Why This Common Tactic to Discover Your Purpose Doesn’t Work.

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"It’s really hard to live a purposeful life if you never know what’s actually making you feel purposeful. Then it’s kind of just dumb luck when things work out. And life is way too short for us to hope to keep accidentally falling into success and happiness."

When most of us are considering what our life purpose is, we look at what’s made us feel purposeful.

Pretty obvious, right?

If we liked writing as a kid, there’s a clue. If we had fun traveling the world, there’s a clue. If we loved working in healthcare, maybe we want to stay in that field.

But there’s a major danger to this strategy.

While we’re obviously discovering our purpose through what feels purposeful—how the hell do we know what exactly made us feel purposeful there?

The word purpose literally means “the why.” It’s the reason or the meaning behind why we feel purposeful. And we make false assumptions based on what we’re doing all the time.

For example, let’s say you got really, really sick and started learning about nutrition to make yourself feel better. As you struggled to heal yourself, you learned a lot. And you started telling friends and family everything you were learning. You felt so lit up and purposeful.

So you think, “This is it. Finally, I’ve found my purpose. I get it. It’s all clicking. I’m meant to be a health coach.”

And you enroll in health coaching school, spending thousands of dollars and countless hours to become certified.

But when you graduate and start seeing clients one-on-one, maybe there’s a niggling feeling that this just doesn’t feel quite as good as it did when you were healing yourself and supporting friends and family. Maybe you start to grow disenchanted with the work.

And then comes the shame. You start to berate yourself over how you’re “all over the place.” How you’ll never figure it out. How it’s another thing that you were sure was it.

You might even begin to distrust your emotions and tell yourself that you just need to go and suck it up in a job you hate.

I’ve been in situations like this one more times than I can count. But here’s the thing—we were never wrong. Our emotions, our sensitivities, are the very tools that point us to our life purpose and unique genius.

The problem is we were assuming the wrong thing was making us feel purposeful. In Sacred Branding® terms, we were mistaking the essence for the container.

It’s really hard to live a purposeful life if you never know what’s actually making you feel purposeful. Then it’s kind of just dumb luck when things work out. And life is way too short for us to hope to keep accidentally falling into success and happiness.

We need a really clear system to know with absolute certainty exactly what is making us feel purposeful and exactly what will be the most successful decision for us every step of the way.

What job to choose, how to brand and position ourselves, how to market or sell, how to create more intimacy in our relationship, how to dress in a way that feels flattering, how to design a morning routine—all of it. We need a really clear and unmistakable plan that we can follow.

It’s a lot more concrete than just following what makes us feel purposeful.

Let’s say that we take that same example of becoming a health coach into Sacred Branding®. We discover that some of the themes running through your traumas, past experiences (including this one), desires, and unique gifts are Curious, Intimate, Supported, Spontaneous, Vulnerable, and Experimental.

All of your worst traumas made you feel the opposite of these words—times when you were bored or dispassionate, disconnected from people around you, unsupported, overly rigid and structured, closed-off, and trapped by the rules.

All of the times you’ve felt excited and alive, you felt these very words. In fact, we could boil every moment of your life—every single success—to these very words.

Well, when we look at you healing yourself, we can see these words running through. We know exactly why it felt so good to be learning about nutrition to heal yourself.

And, more than that, we even know why it felt so good to advise friends and family—you were Spontaneously Supporting those whom you are Intimate with and can be Vulnerable to, getting Curious and Experimenting with what will work for them.

It’s not the “what” of the health coach that did it for you. It’s the “why” behind the scenes.

And, take out the Spontaneity Intimacy, and Vulnerability with random clients, and maybe it’s not as much of a fit as it was when you were supporting friends and family.

It doesn’t mean your intuition was wrong. It just means we were assuming that the wrong thing was making you feel purposeful. Once we know the why, it becomes really easy.

There are a million different ways to feel Curious, Intimate, Supported, Spontaneous, Vulnerable, and Experimental—and not just at work.

Maybe you explore work as a psychologist or sociologist where you can study intimacy and vulnerability in relationships. Maybe you create “mystery date nights” in your relationship where you or your partner has to surprise the other each week with a Spontaneous, Intimate, Experiment outside of your comfort zone.

Dressing like yourself starts getting easier. Because you know what colors you start to associate with these words. What fit. What style.

All of the sudden everything starts making sense. You can look at old trauma and get it. You can understand why this job worked out but that one didn’t. You can let go of shame about why the “purposeful” thing stopped feeling purposeful.

Because you know the why—the real reason that something felt good to you. And it’s repeatable. It works every single time.

Once you have your own personalized formula for success and happiness, you just have to keep following the very clear blueprint. To me, that’s a lot stronger guideline for purpose than simply “following what’s felt purposeful.”

The truth is our emotions and sensitivities are powerful and strong. We’re much more intuitive than we know. But we often don’t realize what we’re reacting to. We make assumptions about what feels good and we run with it.

If one marketing plan worked in one context, we automatically (and unconsciously) make assumptions about what worked and try to replicate it. And then we get really frustrated when it’s not working.

Maybe we didn’t understand why it worked in the first place or what our secret magic was.

That’s ideally what life purpose should tell you. And it should be highly accurate, easy to follow, and repeatable.

When we know exactly what works for us and makes us successful, life becomes a lot easier. And all we have to do is discover the why behind every single moment of our lives. The common thread. The life purpose.


*If you want to discover your own essence and ‘Brand Energies,’ you’re welcome to explore our proprietary Sacred Branding® methodology.

Mike Iamele

Mike Iamele

I help people map their sensitivities and lived experiences to discover their purpose. We call it Sacred Branding®.

Learn how to map your own sensitivities:


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