three things to do when you don’t know your purpose


One of the biggest things I’d like people to take away from MML is the belief that it is totally freaking okay (and normal) if you don’t know your purpose yet.

I feel like there is a sense out there that there is something wrong – especially for those in their early 20’s – if people aren’t crystal clear on their life purpose.

To be honest, sometimes I want to scream,

“It’s not that big of a deal!”

Because you know what? It’s not.

It make absolutely no difference whether you know your purpose or if you haven’t the foggiest idea.

That is totally fine.

Because from all of my own understanding of my purpose and the purposes of those around me, the truth is that life purpose is much larger (and simpler) than a career, service, or transaction.

Life purpose at it’s core is about extending love, care, and concern for others in a way that capitalizes on our unique talents and gifts. 

That’s it.

But so often people make life purpose another word for their “career,” “job,” “business,” or other money making device. Or heck, even a volunteer or non-profit venture.

That is so not true.

Careers, jobs, charities, and inventions are the tools and channels with which we help other humans improve their lives. That is all.

The juice inside the Gusher of life purpose is the love and energy we expend helping improve other people’s lives.

So that means it makes no difference whether we know what our purpose is yet. We can still take whatever situation we are in this very moment, and transform it into part of our purpose by making sure that we are helping those around us live a better life.

We can do that in a crummy job, while in college, while staying at home with a baby, or while sitting on the bus next to a stranger.

Over time, as we help others throughout our lives we might discover – by accident even – that we are really, really good at helping people when we do x, y, or z.

Then, we can take that feedback and go a little further in that direction. And over time we might just find that we feel deeply compelled to help people in one way, or in several different ways, throughout our lifetime.

The point is that we can always be living our life purpose no matter what we are “doing” at the time.

The rest will come when we keep an open mind and heart.

Can I get an Amen?

Hopefully, some people are feeling more relaxed about their purpose search now.

(Or at least pretend to.)

And last but not least, as the title of this post promised, I wrote a column about three things to do while you are searching for your life purpose over on The Everygirl.


I love you and you will discover your purpose in time.

Let it be shown to you.


This Post Has 19 Comments

  1. Jen

    Loved this as well as your Everygirl post as I frequently feel like I have no idea what I’m doing but that I’m supposed to have it all figured out.

  2. Annie

    Love that!!! I absolutely agree with you, and I think so many people are walking around thinking the rest of the population has it all figured out. In reality, most everybody is still trying to put the pieces together. But I love what you wrote about what to do in the meantime. beautiful.

  3. Kat

    I love your blog so much and this post is really amazing. You are truly an inspiration and I’m so glad I found this blog when I did!

  4. Kate

    I LOVE this! I think our generation especially struggles with feeling like you should know what you want to do. And that you had better love your job. That’s great, but life is about more than your job. Thanks Jess!!

  5. Amen! Could not have needed to hear this more today. Really. I sometimes wish I could just print out every post and tape it to my forehead so don’t forget your insightful comments. Thank you so much for this post and for just being you and putting so much goodness out into the world.

  6. Kristal

    AMEN sister. It’s freeing to know we can fulfill our purpose in many different ways, not just one.

  7. Jess

    Thank you all so much! I also appreciate the “amens” out there!! : )

    Kate, I totally agree (and can’t wait to meet you at the DC Business with Intention Workshop!).

  8. This post could not have come at a better time!!! I really could cry with the sense of relief I have. Thank you for for saying that it’s okay that we don’t know our purpose yet. I feel like this post was a written hug – thank you, thank you, thank you.

  9. Liz Hernandez Nunez

    Amen;) Thank you so much Jess….

  10. Oluwafemi Gbodi

    Thank you for the great insight! Am a young man of age 30’s. Before now, my aims is to get work and start life. But when i come across ur articles. I was lifted up to known that life’s purpose is more than getting good work. Thank once again i have learn my lesson.

  11. Raj

    You nailed it. Love and care for others in every way you can
    Purpose will reveal itself. After thinking a lot i came to realize the same. My family depends on me. If we have to describe bible in two words, love and care will be those two words too. So our purpose here is simple too.

    1. So well said, Raj! I was just reading The Power of Now and in it Eckhart talks about inner purpose and outer purpose and how the outer is less important than the inner. And the inner purpose is love and care in the form of presence.

      You might like to check out the book, too!

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