Struggling to Find Your Career Purpose? It’s Easier than You Might Think!

Struggling to Find Your Career Purpose? It’s Easier than You Might Think!

When I was attending UBC in my 20s I was envious of my friends who knew what they wanted to do with their career. They seemed to have found their purpose. Some of them were going into Commerce aspiring to become accountants. Others were working hard to get into law school.

For myself, all I really knew was that I was good at math and tennis, I liked helping people and I wanted a career in the business world. I tried courses in pre-commerce, physical education and psychology. I found these classes interesting but I still felt confused and frustrated that I did not see a clear path for my career.

Since those early years, I have had the opportunity to help hundreds of clients navigate their career journeys and find their purpose. In doing so, I have discovered these seven simple truths about finding our purpose.

Truth #1: Everyone has a Unique Potential and Purpose

If you think you do not have a purpose, I am here to tell you this couldn’t be further from the truth! You have a unique combination of personality traits, gifts, passions, talents, interests, strengths and skills. This is your special edge. It has only been given to YOU so you can make your mark on the world!

Truth #2: Discovering Your Purpose is Easier Than You Think

You already know many of your preferences. For instance, you know what you do and don’t enjoy. You know what activities light you up and which ones shut you down. You have a good sense of what activities come naturally to you and the ones you need to work hard at. And even if you don’t think you know these things, once you start paying attention, your preferences will emerge quickly and easily.

Truth #3: To Find Your Purpose Look Inside Yourself First

Before you look outside of yourself to see what is on offer through job descriptions, job boards, vacancies, etc., get clear on who you are and what you offer. This way you can avoid becoming a round peg in a square hole! Once you have done the inner exploration, it’s fine and often helpful to expand your awareness of the options available in the external world.

Truth #4: Pay Attention to Your Thoughts and Images About Your Purpose

Your thoughts and images are the language of your brain. The recurring ones – the whispers and visions that you have about your purpose - are clues to your purpose. They are your purpose trying to re-connect with you. So take them seriously! For years I thought to myself, “I wish I could be a trainer.” I had visions where I would see myself leading a workshop. Of course, my inner critic would cloud those thoughts and counter with “But you are too shy!”. Eventually I allowed my purpose thoughts to guide my actions. I overcame my fear of public speaking and became a trainer!

Truth #5: Rather than trying to Find Your Purpose, notice what has you Feel on Purpose

Your feelings are the language of your body. They are your internal GPS. When you feel on purpose, you have found another clue to your purpose! If you love teaching people, you feel on purpose when you teach. If you love helping animals, you feel on purpose when you help animals. This feeling of love is your purpose speaking to you! When you love what you do and you do what you love you are on purpose because you feel on purpose. You feel joy. You feel alive.

As Howard Thurman writes, “Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” 

Truth #6: Get Clear on What You Care Deeply About

When you know what you care deeply about you will discover more clues to your purpose. What you care about will fall into one (or more) of the following categories: people, animals or the planet. They all have needs. Which one(s) do you care deeply about? How so, specifically?

Truth #7: You Will Have Multiple Ways of Feeling on Purpose in your Life

Finding your purpose comes from following your heart down a number of different paths. It requires inner excavation combined with outer exploration. Sometimes you won’t know what makes you feel on purpose until you discover what doesn’t.

And the great news, as Jack Canfield, Author of The Success Principles says, “When you truly are on purpose, the people, resources, and opportunities you need naturally gravitate toward you. The world benefits, too, because when you act in alignment with your true life purpose, all of your actions automatically serves others.”

I hope these seven simple truths will help you in your search for feeling on purpose in 2020 and beyond!

Sandy Russell, BA'88, CPHR, CPCC, PCC, CNTC, is a workshop leader, facilitator, speaker and coach (executive, leadership, neuroscience & career). Since 1995 she has been helping leaders, teams and organizations leverage their potential and create cultures where people are evolved, empowered, effective and engaged. In 2009, she received the ICF B.C. PRISM Award (Honorable Mention) which celebrates excellence and business achievement through professional coaching as a leadership strategy.

Sandy is a Chartered Professional in Human Resources (CPHR) and a licensed Neuroscience & Effectiveness Trainer who holds three coaching designations: ICF Professional Certified Coach (PCC), Certified NeuroTransformation Coach (CNTC) and Certified Professional Co-Active Coach (CPCC). Her education includes a BA (Psych) from UBC and graduate studies in the MBA program at Queen’s. She is also a graduate of Co-Active Space Leadership and an iEQ9 Integrative Enneagram Practitioner. As a Certified Sacred Gifts Guide, Sandy enjoys supporting others in their quest for meaningful work and inspired living. She currently feels very on purpose in her career and in her volunteer role as a Dog Welfare Therapist at the BC SPCA! To join Sandy’s mailing list and learn more about how she can help you, please visit