The Three Big Obstacles to Finding Purpose

I often ask people what obstacles and challenges they face as they work toward meaning in their lives. Though the answers come in many shapes and sizes, they boil down to three issues:

1) Knowing What to Do Next. People often feel overwhelmed by options and possibilities and feel a lack of clarity as to what to do when they have time to do something. Overwhelm is major issue in this search, and trying to decide what you should do next is a major contributor to that feeling of overwhelm.

2) Accountability. People often feel alone in the process. Some of us are asking different questions about life, work, and ourselves than anyone else we know— which can feel very isolating. We hear ourselves say things like, “If only I had a group of like minded people who understood what I am looking for and were trying to do something similar themselves.”

3) Time. People often feel like they don’t have the time to pursue meaning because they have too many other responsibilities. Work, family, friends, etc. can take up our time and energy to leave us worn and depleted.

I’ve worked hard to solve these problems for you in the Calling Course. I’d like to show you the solutions I’ve come up with so that you can try some of them yourself.

Here’s what I’ve done. Feel free to take and use for your own process.

How to Know What to Do Next

Of the three obstacles, this was the simplest for me to solve. Why? Because I already have built a proven process in the Meaning Sessions for helping people find meaning and build a life around it, all I had to do was convert it to a process that could be done in a course setting.

How you can use this:
If you’re piecing together a process for yourself, I’d encourage you to write out your plan and make it clear. Creating a plan that you can use will make the most of your time (take note: that’s one of the other challenges), and save you willpower for the actual work (if you don’t know what I mean by that, read up on willpower. It’s important!) This way when you have an hour on Tuesday night or Saturday morning, you’ll know what to do.

How to Get Accountability in Your Process

The accountability problem is tricky, because it requires relationships. You need people to be involved in your process and in your work in order to have people who are willing to call you to be more and do more when you need it. Sometimes we need good kick in the pants and other times we need a good shoulder to lean on. We can’t get that kind of accountability and support without having people involved.

In my one-on-one sessions, I provide that support for people. The Bold and Brave was created specifically for that purpose. In the Calling Course, I build in two major ways for you to find that support:

1) There’s a secret facebook group only for Course members. This is a safe place to connect, ask questions, and generally support and encourage each other.

2) In the course there are specific ways that you get to bring others into your work to process your journey and progress.

How you can use this:
If you feel the need for more support in your process, it’s time for you to have some heart-to-heart conversations with people in your community. Start talking to people about where you are and what you’re looking for. Ask them to check in on your regularly.

One Meaning Movement reader has started a weekly gathering at his house for anyone in his community to come and work on projects together. Projects can be anything— a creative project, a business project, or simply strategizing for your career.

Finally, if you don’t know anyone who can be a part of your process in these ways, find a Meetup or start one. One caveat to this solution is that you likely do know someone who can be a part of this process, but you just might have other feelings about asking for their participation that are keeping you blocked.

How to Find Time For Your Process

This one is the trickiest obstacles to overcome because time is static— we all have 24 hours in a day, and many of us have a lot that we have to pack into those hours.

Here’s the trick with problems related to time— it’s usually not that you don’t have the time, it’s that you may not be using your time in the best way.

We often imagine the process of finding vocation and calling needing isolated and dedicated time. We often imagine that we would make great strides if we could just take a 3-week retreat with no responsibilities and just focus on where we are and where we want to go.

Here’s the thing: I’ve never heard of that working for anyone. I’ve heard of people trying. I’ve heard of people setting aside weeks or even months. But I usually hear about people coming back to regular life from these experiences having found them to be different than they expected.

You don’t need more time or large chunks of time. You need prioritization. Finding a sense of purpose and calling is best done in small chunks over a long period of time— not the other way around.

How do you prioritize and make space for those small chunks? You need a plan, so you know what to when you have a few spare minutes. And you need accountability, so you have reason to do the hard work.

It takes hard work and it takes dedication, because it’s a lot easier to sit on the couch and let the next episode of Master of None play than it is to do this work.

The Calling Course comes with a step-by-step Purpose Planner, which keeps all of your work in one place.

This allows you to open it up at a moment’s notice and get right to work. I also built in the accountability to help you continue on. When you feel stuck, there’s a community of people to help you get going again.

How you can use this:
Creating a plan and getting accountability will take you far. Once you’ve done that, work to schedule small chunks of time to take action on your plan.

Also, your priorities go where your values go. Consider investing in yourself. You’ll find that when you spend money on the tools, experiences, coaching, resources, etc. that you need, you’ll (almost miraculously) have more time for them.

So what’s next for you? Are there other obstacles that you face? What are the biggest challenges that you’re up against?

PS- If you’d like to know more about the Calling Course, you can get started with a free mini-course called 5 Clues to Your Calling. Get it here.

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