Why is it so hard to find life purpose?

Exposure, Ability, Career

The answer to this question is drawn from our deep experience, the many books we’ve read and conferences we’ve attended. There seem to be three basic reasons that make finding life purpose difficult:

  1. Exposure – you just haven’t been exposed to anything that’s given you the true key to what you want.
  2. Ability – you follow what you are good at or can do but it doesn’t connect for you or feed your soul.
  3. Career – just because you don’t have a career doesn’t mean you don’t have a life purpose. 


In general, the higher the level of education you have, the more “things” you are likely to be exposed to. The same is true of wealth. If your parents are/were wealthier then they could and would invest money and time in trying many new things.

However, the world is full of possibilities, full of niches and full of jobs we’ve never heard of. Just think of how many subjects there are in the world that you don’t even know about. So, there’s a very good chance you haven’t been exposed to, or aren’t aware of something that draws you into your purpose. 

Now, we’re not pretending we can give our clients exposure to everything. However, what we’ve found is that most people have had exposure to something in their personal past that they’ve forgotten about which is a key. Or, they have never had the time to give themselves permission to actively look at a range of alternatives.

Either way, uuness helps plug the exposure problem by looking at your past systematically and giving you exercises to look wider than you usually would.

So the answer? In short – the more you look, the wider you look, the more likely you are to find!


You’re a ‘human being’ not a ‘human doing’ and you’ve likely fallen into doing something that you are good at rather than doing something you love.

Often you will make an initial choice that leads you down a path. This path leads to a series of choices based on what you are good at and that then becomes your work or career path. 

There are real problems with this. Just because you are good at something doesn’t mean it gives you a sense of purpose. Because you tend to follow what you are good at – you can end up feeling like a ball in a pin ball machine, endlessly bouncing around, always moving forwards, but in no particular direction. Your life is essentially random.

It’s only by taking two steps back, by looking at what you are good at and what drives you, along with clues in your past that you can find out where your purpose lies.

For example, some of our clients are from finance, they were good at numbers and science and that’s why they ended up there. However, just helping banks or institutions make more money hasn’t provided them a strong sense of meaning. But does that mean they can’t have a sense of purpose if they are good at finance? Of course not – they could use their skills working in an organisation which is aligned with their purpose. They could be the finance director in a charity, a research funding organisation or an organisation they care about. They could create their own business based around their purpose.

So, the answer? In short, purpose and ability need to be aligned.


Does my life purpose only cover my career? Absolutely not, it covers all elements of my life. What about if I’m not working – does that mean I don’t have a purpose? Absolutely not and we’ll cover that below.

Here’s an example, of an artist who struggled to see how his work and life purpose could come together.

His purpose was based around creativity. At the end of the process, uuness helped this artist to uncover a very specific purpose, but for the sake of illustration let’s just go with the general idea of creativity. He couldn’t see how to connect his personal and professional life. He felt like a human being split in half. He felt like he was living two lives and that made him feel disconnected from both his family and, internally, his work. 

For him he realised he could bring creativity into his personal life. He thought differently from many people and he realised he could share that with the people in their lives, giving them, for example, original solutions to their life problems. He was constantly interested in new ideas and he realised that part of his purpose was to share them. In other words – he aligned his two worlds because he found his life purpose. 

Those who don't Work

You may not be working, you may be on “gardening leave” or taking a career break. You could be a full time mother or father, or you could be blissfully unemployed. So how does purpose relate to you?

Perhaps it’s stating the obvious but there is no better time to look at your purpose than right now. The problems with taking a break without a disciplined approach to looking at life differently are two-fold.

Firstly – you maybe tempted by the first decent offer that comes along. It’s a “rush” to be wanted and it’s dangerous as you are likely to end up doing something similar in a different environment. While a new culture may be better even if it’s not where your ‘why’ is, you’ll still end up in the same place.

The second situation is very common, you maybe offered a contract that pays well and end up going through a new path without thinking whether it’s for you or not. We’re not saying you shouldn’t experiment, quite the contrary, we’d argue you definitely should. It’s better to experiment in a direction you think you might like to go than blindly trying a whole lot of random things.

So the answer? In short – take the time to know where you are going if you have the time!

According to Gallup, 28% of female home makers are depressed versus 17% of working women. Being at home can be really tough, it can lead to loneliness and a lost sense of purpose for some people. There’s a sense in which people without a career, can, we stress can, lack purpose. However, that absolutely need not be the case! Of course if you have a new baby you simply may not have time for anything else! However some homemakers do.

The important thing is that your purpose doesn’t necessarily need to involve money or generating money. It may just be about finding something from your past, maybe a passion or an aptitude that you’ve forgotten about. A lot of people, according to Ken Robinson’s book, “Finding Your Element” are introduced to something in the wrong way and write it off. As Ken Robinson says: 

“To find your Element you may have to challenge your own beliefs about yourself. Whatever age you are, you’ve almost certainly developed an inner story about what you can do and what you can’t do; what you are good at and what you’re not good at”. As a result we’d recommend you take some aptitude tests which are shown below. Finding something you care about can also help you hugely if you want to go back to work.”


So the answer? In short – finding your purpose needn’t be about generating money, it can be as simple as finding something you love and contributing. 

Here are some great links to help you:

VARK questionnaire – to find your learning style https://vark-learn.com/ 

Strengths Finder https://www.gallup.com/cliftonstrengths/en/home.aspx 

Aptitudes matching career https://careerscope.com/