What to Do If You Want More Purpose, Passion, and Meaning


“I
don’t
believe
people
are
looking
for
the
meaning
of
life
as
much
as
they
are
looking
for
the
experience
of
being
alive.”
~Joseph
Campbell

Do
you
ever
feel
like
there’s
got
to
be
more
to
life? More
purpose,
passion,
meaning—whatever
your
word
of
choice
is?

It’s
happened
to
me
twice.
The
first
time
was
during
the
early
years
of
my
legal
career,
and
the
second
time
was
just
a
few
years
ago
(after
battling
an
aggressive
breast
cancer).

Each
time
I
craved
more
meaning,
yet
these
two
experiences
couldn’t
have
been
more
different.

When
it
happened
to
me
as
a
young
lawyer,
I
didn’t
know
what
to
do.

I’d
wanted
to
be
a
lawyer
since
I
was
ten
years
old,
and
there
was
purpose
behind
the
choices
I’d
made
up
to
that
point.
Decisions
that
had
gotten
me
where
I
was,
such
as:

  1. Majoring
    in
    economics
    (with
    a
    business
    minor)
    in
    college
    because
    I
    wanted
    to
    be
    a
    business
    lawyer,
    and
  2. Choosing
    corporate
    finance
    law
    because
    my
    ability
    to
    quickly
    see
    patterns
    and
    solutions
    was
    beneficial
    to
    structuring
    deals.

In
the
early
days
of
my
career,
I
had
a
deep
sense
of
fulfillment.
But
over
a
period
of
four
years,
that
gradually
changed.

I
didn’t
realize
how
bad
it
was
until
the
morning
I
stepped
off
the
office
elevator
and
suddenly
felt
like
I
couldn’t
breathe.
I
was
having
a
panic
attack.

I
walked
to
my
office,
shut
the
door,
and
cried.
That’s
when
I
admitted
to
myself
that
I
felt
trapped
in
a
purpose-less
life
that
I’d
worked
hard
to
create.

And
that
brought
questions
such
as:
How
could
I
have
once
felt
passionate
about
this
life?
Had
I
been
wrong?
If
not,
what
had
changed?

After
allowing
my
self-doubt
to
paralyze
me
from
doing
anything
for
a
few
months,
I
finally
decided
to
do
something
about
it.

I
wrote
down
a
laundry
list
of
things
that
I
didn’t
like
about
my
life,
which
included:

  • Regularly
    working
    eighty+
    hours
    per
    week
    (for
    over
    a
    year)
  • Averaging
    only
    five
    hours
    of
    sleep
    per
    night
  • Feeling
    like
    I
    was
    easily
    replaceable
    and
    wasn’t
    making
    enough
    of
    an
    impact
    in
    the
    work
    I
    did
  • Not
    having
    spent
    meaningful
    time
    with
    friends
    in
    over
    a
    year
  • A
    wandering
    mind
    that
    was
    almost
    never
    present
  • Snapping
    at
    my
    husband
    (a
    lot!)
    for
    no
    real
    reason
    and
    being
    sour
    with
    peers
    who
    interrupted
    my
    work

My
list
of
woes
was
embarrassing,
and
I
didn’t
like
who
I
was
becoming.
But
it
provided
me
with
a
roadmap
for
how
to
fix
my
problems.
Moreover,
it
helped
me
recognize
what
purpose

really

is.

Up
until
that
point,
I’d
been
looking
externally
for
solutions
and
thought
that
I
needed
to
find
my
true
calling.

The
idea
that
purpose
comes
from
one
thing
is
a
myth.
And
so
is
the
idea
that
you
find
your
purpose.
You
don’t
find
it;
you
create
purpose
in
life
by:

  • using
    your
    strengths
    to
    make
    in
    impact
    (in
    an
    enjoyable
    way),
  • aligning
    your
    life
    around
    your
    core
    values,
    and
  • having
    a
    sense
    of
    belonging.

Let’s
talk
about
what
these
mean
and
how
I
course
corrected
in
each
area.

1.
Utilizing
your
strengths
to
make
an
impact
(in
a
way
that’s
enjoyable)

Most
people
understand
that
purpose
comes
(at
least
partially)
from
making
an
impact.
But
there’s
more
to
it
than
that.

If
you
want
to
make
an
impact
that’s
meaningful,
then
you
need
to
utilize
your
skills
to
the
best
of
your
ability
(and
that
requires
that
you
enjoy
what
you’re
doing).
That’s
how
you
get
and
stay
motivated.

My
problem
was
that
I
felt
like
my
strengths
weren’t
being
fully
utilized
in
the
work
I
was
doing—and
that
I
was
stuck
in
the
same
role,
stagnating.

So,
I
asked
to
do
more
and
sought
out
work
from
new
people.
Eventually,
I
changed
firms
to
work
in
a
different
area
of
corporate
finance
that
was
better
suited
to
my
abilities.

2.
Aligning
your
life
around
your
core
values

Core
values
are
principles
that
make
you
uniquely
you.
They
affect
how
you
see
the
world
around
you
and
how
you
make
decisions
(even
if
you’re
not
consciously
aware
of
it).

When
your
life
doesn’t
align
with
your
values,
you’ll
feel
like
something’s
missing.

One
of
the
biggest
reasons
I
was
so
unhappy
was
because
I
wasn’t
living
according
to
several
of
my
core
values.
One
of
my
values
is
family—not
only
was
I
not
spending
much
time
with
them,
but
I
wasn’t
exactly
present
when
I
did.

Another
one
of
my
values
is
to
connect
(which,
for
me,
means
connecting
deeply
with
those
around
me
and
to
stay
connected
with
myself).
My
quest
to
do
more
and
work
harder
make
that
almost
impossible.

I
felt
disconnected
from
family,
friends,
and
peers
alike.
And
my
lack
of
sleep
and
high
stress
made
it
difficult
to
understand
my
own
thoughts
and
emotions.

To
fix
this,
I
first
set
work
boundaries
and
reduced
my
workload. 
Then,
I
prioritized
self-care
and
time
with
family
and
friends.

3.
Feeling
that
you
belong

Having
a
sense
of
belonging
is
key
to
happiness.
It
brings
meaning
to
your
life.

Belonging
includes
feeling
needed,
accepted,
and
loved.
To
have
a
sense
of
belonging
requires
active
effort
on
your
part.
It
requires
that
you
seek
to
connect
with
other
people
that
give
you
a
sense
of
belonging.

Unfortunately,
the
way
in
which
we
live
often
disconnects
us
from
one
another.
We
choose
technology
over
in-person
contact
and
hurry
through
life
to
get
to
the
next
thing.

That’s
what
I
had
been
doing.
I
was
disconnected
from
those
who
had
always
understood
me,
and
even
worried
that
they
wouldn’t
understand
what
I
was
going
through.
But
how
could
they
when
I
rarely
saw
or
talked
to
them?

Luckily,
this
was
fixable—the
things
I
was
already
doing
to
better
connect
with
family
and
friends
helped
to
increase
my
sense
of
belonging.
Plus,
I
rejoined
organizations
that
I’d
previously
been
too
busy
for
(and
missed).

This
experience
gave
me
a
blueprint
to
follow
for
life.

One
that
helped
me
figure
out
why
I
craved
more
meaning
in
life
after
battling
breast
cancer
(turns
out
that
how
I
defined
one
of
my
core
values—service—had
changed).
But
the
second
time
was
different
because
I
was
confident
that
I
could
figure
it
out.

It’s
easy
to
get
caught
up
in
society’s
expectations
while
climbing
the
ladder
of
success
that’s
set
before
you.
Don’t
let
that
happen,
as
you’ll
likely
lose
yourself.

Instead,
use
the
blueprint
above
to
help
you
create
a
life
that’s
meaningful
to
you.

About

Heather
Moulder

Heather
Moulder
is
an
attorney
and
executive
coach
who
helps
successful,
yet
unfulfilled,
professionals
create
success
from
the
inside-out
for
a
fulfilling
career
that’s
balanced
with
a
real
life.

Connect
with
Heather
for
weekly
tips
and
resources
on
how
to
retrain
your
mind
for
resilience,
overcome
overwhelm
and
self-doubt,
and
confidently
create
a
more
fulfilling,
balanced
lifestyle
that’s
fun.

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