Finding Your Purpose With Work: The Ultimate Guide to Discovering Your Career Purpose


"It doesn't interest me what you do for a living. I want to know what you ache for and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart's longing." ~ Oriah As adults, finding your purpose with work is one of life's biggest challenges and greatest rewards. We all hear about the world's most successful people finding their true calling and creating things that innovate entire industries. From Elon Musk to Oprah to Steve Jobs, there are people out there who have found their purpose and success with it in their careers.

While we all dream of finding our true career purpose, few of us have found it. A study by State of the American Workplace revealed that only 30% of people feel engaged and passionate about their work. What's crazy about this stat is that millennials know purpose and passion is important, they just haven't found their own yet.

Aaron Hurst, CEO of Imperative, shared that the purpose economy is coming up swiftly at the tail end of the information economy. This new era will be driven by the creation of purpose, not just goods and services. What better time to find your purpose and make a living out of it?

So how do you go about finding your purpose with work? Read on to begin this important journey in your career.

What Finding Your Purpose Looks Like

According to the Harvard Business Review, finding your purpose with work looks like feeling passionate, innovative, and committed. You are focused on serving others and your work purpose is aligned with your personal purpose.

A purpose mindset isn't something you'll feel 100% of the time and it isn't something you find once and never have to work on again. Finding your purpose at work is an evolution. It takes time to grow and develop.

How do you know if you are already living your life's purpose at work? Here are a few signs you've found your purpose from mindbodygreen:

  •  Work brings joy instead of sucking the energy out of your life.
  • You no longer feel like you're hiding part of who you are. You are authentic and true to your soul.
  • You've stopped looking for approval from those around you. You've found your voice, courage, and confidence.
  • You feel comfortable selling your products or services because you know that people need you.
  •  You no longer feel like you are selling your soul for a paycheck. Your income and your purpose are in alignment.

If you don't feel far off from your purpose, you're on the right track! But if you've never experienced this at work, it's time to start working toward it. Finding your purpose is a journey. It might not happen all at once, but when it does, you'll start to see a lot of benefits because of it.

The Benefits of Living Your Purpose

You'll Live Longer

If you weren't serious about finding your purpose with your career, you will be now. The benefits are incredible. In fact, a study by the Association for Psychological Science found that feeling a sense of purpose in your life may help you live longer. That's huge! Finding your calling could be almost as important as eating healthy and working out (and a lot more fun).

You'll Stay Focused

It's so much easier to take steps toward achieving your goal when it's something you're super passionate about. Having a purpose in life will give you the motivation to go out and do what you need to do to live out that purpose. Even dull tasks have more importance when they're critical to achieving your purpose.

You'll Crush the Sunday Blues

Ever dread Monday the night before? So many of us fall prey to the Sunday blues, but it doesn't have to be that way. When you've found your calling at work, you can actually look forward to Monday! When you're working not just to make an income, but because it fulfills something deep within you, it's much easier to welcome in the new week.

You'll Inspire Others

What better way to inspire your friend or sibling to do what they love than by doing it yourself! Talk will only get you so far. Finding your purpose isn't a selfish pursuit. You'll be inspiring so many people in the process that your impact will be great. This isn't just about you. It's about us all. We all deserve to live out our calling and find fulfillment in work.

You'll Find Success

Numerous business owners reported to Business News Daily that when you're doing what you love, you'll have more success. Why? Well, when you deeply care about what you're doing, it's easier to overcome all the obstacles that are thrown in your way. Amir Zonozi told Business News Daily, "When you love what you do, you are compelled to push against yourself."

Career Advice from Les Naly

How to Find Your Career Purpose

“Don’t ask yourself what the world needs; ask yourself what makes you come alive. And then go and do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”

-Harold Whitman

Find What Fuels You

What energizes you and gets the wheels turning in your brain? What do you enjoy thinking about or creating? Watch yourself as you participate in different activities and projects. Pay attention to what you do in your spare time. Think about your childhood pastimes. These things are pieces of evidence that will lead you to your calling. Once you have a good idea of your interests, pair these with your skills and experiment to see what might be a fulfilling career.


This is a critical step in actually finding your purpose. Take your ideas of what you might like to do and put them into practice as side hustles, hobbies, and work projects. The Meaning Movement suggests you approach this career experiment like a scientist. Analyze the results you see and accept failure as part of the process. You've got your hypothesis of things you think you might be interested in, test it out! Start something in your free time. Interview someone who does what you think you'd like to do. Be creative and try it out. This is an important journey. Give yourself time to figure things out.

Act with a Learning Attitude

The University of Missouri-Columbia found that people who focus on learning at work end up having more success actually landing their dream job. If learning is your goal, you'll be more successful at landing opportunities for your purpose. Make this your main priority at work right now. It isn't about getting in deliverables and making deadlines, it's all about learning. Pick up a few books, find a mentor, and get ready to learn.

Create a Vivid Picture

A study from Ohio State University shows that in order to be really successful in your dream career, you need a 'vivid and detailed description' of you achieving your career purpose. Take time to think about how all your talents and skills enable you to do what you want to do. Find those hidden abilities and thinking patterns that make you who you are and use them to give yourself confidence. Journal about what your purpose might look like. Put together a vision board. Make your purpose as defined and real as possible once you begin to figure out what it is.

Focus on Serving Others

Doesn't it feel good to lend a helping hand? Research shows that when you're serving others, you're more likely to find meaning in your work. You could be closer to your purpose than you think. Match up your skills with a problem that needs to be solved in your community and you could fall into a fulfilling life purpose. There are a number of ways to serve people without being a non-profit. As long as you're solving a problem you care about, you're on the right track.

Why You Need Your Purpose Now

Now is the time to begin finding your purpose at work. We live in a time where so much is possible. We can connect with people around the world in the blink of an eye. We have access to almost everything we want to know at a moment's notice. You are entirely capable of finding your purpose. It's your turn to take the steps you need to get there.

With all the events of today, the world needs your voice and your light. Share that and you'll transform your entire career.

“The big secret in life is that there is no big secret. Whatever your goal, you can get there if you’re willing to work.”

-Oprah Winfrey