Tired of Chasing Your Purpose? What if We Flip the Script?

Though I hate to admit it, I spent years wondering what my purpose could be and having no idea how to find it. As I moved through my career, with each position I even tried to convince myself that I was on purpose, not wanting to face the possibility that I might be wrong. In truth, I had but a vague understanding of what the term “life purpose” meant. Furthermore, I had no clue what to look for or where to find ‘it.’

In truth, I had but a vague understanding of what the term “life purpose” meant. I had no clue what to look for or where to find it.

It’s hard to think about the time wasted.

And what if it was unnecessary? What if finding a purpose is not the answer?

Shifting our focus away from a purpose-seeking mindset can be difficult. A quick Google search on “how to find my purpose” will pull up an endless list of articles and how-to tips. The number of books available on the subject could fill a swimming pool with more published every day.

And yet…

…so many of us continue to struggle with the concept.


The Truth About Finding Your Purpose

  1. It’s Hard

The idea of picking that one thing that will become your purpose is overwhelming and can set you up for living in a cycle of failure.

My friend, Keith, recently confided in me that his son, a freshman in high school, was feeling enormous pressure to pick a “path to graduation”, leading up to his course work for college. Career counselors and all, he just wasn’t feeling it.

We often put the same pressure on ourselves, assuming this next job or position will be the thing that gives meaning to our lives.

  1. It’s Frustrating

Pursuing a career path in the search of the thing that would give my life meaning was oftentimes frustrating. I could never be 100% sure that my current job was indeed my purpose. What if, in staying at my current job, I ended up missing out on my purpose altogether?

  1. Others Seem to Find Their Purpose So Easily

My friend Brooke has known since she was twelve years old that she wanted to be a teacher. As soon as she graduated high school she went to college, earned her teaching degree and, at the age of 22, had her own classroom. She has been a teacher ever since, loves every minute of it, and knows without a doubt she is on purpose.

Why does it seem so ridiculously easy for the Brooke’s and the Serena Williams’ of the world? Sometimes the ease with which others seem to find their purpose makes us question our ability to find our own.

What if We Flip the Script?

Hear me out—what if we ditched the idea of purpose altogether? What if we start seeing for what it really is…

A mirage.

What if we let go of the value we’ve placed on finding purpose and, instead focus our efforts on setting intentions, big or small, but definite?

Intentions soar where purpose fails because they put you in control. You are the captain of your own ship, in control from the very start. After all, intentions start within you rather than being something you stumble upon (sometimes, if you’re lucky).

This is why I believe setting intentions is so much more powerful than spending your life on a never-ending Easter-egg hunt to find an obscure purpose.

5 Ways to Set and Follow Intentions

Setting intentions allows you to focus on who you are right now, to recognize your values, the kind of life you envision for yourself, and the things that are important to you. Intentions help redirect your focus—how do you want to live the life that’s ahead of you, and especially your life today? What will you give your attention to this day?

You’ve read this far, so I believe you are ready to go exclusive via the intentions pathway. With that, here are a few tips to help you along the way.

  1. Frame Intentions Positively

Remember, how you speak to yourself matters. When setting intentions, frame them in a positive way. “Today, I will embrace calm” is much better than, “I will not allow myself to get flustered.”

  1. Intentions Should Be Fluid

The intention you adopt today is not set in stone. Give yourself permission to change your intentions if need be. If your intention for the first part of the week is to find peace in your day, by the end of the week you may need to shift to something like “I will take time to rest in the peace I have discovered”.

  1. Begin Your Day Meditating on Your Intentions

Taking time to sit quietly in stillness, with eyes closed and while taking deep breaths, can help set your intentions. Don’t just speak them (though you should certainly do that)—with each breath, practice visualizing some form of your intention…whatever that means to you. You’ll need to revisit your intentions throughout your day but setting time aside to meditate over them in the morning is a wonderful way to set the tone for your day.

  1. Embrace a Spirit of Gratitude

Be grateful for the opportunity to go through this process, to get to know yourself better, and for the progress you will make.

The more you practice, the easier it will get to set intentions and recognize forward motion, as you check off each accomplishment.

  1. Be Patient

Rome wasn’t built in a day and losing years of reliance on the idea of a purpose can’t be unlearned in one either.

Give yourself time to learn the art of setting intentions and gift yourself grace and forgiveness if you happen to fall short.

I hope this inspires you to put down the boulder of a purpose-driven life. There! I said it. Instead, take up the practice of mindful intention setting. I think you will find your heart lighter, your spirit more peaceful, and your vision for the future more hope-filled.

Try it and see.


Nikki Chaplin
Nikki Chaplin
As a personal development coach, Nikki Chaplin is known for the transformation she brings to her clients. Her no-nonsense approach to uncovering career blocks and releasing paradigms is arguably one of the most effective approaches in helping those who are stuck break free, honor their passion and advance to new levels of achievement. Her greatest satisfaction is to see clients achieve what may at first seem impossible aspirations. As a former corporate manager, she brings with her a wealth of hands-on experience, as well as her ability to focus clients in the areas of their greatest strengths and chief goals. She not only provides the tools and techniques to achieve your goals, but she’s expert at providing guidance in supporting you to set and achieve your goals and, yes experience unlimited abundance.
"My mission is to help fiercely ambitious women create abundance through heart-inspired work and leave a positive legacy while passionately doing their most fulfilling work."
She is an author of three books, and her latest book, “How to Consciously Design Your Ideal Life,” is available on Amazon.

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  1. Thank you Nikki for this insightful perspective!
    It is complicated yet you have untangled the thread that has an emotional hold on some. I think most of us have struggled with ‘purpose’, and applaud those who have such clarity.
    Would you consider it to be possible that thru setting ‘intentions’ we find our ‘purpose’? #flipthescript

    • Yes, this purpose thing is complicated when there’s so much bandied about living a life on purpose. Oh the pressure we sometimes place on ourselves, wondering if we’ve missed it, and if not, where, how can we find this magical, precious thing. For myself, I must say at a younger age, setting an intention has always been part of how I approached life, but I did not realize until much later, that indeed setting my intention(s) was enough for me! And you are right, setting intentions thoughtfully and seriously following them can in fact lead right into one’s purpose. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts!