a purposeful life

Have you ever been there?

Where you wake up, go to work, come home, watch Netflix and then fall asleep only to do the exact same thing the next day?

The truth is, without purpose things feel meaningless.

Life isn’t just about staying alive. It’s about living for something bigger. To connect with your desires, excitement and things that actually matter. To touch, smell, and feel the awakening of every cell in your body.

Moving towards a purposeful life might sound complicated. But it doesn’t have to be. To help you, here are 9 powerful thing you can start doing:

1. Create a compelling future

How do you want your life to look like 3 years from now? How are you spending your days? Where are you living? What people are you spending time with?

Creating a compelling future is key. If we know where we’re going, it’s easier to know what to focus on and why doing it matters.

Two great ways to get clearer on what you desire for your future self, is to write and and meditate. Simply ask yourself “How does my ideal life look like 3 years from now?” Then open up to receive information either by writing down what comes to mind, or by meditating on it.

2.Know your “why’s”

your purpose

What’s the purpose of everything you do? Do you have one or several “why’s” connecting it? If the answer is “no”, you won’t feel connected to purpose.

Kids know this inherently. They always ask “why” to everything. “Why should I clean my room?” and “Why should I finish my dinner?” Because let’s face it. If there’s no great purpose to what we’re doing – why even bother?

So, look at your schedule and what you’re agreeing to do. Do you know your “why” for them? If yes, then keep going. If not, then start questioning if that’s even something you should spend your time on.

3. Find your mission for your purposeful life

My mission is to help 100 000 people to find work they love. I’ve made that my mission because I know the pain, stress, and frustration that comes with not knowing your direction in life. So, now I want to help others to get clear on their path in life.

Having a mission greater than yourself, brings focus and purpose. It’s something to return to when things get tough or when fears get the best of you.

Begin with the end in mind. What would you like to serve others with? What pain have you experienced, or what are you passionate about?

4. Act today, not tomorrow

I used to wait for a better moment. For some day in the future when everything would magically fall into place. Then, I’d be ready to take action. But, that day never came until I made the decision for it to come.

Stop waiting for better times or circumstances. Things will never be ideal. You’ll always be able to point at something to say “that’s why I never did it”. Why things won’t work will always there, but so will the reasons why it will.

So, start taking steps, no matter how small, in the right direction today.

5. Take baby steps forward (or crawl if you prefer)

baby steps

When we decide to do something, whether that’s to start exercising, eating healthier or creating a more purposeful life – we have a tendency to get a bit too excited. Let me explain. At first, our goals thrill us. That’s also when we start being overly ambitious about what we can accomplish.

Then, when we’re having a bad day our plan can feel rather overwhelming. What most people do then is to quit. The idea isn’t to run a sprint – but a marathon. To focus on consistency, instead of intensity.

So, take baby steps forward that you know you can keep. Better to beat your target than to fall before the finish line.

6. Focus on one thing at a time

We all have 24 hours per day. Yet, some people seem to accomplish great things, while others are scattered and do a little bit here and there. A key component to creating a purposeful life is focus.  

Rather than trying to do it all – become aware of your limitations. Do ONE thing at the time and dedicate time, energy and commitment to it.

Once you feel stable in that area, move on to another one.

7. Say “no” a lot

Justine Musk did a great TED talk about her ex husband, Elon Musk, and his rise to the top. What she noticed was that he said “no” a lot. He was so clear on his “deep yes” that he declined everything that didn’t support his vision.

Remember: everything you say “yes” to also means saying “no” to something else. So, be conscious of your time and how you use it.

To create a purposeful life you need to fill it with things that brings purpose and meaning. And in that process, you need to say “no” things that aren’t aligned with that.

8. Look at obstacles as signs

Obstacles can show up in the form of beliefs, people, or situations. Some see obstacles as a stop sign; as proof that what they were planning to do isn’t working.

Trust that life always is guiding you in the right direction. In that process, it’s also showing you what needs tweaking, change or a new perspective. In short, what looks like an obstacle is simply guidance of where you need to grow and develop.

So, instead of seeing things that hinder you as blockages, see them as your guidance. Ask yourself, “What’s the lesson for me here?” See them as a message to you from life – and then show up for the lesson.  

9. Consume uplifting content

We are the texts we read, the movies we watch, the podcasts we listen to, the conversations we have, and the people we spend time with. Those things determine how we perceive this world.

If you constantly consume negative and fear-based content (hello news!) – then that’s likely how you’re going to experience this world. The same goes for uplifting, inspiring and opportunity-based content.

Your mind will believe whatever you tell it. So, feed it wisely. This makes for a more purposeful life.

Put your baby steps into practice

Living a life where you lack purpose is frustrating, stressful –  not to mention soul draining. But, change is closer than you think. Small consistent steps might seem insignificant, but they will add up and soon create a big  difference in your life.

As they say: knowledge without action is useless. And it all starts with baby steps. So, choose one thing from the list above and put it into practice.

And don’t beat yourself up for moving too slowly.  Movement, however slow, is progress.  Be kind to yourself, it will make the journey much easier and happier.


Maria Stenvinkel is on a mission to help people get a career they truly love. Download her free worksheet Get a Clue to Your Calling With These 10 Powerful Questions.


  1. Maria, I love the idea of the “deep yes.” That makes it easier to say no, for sure! I’m also profoundly inspired by the breadth of your aspiration to help others.

  2. Thank you for this helpful post. As you suggest, I find taking baby steps and saying “no” a lot very helpful! 🙂

  3. Wonderful tips here, Maria. I’m impressed with your mission is to help 100 000 people to find work they love. Such a worthy endeavor. Your tip of saying “No” to things that don’t support our vision is so important. Getting distracted and finding you are helping others achieve their dreams while neglecting your own is not helpful.

  4. Elden Hart

    To live a purposeful life, you need to start with what you have and where you are. Make sure you are not doing anything that will hurt other people. No matter, how many times you fail, keep taking more chances and keep trying always. I think this is one of the sure-fire ways that a person needs to follow to make his life purposeful. Without exploring the depth of space, you can’t learn about your life. You can’t be everything to every people. So, live life with your own purpose, instead of replicating other people’s live.

  5. Maphefo Thebeetsile

    This is what I really need, not only will it help myself but my family too and generations to come. Thanks be to The Almighty God create of Heaven and Earth for such Wisdom displayed here. Be blessed.

  6. I firmly agree with your advice that we should plan your next three years or think about what you want to be in the next 3 years and start working on it from today,
    Great Blog nice to read it.

  7. Daniel Alali

    Thank you very much for such an inspiring post you just made. Indeed it was one that literally took me off my seat and I couldn’t help but marvel the dexterity and insights it offered to me. I really appreciate and wish for more of this.

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