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5 Common Mistakes People Make When Trying To Find Their Purpose

Written by: Craig Stanland, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.


Our priorities change as we approach the early stages of the second half of our lives. We begin to understand that our constant pursuit of money, prestige, and status does not provide the feelings we want. If anything, we understand they're taking us further from who we want to be and what we want to create. We desire meaning and fulfillment; we want our lives to mean something. We want to reinvent our lives with purpose. So now purpose becomes our focus, and our focus gets cloudy because of these 5 common mistakes.

A photo of tired man resting after fitness run, taking a break from cardio training and doing wellness exercise on the road.


When I find my purpose, it will fix everything.

The idea that everything, your entire life's happiness, hinges on finding your purpose is far too much pressure to put on oneself.

What happens when you chase a dog? The dog runs away; it thinks it's playtime.

What happens when you become intentional, stop chasing and stand still? The dog comes to you.

We don't find purpose by chasing it down like a dog. Instead, we find our purpose when we become purposeful.

Drop the pressure and watch what happens.

Over Consumption:

Far too many people fall into the content trap.

There's more information available to us than at any other time in history, and it's easy to go down the "How to Find Your Purpose" rabbit hole.

Videos on YouTube like "Find Your Purpose in Only Five Minutes" are rampant.

Ask yourself this: If one of them worked, then why are people still making them?

Stop looking externally for the answer that lives internally.

Ignoring Fear:

"The very cave you are afraid to enter turns out to be the source of what you are looking for."

‒ Joseph Campbell

"What we fear doing most is usually what we most need to do."

‒ Ralph Waldo Emmerson

"Where your fear is, there is your task."

‒ Carl Jung

These quotes aren't lip-service; they're the truth.

Whatever scares you the most demands your inquisition; it requires excavation and exploration.

Through this exploration and excavation, you will learn more about yourself than any book or video could ever teach.

Fear is a beacon lighting your path to purpose.

Automatic Pilot:

At our cores, humans are efficiency-seeking machines. It's part of our survival wiring; the fewer calories we burn, the better our long-term survival.

A life set to automatic pilot is the essence of efficiency.

It's also the antithesis of a life of purpose and meaning.

Expecting something new (like your purpose) to spring from the mundanity of your status quo magically is like expecting snow in the Sahara.

Break your pattern, change your life.

Financial Anxiety:

"How am I going to replace my salary with my purpose?"

"How can I make a living from my purpose?"

Yes, there are bills to pay, roofs to maintain, and mouths to feed.

This is a reality of life.

But in the nascent stages of cultivating one's purpose, worrying about how you will pay your bills is antithetical to the cultivation of purpose.

The cultivation of purpose is akin to the cultivation of a seed.

The seed, and your purpose, need nurturing to grow, and they need space to grow.

Financial anxiety crushes purpose. Let it go and give yourself the room you require.

Our purpose, calling, life's task, personal legend, whatever we may want to call it, is our path to a life of meaning and fulfillment.

It's also a journey, and it's a journey that takes time, patience, courage, and resilience.

You'll move further and faster when you avoid these 5 mistakes.

You'll also discover one of the secrets of cultivating your purpose:

The journey is the reward.

Let's talk if you're ready to invest in 1:1 support so you can write your extraordinary life story.

My best-selling book, "Blank Canvas, How I Reinvented My Life After Prison," is available on Amazon.

My book is for Gen X-ers who want to reinvent themselves with a new, empowering mindset so they can cultivate joy, purpose, meaning, and fulfillment in the second half of their lives.

Follow me on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and visit my website for more info! Read more from Craig!


Craig Stanland, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Craig Stanland is a Reinvention Architect & Mindset Coach, TEDx & Keynote Speaker, and Best-Selling Author.

In 2012, Craig Stanland made a choice that would cost him everything. After exploiting the warranty policy of one of the largest tech companies in the world for almost a year, the FBI finally knocked on his door.

He was arrested and sentenced to 2 years of Federal Prison, followed by 3 years of Supervised Release, and ordered to pay $834,307 in restitution. He lost his wife, his homes, his cars, his career, and even his identity. He wanted nothing more than to die.

A well-timed prison visit from his best friend of over thirty years turned his life around.

Craig rebuilt and reinvented his life from rock bottom to a life of meaning and fulfillment.

As a Reinvention Architect, Craig leverages his experiences and personal reinvention to work 1:1 with clients so they can re-architect their lives with freedom, passion, purpose, fulfillment, and meaning.

Craig's mission is to help people cultivate the courage to pursue their calling so they can live meaningful lives.

His book, "Blank Canvas, How I Reinvented My Life After Prison" is available on Amazon.



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