“Find purpose. The means will follow.” Mahatma Gandhi.
Growing up in Russia, I asked two questions to anyone I’d meet: “Do you truly love what you’re doing? Why do you do what you do?”
As people answered, I always hoped to see a big smile on their face and to hear an inspiring personal story.
Unfortunately, most adults I knew, regardless of their successes, couldn’t explain why they chose their profession without talking about the need to earn for a living, prestige, or pleasing their parents.
Most people I spoke with didn’t enjoy their jobs, didn’t feel passionate, and didn’t associate it with their purpose in life. Now they had kids, debt, and other obligations and significant professional changes seemed nearly impossible.
This was very upsetting for me when I was young. Hearing these stories over the years convinced me to decide to change this sad reality. I couldn’t accept that so many people were unhappy, but even worse, that they gave up and stopped fighting for their dreams or searching for a deeper meaning in life than prestige or money.
I decided to study psychology and business so that one day I could help people align with their purpose and maximize their potential.
It took me around 9 years to be able to focus on my dream and life-long passion full- time. Yet knowing my purpose and having a clear vision brought me to where I am today.
I moved to the United States as a student-athlete, competed for the University of Wisconsin-Madison tennis team, graduated from our Business School, worked for the tech giant Intuit in Silicon Valley, and then for Deloitte Consulting serving Fortune 500 clients.
I wanted to build business acumen and skills as well as save some money before making a big jump. I worked for 60-80+ hours every week, got promoted, got staffed on some of the biggest projects… Unfortunately, I nearly burned out and started to feel like I lost myself. I could no longer see why we did the work we did.
It took me several months to notice, but over time I became just like the people I interviewed who were staying at their jobs feeling unhappy, yet not taking action. I despised myself until eventually I hit my lowest point one summer day and could no longer stay where I was. I needed to reconnect with my true self. I needed to feel passionate and aligned again.
My transition plan came to life. I got trained and certified as a professional coach, hired a business coach to feel more confident, acquired a few clients, and left the corporate world for good.
Now I pursue my calling in life as a Career Clarity, Life Purpose & Business Growth Coach, and feel the happiest I’ve ever been.
Why is living with a purpose so important, after all?
Apparently, so many people have been interested in this topic that over 750 research articles citing “Purpose in Life” have been published since 1980.
According to Dr. Strecher, a behavioral scientist at the University of Michigan and author of “Life on Purpose,” some key findings suggest that living with a purpose in life leads to better health and overall happiness.
These findings suggest that a purpose in life increases lifespan, resilience, DNA repair, antibody production, sleep and diet improvement, and income. Living with purpose also decreases the likelihood of depression, job burnout, cognitive conflict, fear response, stroke, heart attack, and Alzheimer’s Disease.
Living with purpose gives us a stronger sense of fulfillment, meaning, and inspiration in life. It also means stronger perseverance and lower chances of giving up during the toughest times.
To give my own example, my life would be drastically different if I didn’t listen to my inner voice. Purpose is what drives me on my good days and my bad days.
How can you clarify your own purpose?
Of course, there are many ways for clarifying your purpose. I’m going to share the results of my own research, observation, and life experience accumulated over a decade.
First of all, it’s important to remember that purpose is something that already lives within you. It’s not something you search for on the outside. Purpose is something that you align with, and for that, you need to inquire within.
To help you get started, I prepared a list of a few powerful questions that will help you come closer to understanding your own purpose in life. I ask these questions of all my clients, too.
Warning! Writing down your answers to the next 6 questions can quite literally change your life so please find a quiet place and give yourself some time to reflect. If you don’t have the answer that you wish you had right away – write down the first thoughts that come to mind (without trying to judge or rationalize them!) and only then move on to the next question. The truth lies on the tip of your tongue. Trust your intuition.
When you’re ready, here’s the list:
- 1. What activities fuel you with energy and easily bring you to a state of flow?
- 2. What is your zone of genius, unique gift, or superpower? (Could be more than one but try to come down to the very, very key quality/qualities of yours to distill your essence).
- 3. What are your core values or non-negotiables?
- 4. What or who inspires you the most? Why?
- 5. If you were to imagine the most perfect world, what must be true in it? (There are absolutely no boundaries to your answer!) What role do you wish you could play in that world?
- 6. Imagine that you’ve lived the most meaningful and happy life. Years went by and the cycle of life ended but you had a chance to attend your own funeral. What do you wish was said about you? What would be written on your gravestone?
It may happen that some answers came to you easier than others. That’s okay! Remember that self-discovery is a journey and it’s essential that you will be learning more about yourself the more you experience.
This exercise is just one of the steps towards understanding who you are and your path towards maximizing your potential. If you would like to learn how you can bring it to the next level and get a deeper understanding of some of the concepts above, I invite you to watch my free, hour-long masterclass, 6 Keys to Finding Your Life’s Work. When a Successful Career & Security Are Simply Not Enough: https://webinar.findyourlifeswork.org/register-now36038511
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- Find Your Life’s Work: http://findyourlifeswork.org/
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Anastasia Tripolskaya is a Career Clarity, Life Purpose & Business Growth Coach. She is the creator of a self-discovery coaching program called Find Your Life’s Work and the CEO of Tripolskaya LLC.
Anastasia specializes in helping high-achievers and early-stage entrepreneurs to align with their purpose, find their life’s work, become authentic and impactful leaders who do what they truly love, as well as launch & grow purpose-driven businesses.
To pursue her life-long passion for coaching and a dream of running a business that transforms people’s lives, Anastasia left a successful Fortune 500 Marketing, Strategy & Digital Transformation Consulting career at Deloitte Digital. Four years before that, she also ended her 16-year-long competitive tennis career which brought her to play for the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Anastasia is a trained and certified Solution-Focused Coach with Erickson Coaching International, accredited by the International Coach Federation.