Every life has a purpose, and in fact many purposes. Every day each of us is motivated to do many kinds of things. But this is different than a life which is guided by a single purpose. Accumulating many different actions during the day isn’t the same as knowing and achieving your vision. When a personal vision is found, the means to achieve it follow naturally. A clear strong vision ignites your life purpose.
There is inner motivation and outer reward. This match between inner and outer is key when it comes to finding your life purpose. Before any purpose can be activated, a personal vision comes first. The stronger your vision the more inspired you will be, and inspiration is always the strongest motivator.
How do you find your own personal vision, one that will sustain you for your entire life? For most people this question is too large and general. A vision can be personal and fulfilling without being grand or lasting a lifetime. The test that any vision must meet is the inner test. Imagine yourself pursuing your heart’s desire. Feel what it would be like inside to do this. Put as many details into this mental picture as you can. Having done this exercise, how motivated are you to take the next step? Visions expand with achievement, and to bring your vision to life requires feedback in the real world.
Many people are discouraged from pursuing their vision because they look too far ahead. This is pure imagination. A world chess champion was once asked how many moves ahead he can see. He replied, “Only one, but it’s the right one.” This standard is useful for most people. See only one move ahead, but make it the right move. Give yourself room to change tactics and make mistakes, but don’t settle for a move that doesn’t feel right. A vision isn’t about achieving a goal. It’s about expansion, evolution and inner fulfillment. You can’t reach fulfillment if each step is discouraging, difficult or a struggle. Here I’m referring to inner struggle. When you are following your own light, external difficulties become a rewarding part of the challenge. Keep in mind that every step should be a step you want to take, not a step you feel you must take.
Now let’s discuss the practicalities. These begin with your present situation. Are you partially fulfilling your life’s purpose already, or do you find yourself far from that? For most people the transition from where they are to where they want to be is a challenge. If you are fortunate enough to find yourself moving in the right direction already, then taking the next step is much easier. You can ask for advice and counsel from someone who is a step ahead of you and is going where you want to go. In a hospital for example, an orderly can speak to a nurse for advice, a nurse to an intern, an intern to a specialist, and on up the line. Looking for a mentor or guide has become a useful, practical path forward.
The more difficult challenge is to change directions completely. Let’s say that this is your situation. Two problems usually exist. “The first is a matter of security, leaving behind the safety and familiarity of your situation, even when it feels compromised. The second problem is uncertainty, wondering whether you are making the right decision to change direction. Both of these factors involve risk, and risk creates stress and anxiety. This gives us the best clue how to move forward. Make a plan that minimizes risk and stress. For example, let’s assume you want to change jobs. To do this, most people need money, emotional support, training, and experience. If you had to handle all of these at the same time, the result would be stressful and highly risky. But that’s not necessary. You can test the waters for each of these things. Training can begin with part-time courses or night school. Experience can begin with apprenticeship or becoming a volunteer. Emotional support can begin by consulting friends and family until you find someone who supports your dream. The same is true for financial support. You will know you have found a path to your life’s purpose when each step supports and encourages your inner intention. In the Indian tradition, this is known asdharma, the ability of consciousness to know, activate and support the right action. Now you have the practical way to achieve your dharma—living your life purpose in the present moment.