These days, there seems to be a lot of discussion in the world about “life purpose”. Certainly, I experience this to be the case in the various circles in which I find myself. Oh, the degree varies; the form and substance of the conversation changes. But the upshot of it all is the same: why am I here on this planet? My guess is that the popularity of this topic stems, at least in part, from the influence of individuals like Oprah, who often talk about discovering their purpose and the resulting sense of joy, fulfillment and excitement that comes from living into that.

Understanding your life purpose can be a wonderful thing, I really do believe this. I know first-hand that moment of exhilaration when you truly grasp what you feel called to do and why. It’s liberating, for sure. That being said, what I also know is that it can be daunting. Forget daunting; it can be downright terrifying. For so many people, as they sit with the question of what their purpose is, they discover a task that is monumental. As a result, they feel paralyzed by the calling, and try to push the calling aside. For others, the fear that the calling might be daunting, stops them from entertaining the question in the first place.

Well, my experience tells me that, like it or not, each and every one of us – including you – is on the planet for a very specific purpose. You’re not here just to live and breathe and take up space. There is something you are meant to do, something you are meant to share, something you are meant to accomplish. And while the thought of discovering what that something is might be overwhelming, ignoring that something will ensure that you start to feel stagnant, despondent and unfulfilled – at some point – and lack of fulfillment and meaning is never fun. Trust me.

So, how do you go about discovering your life purpose, and then living into it, without feeling overwhelmed by the very thought? In short, think in smaller chunks. More specifically, think in terms of impact.

Rather than holding the question of what your purpose is, get curious about what you want your impact to be. How do you want to impact the people around you, or the world around you? Like it or not, you are always having an impact. Think about a sandy beach. The slightest touch, even a breath of air, impacts the sand, moving it – perhaps subtly, but moving it nonetheless. In the same way, by showing up, you have an impact. When you get conscious and deliberate about how you show up, your impact can be absolutely powerful. Consciousness always leads to really meaningful interactions with the world. And when you take on the challenge of life purpose from the smaller platform of “impact”, you end up accomplishing what you’re meant to, but in a much more manageable way.

I once heard the question asked, how do you eat an elephant? The answer: one bite at a time. When it comes to your life, living into your life purpose can feel like trying to eat that elephant. Focusing on your impact allows you to accomplish your purpose one, small, meaningful bite at a time.

Bottom-line: life purpose can be daunting, for sure; and it doesn’t have to be. There’s a liberation that comes from knowing and living out your purpose. Allow yourself that liberation; focus on having your desired impact. And experience the freedom of knowing that you’re doing what you’re meant to do, not just from time to time, but in each and every moment.

Author's Bio: 

Gail Barker is a Certified Professional Life Coach and Co-Author of The Control Freak's Guide to Living Lightly. Since 2002, Gail has supported hundreds of professional women, through coaching, workshops, and her monthly ezine, in shifting their lives from chaos to calm; her coaching practice revolves around the concept of ease. For Gail, life is all about having every person experience success on their terms. To this end, she invites you to ask yourself, "whose life are you living?", and if your answer is anything other than "my own", visit Stellar Coaching and Consulting at to get on your own path to success.