Want to find your purpose? No need to travel the world!

Want to find your purpose? No need to travel the world!
(for a quick exercise, scroll down…)

Have you ever experienced that feeling, that you were meant to do more with your life? Like there is some big picture that you fail to see in the daily humdrum of going to work, doing groceries, making dinner… repeat…?

Many years ago, my then-husband and I found ourselves on a rainy Sunday afternoon talking about our bucket list. Here we were; we had a good marriage, a lovely young daughter, we both had good jobs, a nice house, a three- car garage… Why weren’t we happy?

I had been feeling a strong sense of inner restlessness… Like there was something else I should be doing with my life, but what that was, that was just not clear. It felt like a desperate squeezing of my soul that was forcing me to pay attention.

As we sat there on that rainy day, we asked ourselves that question that many ask to get closer to finding out what would really bring happiness. ‘What if we won the lottery? What would we do?’

We started brainstorming about different things; of course we would buy a house for each of our family members and things like that. However, as we got deeper, one thing we both realized was that we loved to travel. Maybe that would bring each of us closer to living our purpose… 

Have you ever asked yourself that question? It’s a great one to start with. It can give you insight into your values, but often you have to drill a bit deeper than the first answer that comes up. In this case, we didn’t go deeper than the idea of seeing the world. We got so excited that we pulled out a map and started placing pins in all the areas we’d like to visit.

So we sold our house (this was during the big housing boom) and set off with our then 1 1/2-year old daughter to Central and South America, Europe and Egypt. 

We traveled for almost a year and while it was definitely one of the highlights of my life, the old Confucius quote of ‘wherever you go, there you are’ was most definitely true. I did not find my purpose, however hard I looked. 

Back home I found myself again experiencing this stirring of my soul, mixed with a deep desire to be of service. How could I make an impact? What was it that I was uniquely meant to be doing with my life… And ‘by chance’ I happened upon an article by Martha Beck in O Magazine, about Life Coaching. This was in the year 2000, when the coaching industry was just starting to blossom. 

Suddenly I felt goosebumps, this sense of recognition: this was it! That is when I signed up for my first coach training…

Fast forward many years, I now I have a wonderful life, thanks to all the tools I’ve learned along the way. I have been the director of two coaching programs and delivered training at companies like Best Buy, Yum! Brands, etc. I love working with individuals and small businesses and am deeply humbled and honored when people tell me how our work together has impacted their lives.

And along the way, I have realized something. It is not what you have and not necessarily what you do, that brings you purpose. It is how you express it, that lets you live your purpose

For some people that means moving to Columbia and teaching English, like it was for one of my clients; for others it may be starting a new business that really lets them apply all their gifts, like for some other clients I work with.

Ultimately, it is the meaning that you give to what you do and knowing that you have an impact, that is when you live your purposeIt is what I find brings most fulfillment in life and peace in your soul.

How do you express your Life Purpose?
Do you recognize that same sense of squeezing in your soul? That feeling that there is more to you than you are showing the world? I love to invite you to a free 30 min. call to help you get crystal clear about where you are in your life, where you want to be, and I will offer some powerful resources to help you get closer to living 

At the end of the session, I’d love to take a few minutes to check in with you about whether continuing to work together would serve you. There’s no pressure to continue with me and I won’t even invite you to work with me unless I think I can really help you. Please contact me
 if you’d like to schedule a call, I’d love to talk with you.

Try this at home:
If you wonder about your purpose, and have about 10 min to play, here is an exercise that you might find helpful.

  1. Grab pen and paper and at the top of the page write ‘What would I do if I won the lottery?’
  2. Then give yourself two minutes to start listing all the things that come to mind. Don’t think about it too much, just start writing. You can always add to the list and make it longer, but the idea is to have at least five things on your list.
  3. Then put your pen down for a moment and close your eyes. Take a few deep breaths (or if you know HeartMath®, do the Quick Coherence® Exercise). Bring your attention back to the present moment.
  4. Then look at your list and ask yourself which of the things you wrote down resonates most for you at this moment. It is important to realize that tomorrow you may feel differently, so allow yourself to choose one thing for just today.
  5. Ask yourself: What about this is it that you like? Write down the quality that you experience if / when you would have or do the item on your list.
  6. Then ask yourself: what is it about this quality that is important to me? If I have this, what would that give me? And if I have that, what would that give me?
  7. Keep asking yourself this question, until you have at least 5 answers, but more is better. The deeper you get, the clearer you become about what is truly important to you.
  8. Once you have that final answer (or as far as you want to take it), then you can come up with ideas to bring that quality into expression, so you get to experience it!


To take my earlier example, if I would have done this exercise on that rainy afternoon, one of the things I would have written down would have been ‘Travel’. What was so important for me about that? Discovery! What would that give me? Excitement! What would that give me? New perspectives. What would that give me? A sense of bonding with others. What would that give me? Feeling connected; community; and ultimately: love…

Would I have done this exercise then, I probably wouldn’t have sold the house and traveled around the world. Again, it was an amazing experience that I still draw from. That said, the love that I get to have for my clients, helping them reach their goals and experience themselves as the amazing people they are, that is how I really get to live my purpose…

Here to support you,

Marije