How to Tell if You Are Misaligned With Your Purpose

Three key ways to assess if you are aligned with your purpose—or not.

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When you find yourself feeling drained or unhappy in your work, it’s important to ask yourself whether you’re experiencing the normal growing pains of career growth or if your discomfort is actually revealing something deeper. 

As you move towards greater alignment with your purpose, it’s important to remember that this is an ongoing process and that moving through difficult experiences is part of the journey. Be kind to yourself. Be patient. Take some time to explore these three clarifying ways to help shed some light on the path to living your purpose.

1. Distinguish between learning and undue suffering

There is no doubt that it is important to experience challenges and overcome struggles in order to learn. The great social reformer and writer Fredrick Douglass famously said, “if there is no struggle, there is no progress.” Be clear, however, when a challenge causes excessive or undue suffering that no longer promotes learning. Some suffering is to be expected during challenging times. Ongoing suffering may indicate that you may need to move on. 

Illustration by Edmon de Haro

2. Keep an energy journal

Track the experience of being drained versus being energized. If your work or life situation leaves you feeling predominantly drained with little to no experience of enjoyment, inspiration or positive energy, that may be a clear sign that you are misaligned. Are you consistently very stressed? Are you predominantly in a bad state of mind or negative-feeling state when engaged in your life or work activities? Consider what actions it would take to move from being drained to being energized and experiencing vibrancy in your situation. 

3. Recognize when you are disconnected from your values

Simply stated, your values are the qualities in life that you consider most important to you. If your situation takes you further away from rather than closer to your values, that is a sure sign you are misaligned. Have you ever written down what’s most important to you? Take some time to think about that so you can actively seek congruence between your values and your everyday life. In this way you can begin to  ensure you are living and working  true to your purpose.

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