Still waiting on your dream life? Here’s how to take all that self-help advice and actually put it to use.

You’ve read all the books on how to find your purpose or passion. You’ve journaled. You’ve read the articles and tried everything they told you to do. Yet you’re still waiting on your dream life.

But life isn’t like Santa, and it won’t bring you everything on your wish list. Finding your purpose requires hard work and more steps than all those self-help books tell you about.

Here’s how you can take that advice and actually make it work:

1. Find your passion(s) and your mission or purpose statement, but don’t stop there

Simply writing a mission or purpose statement isn’t enough. I once wrote a mission statement for my life, but I naively thought I’d wake up the next morning and my fulfilling dream life would come to me automatically.

I mean, I’d found my purpose. I knew my passions. Where the heck was my dream life? I struggled a few more years with trying to find a way to actually use that stupid little sentence I wrote down.

You crave being able to make a living helping people and getting to spend every day doing things you love. You’re not alone in that, but it’s important to focus on acting as well.

2. Start acting and trying things out

It isn’t always about going back to school for a new degree or immediately quitting your job and looking for another. Sometimes it’s about trying something first to see if it’s how you’d like to make a living from your passions and purpose.

Get your feet wet. Brainstorm ways you can combine your passions and purpose. Then start volunteering, job shadowing or finding part-time jobs that allow you to try an interesting area out. If you feel your purpose in life is to make the world a healthier place, you could volunteer at your local yoga studio or gym. Or you could get certified and teach before or after work, or on the weekends.

You may find it doesn’t fit, and that’s fine. You can go back to the drawing board and try something else for a few weeks or months. You could shadow a nutritionist or health coach. Or maybe you start volunteering as a kids’ sports coach and find you love working with kids and helping them be healthier.

So, you decide to go back to school at night and become a gym teacher. This career fits you and your passions and purpose well, plus you love the idea of summers off to travel and sleep in. You do this knowing that it’ll be something you really do enjoy…but see number three just in case.

3.  This process works, but it’s not a magic cure

Life changes, and sometimes our passions or purpose shift slightly, too. You may find you don’t enjoy teaching after five or 10 years. You may feel like you’ve failed again—that you’re doing something wrong in life. But it’s that change thing.

Go back to the drawing board and have another brainstorming session. Get your feet wet a few more times.

What’s worse: going back to the drawing board or hating your job again?

Ashlee Thurlow helps multi-passionate women brainstorm ways to combine their passions and purpose into a career that allows them to live the fun and flexible life they crave.


  1. Barbara Mckinney

    Making a career move is not an easy way, To make the right choice, you have to decide what factors are most important to you in a new job, and then you have to choose the option that best addresses your skills and qualities.

  2. Melissa Burkheimer

    I love tip #2. When I was in college I had to shadow someone for 8 hours and write about it – was my best experience ever. Great post Ashlee!

    • Ashlee Thurlow

      That’s awesome! I had to do something similar in high school and it sincerely helped me choose a career path without loosing my mind (as much!)

    • MariaWebby

      I agree.I also like tip#2.Start acting and trying things out..
      You may find it doesn’t fit, and that’s fine…
      replica furniture

  3. Pramilda

    I love that you talk about not stopping once you find your passion and your purpose because we do change and grow and I have also found we can look back after some time and see that nothing we ever tried to be a mistake. There is always a dot that connects one experience to the other. The things we learned, always carry over and fill another space in what we have moved onto.

    • Ashlee Thurlow

      “we can look back after some time and see that nothing we ever tried to be a mistake.” Pramilda I love that! So true & so wise!

  4. Anna Graham Hunter

    I think #3 is inevitable. I’ve worked with so many clients who were searching for the holy grail of careers/passions/missions, and I always believed that they were setting themselves up for disappointment by trying to figure out what would make them happy for the rest of their lives. Our passions and missions change over the years not just because we change and grow. We also learn about opportunities and fields we never knew existed. Fulfilling careers will always be iterative. That can be frustrating, but also exciting.

    • Ashlee Thurlow

      Exactly Anna! It’s so true but a lot of people still feel we need the 40 year career like our parents/grandparents and that’s just not the case anymore.

  5. Maegan Anderson

    “Brilliant Article. Really interesting to those who doubt themselves for choosing their career. As they say, reduce fear and have more confidence to accomplish everything you want.

  6. On Writing This Week from

    […] 3 Essential Tips for Finding Your Purpose — for Real This Time […]

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