programmer. Get on Fiverr and offer to help people who are stuck on a particular level.
If you are providing something people want and are willing to pay for, and you love it, you’ll make money doing it. I’m not saying you can do it overnight, but it’s possible.
New Belief: You can get paid to do what you love if you’re willing to commit to it.
2. We have to get paid to do what we love.
It took me a while to figure out how to get paid to do what I love, and during the time when I wasn’t, I realized that I could still be living my purpose all the time (and so can you).
You can have a day job and still live your purpose and give your gifts.
For example, if your purpose is to help people have fulfilling romantic relationships, but you work at a restaurant, there are still going to be opportunities for you to help people all day long, at work or outside of it.
No matter what your line of work is, there is someone around you who needs your help. You can help them, whether or not you’re being paid for it.
If you’re being who you want to be in the world, you’re living your purpose. If you like your job, but it’s not a complete expression of your purpose, you don’t have to quit in order to be fulfilled.
New Belief: Your purpose does not have to be your primary source of income.
3. We can live our purpose once we’ve saved enough money, once the kids move out or after we retire.
There were a million reasons why I couldn’t live my purpose, but the thing that got me to kick my own butt and get on my path was contemplating death.
We never know for sure if we’re going to wake up tomorrow. Life is short and unpredictable. In your last dying moments do you think you’re going to regret pursuing a life you actually enjoy? No. You’re going to regret waiting.
If it’s really your purpose, and the work you’re meant to do in this world, there’s no need to delay: Start by taking a tiny step every day.
You’ll be amazed by how far you get.
New Belief: You can live your purpose starting right now.
4. We can take a personality or strengths finder test to find our life’s purpose
Oh man, did I take a lot of these. I’m an INFJ! No, wait, I’m every number on the Enneagram! I’m a Creator-Star-Wizard-Magician-Supporter-Manifestor-Rainbow-Unicorn. This career quiz says that I’m destined to be a bus driver, an actor, or a priest. Hmmm.
These tests can give you some valuable perspective on what you’re good at but they won’t tell you your purpose.
What they will do is distract you from the real task of connecting more deeply with what you love most.
New Belief: Connect more deeply with what you love most to find your life purpose.
5. Finding your life purpose is hard because there are too many options.
One of my former favorite reasons to get totally paralyzed from moving forward is that I couldn’t decide which way to go, even when the answer seemed apparent and obvious to everyone around me.
It may seem like there are infinite options of potentially fulfilling career choices for you, but in reality, there are only a few that you’d ever actually consider.
Try ruling some out. Ask yourself, “would I really want to do this every day?” and if the answer is “no,” stop considering it.
Hint: Your life purpose is that thing you can’t stop yourself from doing anyway.
New Belief: Finding your life purpose is very simple.
6. The first step to finding our purpose is to look for our purpose.
Wondering if you should find your purpose, create a career out of it, struggle at it for a while, and eventually figure out how to make it work so you can do what you love all day long?
I’ve tried that and I really don’t recommend it.
Try flipping that around. Figure out what you love to do all day long and then work backwards from there to figure out your career and purpose.
You will find your purpose by worrying less and doing more of what you love, which is probably your purpose anyway.
Make a list of all the things you truly love doing that you’re not doing very often (or at all). Schedule them into your calendar so that you’re doing at least three per week from now on. Watch the magic unfold.
New Belief: You will find your purpose by doing the things that you love.
7. We may not already know our life purpose.
I was in denial about this for a long time and desperately tried to find the answers outside of myself. The only answers I ever got were that the answers were inside of myself.
Deep down in your heart, you do know your purpose, but you either haven’t discovered a certain piece of it yet that would allow you to make the next move forward on your path, or it scares the living daylights out of you.
It’s perfectly fine to be in either situation, but you’ll have more power if you recognize which one you’re in instead of feeling sad that you don’t know your purpose.
New Belief: You already know your life purpose.
And there you have it: seven new beliefs to help you on your way to living your life purpose in every moment.
But whatever you do, don’t mistake finding your life purpose for a destination.
Because, you know, it’s been exactly five years since I jumped off the proverbial cliff, and I’m just now starting to love falling.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Editor: Catherine Monkman
Photo: Author’s Own