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Four simple ways to find purpose in everyday life

Finding a sense of purpose doesn't have to mean adding more to your plate, and it can help reduce stress and anxiety

PORTLAND, Maine — Nell Derick Debevoise is the founder and CEO of Inspiring Capitol, which works with managers and team leaders to help others find purpose in life and in work. She offers up four ways to find purpose in what you're already doing each day:

1. Self-care can be simple, quick, and affordable, and it is a necessary ingredient to be purposeful in today’s context. It’s the “oxygen mask” metaphor: if you’re not OK, you can’t effectively support others.  

  • Make one of your calls a “walk and talk,” and agree to pace around your apartment or walk around the block during a conversation with a colleague that doesn’t require viewing documents.

2. We can also find purpose in our relationships with family members and friends. 

  • By taking the time to make a healthy meal for your family, you set them up for a productive, balanced day. We often undervalue caretaking, but it can be a massively impactful activity that influences the people we care for, and consequently the people that they interact with.

3. Simple acts in your community can be connected to your purpose too.  

  • Perhaps you support local businesses by buying from them rather than Amazon. Choosing to shop locally and encouraging friends and neighbors to do the same is a great way to achieve this. Having the patience that is sometimes required when shopping in smaller stores helps invigorate your local economy, create jobs, and build community relationships.

4. Finally, we all use money somehow through the course of the day, and you don’t have to be rich to find purpose in the ways that you spend it.  

  • First and foremost, consider what you buy each day. What are you buying, and from whom? Buying less is a powerful contribution to reducing environmental degradation. And when you do buy things you need, choose to support local businesses and/or those that are owned by women and people of color to help reduce the wealth gap.
  • You can contribute to solving the problems you care about by donating to nonprofits, even on a small level: recurring gifts of $5-$50 a month helps local organizations keep the lights on! 
  • And whatever investments you are making, whether a small retirement account of mutual funds or direct angel deals, consider who and what you’re investing in. There are lots of ESG-screened funds and impact-specific networks and investors that are seeking market, or better, returns! 
  • To learn more about Nell Derick Debevoise, click here

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