Your life purpose is the same as everyone else

Casey Onder, PhD
4 min readOct 31, 2021
Photo by Smart on Unsplash

We tend to look for purpose like it’s gold at the end of the rainbow.

I traveled worldwide to find it.

It took me years and lots of coaching later, but I finally realized that the answers were inside of myself.

It may sound cliche to say it. But often the deepest and hardest-to-realize truths are the simplest: Your life purpose is becoming the best version of yourself. That’s true for you, for me, and for everyone else.

Yes you’ll need to take action, and go to places you’ve never been, outside and inside of yourself, to find it.

But no matter how far you go, in the end it’s a homecoming.

Here are some questions to ask if you find yourself longing for greater purpose or your “life purpose” even:

  1. What am I feeling called to do in this life?
  2. Where am I feeling stuck? What am I saying yes to and no to in how my career/life is currently set up? What’s my rationale?
  3. Who am I at my highest and best? (I recommend getting feedback from friends to help you uncover this… family and work colleagues can be helpful but they’re also more likely to reflect masks and survival strategies)
  4. What do I really want?
  5. How do I want to be remembered?
  6. Who do I want to be when I grow up (versus what)? If I were this person, what would I create in the world?
  7. Who do I most admire in the world? What is it about them?
  8. If I had 12 months where I didn’t have to work, basic living expenses and all creative projects (artistic, entrepreneurial, reform-related) funded, what would I do with them?
  9. If not now, when have I felt the most alive and like myself? What was true about how I showed up? What did I do then?
  10. What’s beyond the problem?

Realizing your purpose depends on one very important factor: Freedom.

If you don’t feel as though you are a free agent in this life (even with your various responsibilities and commitments), you will struggle to connect with your purpose, period.

In spiritually inclined personal development circles, this is also referred to as “victim mentality.” It’s harsh phrasing. And those who have been victims in reality are more likely to have it. I have a lot of compassion. Regardless of how it came about and is being reinforced currently, evolving out of it is part and parcel of the journey toward realizing purpose.

Michael Beckwith distinguished 4 stages of spiritual consciousness we can go through:

  1. To me — This is the same as victim mentality as we see life as happening to us — for better or for worse. Often it has a negative tone, blaming ourselves, our others or the world for not being “as it should.” It can also look like various forms of distraction and numbing, and expecting something or someone else to support us and make us happy.
  2. By me — This is a more empowered stage where we realize that regardless of what life throws at us, we are in the driver’s seat to change things. We begin connecting to what we want deep down, and taking action to get it. We have personal goals and set out to achieve them.
  3. Through me — This stage is about surrender. Where ego, empowerment and identity issues are at play (anything related to our experience and embodiment of “self”), people are more likely to jump from #1 to #3 directly as with spiritual bypassing. They’ll still need to go back to #2 and gain resolution, as I have. Surrender is not complacency. It’s trusting that there are infinite possibilities for every situation and that the answers and pathways that emerge and call to us are the right ones.
  4. As me — This is Buddha-level enlightenment where we experience Oneness and deep connection with ourself, others and the universe. We realize that everything we could possibly need or want already exists within us. It’s also known as love.

Finding purpose is a journey through these 4 stages. Some people stay in #1 their whole lives. Lots of successful people remain in #2, wondering from time to time or often “Is this it?” Others achieve glimpses of #3 and #4 only to fall back again, tripping on ongoing unfinished business of being imperfect and human.

Finding purpose AKA becoming our best selves is a journey of a lifetime — literally — and it can be greatly expedited if we’re open and wiling to make the trip.

For more work-related tips and inspiration, sign up for my Magical Mondays newsletter at caseyonder.com.

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Casey Onder, PhD

Executive Coach | Psychologist | PhD. Follow me on LinkedIn or sign up for my newsletter @ caseyonder.com.