A practical approach to discovering your purpose and choosing a path with ease and impact.
This week I’m talking about a practical approach to discovering your purpose and taking action on ideas in ways that are easiest to pursue and that will also have the most impact in the world.
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The SENSE of purpose is something worth discovering in and of itself, independent of the concept of choosing a major or a career. But I do mentor intuitives, psychics, mediums, energy healers, teachers, coaches, counselors… and for many of us purpose IS about a profession.
I get it.
I need a project at the very least to express my purpose. There’s a lot of value in having a purpose driven project, even if it's not your primary source of income.
If you have a boring day job, a purpose driven project can be the most important thing in the world to balance all that energy.
I’ve seen clients start a project and it becomes like this release valve for other areas of life. The day job isn’t as awful. You’re not snapping at your spouse over everything. You’re not as annoyed with your kids for stealing your life force. You don’t hate your boss or the sound of coworkers breathing quite so much.
You have a reason to get you up in the morning beyond all those mundane things. You have this new source of energy and also an outlet for energy. Because there's energy coming in, and then there's energy you're shedding. You need really healthy vessels and venues and streams for all of those things, to move in and out and through you.
The biggest problem with the "Your Job is Your Life" model is that you can’t get everything that you need from that one source.
You don’t get all your social interactions from one relationship… or expect one person to fulfill what it takes many relationships to have. And you've seen what happens in those marriages where people really have no friendships or relationships or support systems outside the marriage itself, it's just you and this person in a bubble with nothing else going on... That in itself is a kind of cancerous situation to be in.
And I know lots of people with relationships like that. They think they want that. Oh, I want this person to be my best friend and we're going to do everything together. We're just together 24/7. We work together and vacation together.
You know what though? I don't see a lot of those filled with joy, it doesn't seem like.
So anyway, I think the average person, we need a lot of different kinds of friendships. We need people to take care of and people to make us laugh and we need family and we need people we can talk about woo woo stuff with. And we need people for sex. We need people that we've known our whole lives that we don't have to explain ourselves to. All kinds of different friendships. People who are teachers and mentors. Parents that you talk to. You know, all those different things.
Not everybody has that, but ideally, you kind of want a spread, and you want your spouse to have a spread, and you want your kids to have all those things as well.
If you’re unhappy and experiencing low level type of "depression" that’s not really clinical depression, but more a lack of motivation, still with an inkling that you should get off your ass and do something. There’s a chance to turn it around, and you feel that, and that's sort of part of the ennui that you're experiencing.
The first thing that I would recommend is that you do the Energy Reboot. We've talked about it on a couple of different episodes, and of course can link to those, but the idea is to get back in touch with your intuition, spark your creativity, ground the body, rest better, feel better in your own skin.
You can’t create from a place of lack and anxiety. And you can’t save the world if you’re empty and exhausted.
Once you experience some of the results from doing the Reboot, because really, start there. Don't skip that. The results are ideas, energy, motivation. Just new fresh signals coming in.
Once you start to experience that and feel like that's clicking again, like things are turned on again, things are connected again, sign up for something — a class, a workshop, some kind of group activity. Host something for people with your shared interest.
Return to an old hobby or pull out some dream that you put on the shelf long ago.
Teach your kids how to do something that you used to love to do when you were younger.
Teach other people, period — you could sign up for something and host something at the same time by teaching people, because a lot of times your sense of purpose is about sharing what you’ve learned and experienced with other people.
Sometimes your purpose will be chosen for you. Maybe it already has and you don’t have the clarity to realize it. Maybe there's something that you do in the world you're not even giving yourself credit for. Maybe there's something that you do you think of as a duty and a chore, that with a little tweaking and change in perspective, could really become something different. Once you put some intention behind it, you can transform all kinds of things that you're doing.
But Discovering Your Purpose is as much about CHOOSING one as having angels descend with an engraved stone tablet or an owl drop a creamy parchment scroll down your chimney.
People get lost because there are too many things they love. You feel your interests are all over the place. That they don’t go together. There's no rhyme or reason to them. Or you’re pulled between two different loves and you can’t choose between the two.
You may just need to suck it up and do both or do everything you love a little bit. That’s what I do.
I might be more successful if I only did one thing and put all my energy into it, but I honestly wouldn’t enjoy that, and the lack of joy would kill it, and I’d be back to square one with nothing. So I do a little bit of everything I love.
I now have four different websites officially, 3 different pen names, 3 different businesses, soon to be 2 podcasts, dozens of individual income streams, and that’s not even counting things like my love of animals and the animals that I rescue and care for, and my friends' pets that I help with, and the people I support and care for in my daily personal life on all different levels. From advising younger people to helping some of the people that I work out with, motivating them.
Now I don’t advise that you do it like this — if you can avoid it, definitely keep it simple by all means, it sounds heavenly to me, if you have a brain that does that. But some of us don't. And some of us can't choose.
So you know what? Refuse to choose.
I remember the first time I saw the title of that book, "Refuse to Choose - a Program for Doing Everything that You Love" by Barbara Sher, you've heard me talk about this before. It's like my favourite self-help book in the whole world.
It's all based on this principle of scanners. That there's a certain personality type, it's a creative personality type, that requires you to be engaged in a lot of different things. To not just choose one lane and stay there 'til you die. There may be a lot of people who get a sense of safety and security from staying in one track and plodding along and doing the milestones that are laid out for them. And getting the certifications they need and working their way up and just doing what they do and staying there.
But that's not scanners. And that's not me. That's probably not a lot of you that are listening.
So if you’re a scanner, the cool thing is, we now have this language that allows us to embrace that, and to talk about it as an asset, which is life changing, if you've always been told you're doing it wrong. You're not following through on anything and you can't pick one thing and stick with it.
If you've been told all those things, yet you're also extremely intelligent and can potentially do anything, then, you know what? Embrace the fact that you're a scanner. Choose vocations that resonate with that energy. There are lots of activities and environments, social structures, where this is a big positive.
So don't put yourself over there in the grey box that has one lane because you're going to be miserable. There are a bunch of other places that you can go and plug in where who you are and the way that you operate and what you love in the world, no matter how eccentric it is, is of value.
One of the easiest things that you can do is to tell yourself, you know what? I'm just gonna have a seasonal project. I'm not going to commit to doing something for four years, or five years, or one thing for all of my retirement. I'm going to do a single project each season. Or I'm gonna have a different side hustle project every year. Every new year I'm gonna try out some new crafty thing that I do and see if I can make some money of it.
Just tell yourself that. Just knowing right up front that you get to switch it out can really re-orient everything within you. You know, chances are, if you do start out picking one little thing and doing it for a little while, you'll stumble onto one that other people really love. And then that takes over and it becomes about them more than just being about you.
Shift Your Spirits was ONE writing project for me. It was one of half a dozen journals that I was writing at the time. This, all of this, that you know me for, it's just ONE area of interest and passion for me.
So think of your interests and your roles in the world as different pieces of material in a mosaic. And within that mosaic, you are the glue. The common denominator really is you, so it’s not true that these things have no connection or that they're all over the place.
They intersect in you.
Knowing that, if you feel pulled equally between 2 different paths, you are a connection point between those 2 things. So, conceptually, philosophically, they do have a bridge, they do have an intersection.
When you think about it, what is that connection point for YOU? Because that common denominator that exists for you very likely exists for other people too.
Sometimes you need somebody else to point it out. It’s hard to see. You may need to have this conversation over a bottle of rose with someone, or coffee, and hash it out. Sort of mirror it out for one another.
It's hard to see your own worth and value.
I have a client who is an emerging intuitive, she does energy work, but she also has this cool natural skin care business. She felt like these were two vastly different interests. She's racking her mind trying to find a link between the two things. Because she’d rather be creating one content marketing platform as opposed to creating two separate businesses with different marketing plans and completely different platforms.
She’s looking to write articles and post on social media and speak and teach — all the usual formats that work very effectively in all industries. She feels instinctively that there should be a connection…
She’s RIGHT. From outside the forest, I can see all kinds of trees!
So I asked her: What are the connections for you between skin care and energy? What are the connections, on a deep level, between how you look and how you feel? Why do you choose to craft products from natural ingredients in the first place? What are the spiritual values motivating that? How do the elements we put in and on our physical bodies affect our energy bodies?
She can answer all these questions. She did, right there on the session with me. She had fascinating perspectives off the top of her head that lots of people would love to hear about! And you know what’s even cooler? I don’t know a lot of people talking about that particular intersection of topics.
I advised her to do something of a mind mapping exercise. I like to do this with lists.
Write down some lists. Both fields of work, both interests, in two parallel columns. And then … Draw lines connecting items in one column to the other, wherever you see a connection. As you find items that connect, you think of other things that are even easier and more obvious to connect and you start adding those to the list just so you can generate more of those connections.
it will probably look like a jacked up set of boot laces, but the connections are there between these two things that you think are so different. That’s the point.
Now, can you create a question that represents each one of those laces? And keep going with that.
I suggested she brainstorm at least a list of 10. Once you’ve got a whole list of questions, you start answering them. You write articles for Medium.com, for other people's websites, to post on your own blog, Instagram stories, Facebook live videos where you talk about it, classes, tele-seminars.
Your usual product demonstration for say, the skincare, becomes something more like a workshop. Something deeper and more contemplative. A beauty day at the spa becomes more of a retreat-mindset. Your clients aren’t just learning how to apply a product, they’re thinking about WHY they’re using the ingredients in your products and how those motivations make them feel.
This is good stuff!
I’m trying to think of some examples that are completely different.
I love yoga. I did yoga teacher training classes, not to become a yoga teacher, but just to challenge myself and have a goal around it. I also missed the spiritual aspects of yoga being removed for western gym environments. I like the mystical parts obviously.
But I also love kettle bells — that’s my favorite workout format. Kettle bell complexes, which are strings of poses that flow into one another, remind me very much of yoga flows, which I also love to do. There are some kettle bell poses that totally remind me of yoga poses with weights on the end. I do CrossFit. And I coach people on intuition and creativity and depression and often recommend fitness as a component of all that.
I like to think of fitness as a spiritual practice.
Now, I currently do all those things kind of separately, even though I am aware that I am the glue holding that mosaic together. So I do see how they're connected. But I practice them in my world in different boxes.
But is there the possibility that other people might like all those ingredients mixed together too? Are there work out classes or fitness group training scenarios that could incorporate all those elements? Sure, I could see that.
Since I started recommending the Reboot, I’ve been asked to come assist people, who are more spiritually inclined, to work out and learn to exercise with those concepts in mind. Which in some ways, might be easier than taking someone who is already comfortable in a fitness routine and changing their philosophy about it. I don't know. I guess you could do either thing.
I could choose a project — get licensed to be a personal trainer — that could be my project. That could be the thing I'm gonna do this year. That could be my seasonal thing to focus on. I can get some people together, host a class — I could start creating those kind of workouts, those kind of training environments.
What if you want to do volunteer work with kids or something? What if you love hip hop music? What if you wish you could’ve been a dancer back in the day? So I have a friend that loved all those things and I helped her apply for a parks and rec grant in our community to teach a hip hop dance class to kids after school.
What if you did something like that?
Maybe you love embroidery or watercolours and you don’t pursue it because you don’t think you’re the next Michelangelo, so why bother? You can’t make a living as an artist… So you kind of lost your steam for it.
I bet the first person who came up with that art studio where you go drink wine with your girlfriends and paint, or go an interesting daytime date where you make pottery together, or the person who teaches art classes in nursing homes, those artists probably didn’t give up a career selling their work in galleries all over the world to create those types of businesses. They cobbled them together from their own interests and transformed it into something else for other people.
Maybe you love tarot cards and you collect different kinds of decks and you think it would be fun to create your own. Maybe you're not even artistically inclined but you could find someone to partner with you and do the illustrations and you could write the card meanings.
Maybe you want to start some kind of non profit fund, because your family experienced something really awful and there weren’t a lot of resources for it and you saw the opportunity to make the worst in thing in your life the best thing you’ve ever done.
People do this stuff. All the time. The people who do this stuff are the people who do this stuff.
And here’s the best piece of advice of all that I can give you — if you ARE turning this into a business, or if your project involves other people — and honestly, if it’s truly a sense of purpose, it involves other people, with the exception of other living things, like animals and plants maybe, but you probably still need human allies. Your conservation work where you get to only talk to trees is still impacting other people some how some way, down the line.
Assuming it’s a given that your project is about other people, at this point, you simply follow where they ask you to go.
If you have those 10 questions and you answered them for others, they will start generating their own follow up questions. And then you answer those.
They will request special custom products. “Hey. Can you make this with this another fragrance that I'm really into?” They'll ask you to tweak it in a way for them. And you just fulfill that. You keep going. There's probably an infinite number of fragrances that you can change up.
Remember my definition of marketing, borrowed from my friend Tim Grahl: find a group of people and be relentlessly helpful to them. That works just as well for purpose.
Here’s what most people do wrong - they fret about picking the perfect concept. They analyze it a million different ways. They go off into their tower, into their laboratory, and they try to invent The Perfect Big Thing, A+ mind blowing… and then they come down and try to find people who want it.
And sometimes people don’t. Or only a few do.
You find out, after the fact, if you’d changed it somewhere along the way, you could have made it for more people. Maybe you could have chosen a different scent, or use a different name, or use different language that more people are actually searching for online that would've made it easier for them to find you.
But I still think the best way for it is to jump in early.
Pick something you love, find a group of people who love it too, and make something for them. Or host something for them. Create an environment and let them come together and do whatever it is that they want to do there.
Create something with the goal of not creating an A+, but just putting a solid B out there.
This is not an A+ podcast, not in terms of production level. I don't even have any music.
Make your version of the thing a bunch of other people have already made. Romance novels, baked goods, and diet plans. These have infinite minor tweaks and variations, and the innovations don’t have to be huge because the people who love those things always want more of them.
But do put yourself in a position to ask them what they want.
Here’s a moisturizer with natural lavender scent, which I love. What essential oils do you guys love?
Here’s my killer chocolate cake recipe, I can make all kinds of cake. What kind do you want?
Who’s going vegan? Here’s what I wish I had known when I made that transition. What are your tips?
Talk amongst yourselves. Start a little conversation pit. Toss some prompts out there.
Host something for people who share your interests. A Facebook group can be started in a matter of seconds. Start conversations about your interests with these people who share your interests. And while you're at it, join in on everybody else’s group too to make those connections.
And here’s the other really HUGE thing that most people get wrong: you do not have to be an expert.
Just be a seeker.
Nobody likes a know it all who’s perfect and doesn’t struggle. We’d much rather listen to a friendly, accessible person we identify with tell us about what she got wrong and how she eventually figured it out. We like her. And if she invites us to come along on the journey — awesome! We're in for that.
Be a seeker and invite other seekers to participate. They will tell you what they need, what they want, what they're curious about. You just see if you can fulfill those requests.
Be relentlessly helpful.
If you have kids, think about this — You slave away creating an elaborate meal, maybe even trying out some new recipes you’ve never made before, and your family hates it. They would have rather had a simple grilled cheese or a ordered pizza. What if you asked them first? Hey, what do you guys want for dinner?
The same approach applies to business and it applies to purpose.
At some level, it’s all service. Purpose is serving other people: making things for them, telling them stories, solving their problems, supporting them when nobody can solve their problems, holding space.
Here’s your assignment: Go make some of those mind maps. Write down lists of your loves and interests in columns. Look for connections. Draw lines between them. Make some crazy laces. Then find a group of people who might also be interested in those connections and host something for them.
Be relentlessly helpful.
A creative outlet, a side hustle, a new career, a business… a sense of purpose. This is one way you can find yours. And this is how you CHOOSE yours.