For many years, I searched for my purpose thinking I was going to find it outside of myself and some epiphany was going to hit me.

I thought other people would be able to show me my purpose, and I used to expect that my job would show me, or maybe I just needed one more spiritual retreat, and I would finally know my purpose. I felt lost because work was not fulfilling. When I was a little girl I already questioned the meaning of life. Maybe because I spent so much time alone; being an only child I made up my play-world, and I could be the heroine if I wanted to. As I grew older and career was on my mind, I felt the same pressure as many young people feel, to make something of ourselves. Funny enough that pressure didn’t come from my parents, quite the opposite. My dad would always tell me that it is our humanity that makes us great. But I wanted to do something that mattered. I had to find a purpose with impact. 


I’ve consistently heard over the last two decades of coaching and speaking how we are putting this pressure on ourselves, thinking that we are lost and wasting time if we don’t feel we have purpose. It’s embedded in our society to think having purpose means to do great things that have an impact on others. And this may end up being true for some. However, we need to demystify purpose a bit here so that we can recognize that we use purpose all day long. Just like self-care, purpose is in the background of who we are, not what we do.

I hear stories of people feeling lost, confused, depressed, and angry because they aren’t sure what their life purpose is supposed to be. Of course, we know “What’s my purpose?” is the big elusive question. We have the illusion that there’s something wrong with us because just like self-care has been made into this “perfect life,” so too has a purpose-led life. 

The thing is, it’s a basic core human need to matter and contribute, so no surprise that we find people working even harder and putting in more hours when they work for an organization with purpose. 


To the outside world, I look as if I have pursued my purpose for years and lived in alignment with that. People see me as someone who is very focused and committed to changing the way we think about self-care so that it can work better for us. And I am. However, it wasn’t an idea I came up with as this grand purpose. It was something that appeared because my parents died and the experience taught me what I truly cared about; and it has kept evolving since. And it still does. Purpose is not a destination, or a goal, it’s a daily journey of living in alignment with what we care about. Not just the big stuff, the little stuff too.


Every day, what we care about directs our choices, we just don’t see it when we are busy doing life. Every day, it’s who we are that makes us unique and it’s what we care about that drives us. And every day, our self-care is our connection that brings us back home to ourselves. You could say that our search for meaning is our search for ourselves and to understand ourselves better.

If we take a look at Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, we have our need for physical safety at the bottom, then comes our need for psychological safety, then societal safety, and then we can self-actualize which is at the top and what we strive towards. I can see why we think self-care is selfish; it’s all about us reaching the top. But once we get there, we feel alone. I have consistently found that an inclusive work environment, where we feel seen and heard and where we can be ourselves and feel that we belong because of who we are is essential to our well-being.

If we don’t feel like we matter and contribute at work, our self-worth is challenged, and we look for purpose outside of ourselves so that we have something to align ourselves with. 

But you are the purpose. You are enough and the quest isn’t to find a new you somewhere, it’s to unlock the human advantage that you already are.