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  • Writer's pictureErin Ratliff

Follow Your Bliss: How to Discover, Align, and Design A Life Based Around Your Passions + Purpose




If you're anything like me, insatiably curious and always looking for new ways to improve and be more intentional, then you've spent many an hours contemplating the BIG questions in life. I'm on a never-ending quest to create a life full of freedom, fulfillment and flow!


For heart-led solopreneurs, finding your purpose isn't just a personal quest—it's the compass that guides your business, shapes your brand, and connects you to your audience.


In this blog post, I'll explore some of the life-design concepts and philosophies that have emerged in the endless pursuit of pleasure, peace, and prosperity. We'll learn how to discover your purpose as a heart-led solopreneur, and how this transformative journey can set you apart in a crowded and competitive market.


"The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well."

Ralph Waldo Emerson


Ikigai: Your Reason for Being

According to Japanese culture, your Ikigai is 'your reason for living" or "the thing that you live for." Ikigai lies at the intersection of what you love and what you’re good at, vs what the world needs, and what you can get paid for. If those four qualities overlap, you’re on the road to happiness and health.

Your ikigai, or life's purpose is based on:

  • YOUR MISSION: What you love, your interests

  • YOUR VOCATION: What the world needs

  • YOUR PROFESSION: What you can get paid for

  • YOUR PASSION: What you are good at, your talents

Your Ikigai is the WHY you getting out of bed in the morning!


Other ways to explain it...

  • how you can contribute to the greater good

  • the art of doing something with supreme focus and joy

  • the science of having a clear direction and purpose

  • the pleasure in being busy and active- even after retirement!

  • the source of value and meaning in ones life.

  • the search for personal growth and spiritual enlightenment


Finding the "Sweet Spot"

A balanced and aligned ikigai contributes to your overall wellbeing:

  • MIND: intellectual stimulation

  • BODY: physical health, material wealth/financial prosperity

  • SPIRIT: strong relationships, a sense of purpose


As such, Ikigai is linked to longevity. Blue Zones research has shown that people who have a strong sense of purpose and fulfillment lead healthier and longer lives!

"Living intentionally means taking conscious actions toward your goals and values, instead of simply reacting to life's events."

Joshua Becker


Other Life Design Frameworks

Several alternative life-design frameworks have been introduced over the years. These present a different view of one's purpose, embracing the idea that Life is a wayfaring adventure, not a fixed or linear path.


Life Design enthusiasts believe true passion and purpose are ignited over time through trial and error. So rather than seeking your passion with a narrow tunnel vision mindset, you should branch out and engage in diverse activities. Over time your individual successes in these areas will illuminate themselves and the path will become more clear, like the pieces of a puzzle coming together.


Your life, and therefore your purpose, is something that evolves and changes as you evolve and change. As you have more experiences and continue to grow as a person, your sense of purpose will also continue to grow and evolve.


Lastly, there is also no single, sole rurpose or "right way", but several for each erson. As such, we must spend our time exploring and experimenting with various possibilities.


“We do not grow absolutely, chronologically. We grow sometimes in one dimension, and not in another; unevenly. We grow partially. We are relative. We are mature in one realm, childish in another. The past, present, and future mingle and pull us backward, forward, or fix us in the present. We are made up of layers, cells, constellations.”

Anaïs Nin



Why Does Purpose Matter As An Entrepreneur?


Finding your purpose is of paramount importance for small business owners because it serves as the driving force and guiding light behind every aspect of your journey. As a solopreneur, you are not just selling a product or service; you are sharing a piece of yourself with the world.

  1. Clarity & Focus: Your purpose gives you a clear sense of direction and enables you to align your actions and choices with your overarching mission.When you're driven by purpose and passion, you tap into a wellspring of drive and motivation. This fuels all your actions, helping you perservere and navigate challenges and setbacks with resilience.

  2. Authentication & Differentiation: Your purpose infuses authenticity into your brand, which builds trust and connection with your audience. This sets you apart from the crowd and allows you to attract clients and customers that resonate with your values and vision.

  3. Influence & Impact: As a solo entrepreneur, your purpose-driven business is your legacy. It's your unique platform to create meaningful and lasting impact in your industry, community, and the lives of those you serve. Your genuine care and commitment builds sustainable success as you consistently deliver value and build relationships.

  4. Personal Fulfillment The pursuit of purpose goes beyond financial gains; it's about personal fulfillment, contributing to the greater good, building confidence and a sense of accomplishment. When your work is aligned with your purpose, every achievement becomes deeply gratifying.

I


n the world of solo entrepreneurship, where you are the face, heart, and soul of your business, finding your purpose is not just a luxury—it's a necessity. It fuels your journey, shapes your brand, and empowers you to make a meaningful difference while achieving your business goals.


"The purpose of life is a life of purpose."

Robert Byrne



Myths & Misconceptions

There are a lot of myths and misconceptions about Purpose. We live in a culture that perpetuates the narrative that Purpose is something that you must find urgently, as if it is EVERYTHING, and you are nothing without it.


We are told Purpose should be our sole focus and if it isn’t, you are doing life wrong. We are taught that our soul will suffer if we don’t live in alignment with our your purpose. Lastly we are drilled with the message that your Purpose is the foundation of your identity, value worth.


Reality: Your Purpose is WHO You Are, not WHAT you are. It's your ability to serve at your core, not tied to a job or career. It is about the mark you make in the world regardless of external roles.


While, every individual has a life purpose which can bring them fulfillment and a larger sense of freedom, there is no perfect job or career that guarantees a specific outcome.Some individuals will be "late bloomers" and struggle to identify their mission or purpose until much later in life due to a variety of factors: age, astrology, personality, design.


People are drawn to entrepreneurship because they want to align with their soul's potential and purpose. Entrepreneurship and the "Girlboss" archetype is often glorified on social media and society. However, the reality is that entrepreneurship is not the right path for everyone. It is a lifestyle and life choice that can be EXTREMELY challenging and is not a guaranteed path to happiness or abundance.


Instead of automatically turning to entrepreneurship as our path to Purpose, we should prioritize personal fulfillment, exploration, and a close examination of how you want your life to feel. This approach may lead to a more genuine and sustainable sense of purpose.


Remember,

  • You are worthy and meant for greatness: prosperity AND purpose. Don't compromise yourself!

  • You are designed to do something unique and special that only you can do.It is your calling, a part of your destiny

  • There is meaning we can take from all of our experiences, even the challenging ones.


Of course monetizing our purpose can feel overwhelming- it's a lot of work, effort and discipline. BUT when that work is aligned with our gifts and talents, it becomes way easier and much more reciprocal.


" We can't be distracted by comparison if we are captivated by purpose"

Bob Goff


Practices to Support Your Journey

There are various exercises and toolkits to guide you closer to your passion and purpose. The concept of Ikigai originated in Eastern cultures, but Western interpretations inevitably began to branch off from the roots. It is a powerful concept that transcends cultural boundaries, highlighting the universal human desire to live with purpose.There is no "wrong" way to approach your pursuit of a balanced and meaningful life. Take what resonates and leave the rest!


Get Clarity

You must first figure out where you currently lie in the Ikigai matrix before you can know where to go next!

  • Feeling Satisfied, but Useless: What you Love + What you're Good At + What you're Paid for

  • Feeling Excitement, but Uncertainty: What you Love + What the World Needs + What you're Paid For

  • Feeling Full, but Impoverished: What you Love + What the World Needs + What You're Good at

  • Feeling Comfortable, but Empty: What you're Good at + What you're Paid for + What the world needs


Stop trying to find your purpose. Just keep following your curiosity, and your purpose will find you.

Core Values Compass

A Values Compass is a self-awareness tool to help individuals identify their core values, which can help guide your actions and decisions, ultimately resulting in greater fulfillment and meaning.


Researchers have identified ten universal values or virtues in life. The values below are more likely to lead to lasting happiness and personal growth.

  • ACHIEVEMENT: Accomplishment, Productivity/Effeciency, Competence, Mastery, Success,

  • STIMULATION: Boldness, Challenge, Confidence, Courage, Creativity, Curiosity, Determination, Exploration, Novelty, Vitality, Inspiration, Imagination, Connection, Zest for Life

  • SELF-DIRECTION: Assertiveness, Autonomy, Authenticity, Choice, Focus, Honesty, Imagination, Independence, Open-mindedness, Passion, Self-awareness, Self-respect, Space, Freedom/Flexibility, Self-Sufficiency, Self-Sovereignty

  • BENEVOLENCE: Affection, Altruism, Charity, Compassion, Forgiveness, Giving, Gratitude, Kindness, Love, Teamwork, Thoughtfulness



In contrast, the following values can only provide fleeting fulfillment or satisfaction in your life. That's not a bad thing, just something to be aware of.

  • CONFORMITY: Accountability, Courtesy, Obedience, Politeness, Self-Discipline

  • POWER: Authority, Competition, Control, Fame, Recognition, Reputation, Status



These are the more neutral values:

  • TRADITION: Roots, Community, Family, Home, Religion/Faith, History, Humility, Legacy, Loyalty, Respect for Others

  • SECURITY: Approval/Belonging, Fairness, Harmony/Balance, Health, Stability, Wealth, Trust, Sustainability, Longevity, Safety/Protection, Clarity/Transparency, Consistency/Predictability

  • HEDONISM: Abundance/Prosperity, Amusement, Beauty, Bliss/Enjoyment, Joy/Pleasure, Serendipity/Synchronicity, Convenience/Comfort

  • UNIVERSALISM: Peace/Acceptance, Awe/Wonder, Wisdom/Consciousness/Transcendence, Diversity/Inclusion/Accessibility, Environmentalism/Interconnectedness/Nature, Heroism/ Selflessness, Impact, Justice, Intuition, Spirituality, Purpose/Meaning, Growth/Potentiality, Simplicity


The process involves creating an outer circle with 20 values considered most important to you. From there, narrow that to 10, and then lastly create an inner circle where the top 5 core values are determined.


"Do whatever brings you to life, then. Follow your own fascinations, obsessions, and compulsions. Trust them. Create whatever causes a revolution in your heart."

Elizabeth Gilbert


Journaling & Reflection

The questions below are. thekey to revealing your purpose. Their answers can identify some possible aspirations and an appropriate path forward. Go through your list-making and slowly widdle it down to what feels like your truth. The final combination will be unique to you, which means you have a statistical significant advantages in achieving it!


YOUR VALUES: What do you deeply care about?

  • What matters most to you

  • What are you willing to struggle for

  • What breaks your heart

YOUR MISSION: What do you love doing?

  • What activities give you joy, energy, engagement, and fulfillment.

  • What activates you

  • What day-to-day adult experiences feel natural, good or easy to you

  • What chidhood interests did you have

  • Be as specific as possible. Don't worry if it's a long list.

  • Bonus for things you enjoy doing that others typically dont!

YOUR PASSION: What are you naturally skilled at?

  • What are you committed to

  • What are you better at, or have to potential to be better at, than 90% of other people.

  • What do friends ask for your help or support on

YOUR VOCATION: What's necessary or advantageous for the world?

  • What is your contribution

  • Which parts of your list provide positive impact for others, big or small.

YOUR PROFESSION: What can you get paid for doing?

  • What would be easy or straightforward to monetize


Test & Monitor

Develop "prototypes" of your potential life paths and test them in the real world.

Take meaningful action every day towards your interests and excitements with:

  • URGENCY. Do it as quickly and frequently as you can.

  • INTENSITY. Do it to the best of your ability. Take it to the farthest edge of your comfort zone, or ideally far beyond!

  • DETACHMENT. Do it with absolutely no insistence, assumption or expectation of what the outcome should be.

  • ACCEPTANCE. Do it with the understanding of your limitations and fears.

  • POSITIVITY. Do it in a positive state regardless of what setbacks occur.

  • CURIOSITY. Do it with constant creativity, innovation and investigation.

  • AUTHENTICITY. Do it with respect to your truest self, even if it means encountering challenges and discomfort or going against societal norms or expectations.



After you've gained new "data" and insight, release and replace what no longer resonates and aligns. Celebrate when you come across paths that you dislike, as clarity comes from contrast! Refine your direction and keep expirementing.


Optimize Your Spaces

Feng shui can help you shifting the energy in your space so that your intentions come into alignment and manifest.

  • Ensure the front entrance of your home ("North") is clean and clutter free, optimized with natural light, plants and flowing water. Blues and blacks are also great here.

  • Make sure your home office is organize and optimized with storage solutions. It should also be a place of photos, achievements, awards and positive memories and reminders of your success.


"Value making a difference more than you value making a fortune."

Lynne Twist


Understand Your Design

Human Design is a wonderful tool that help us find our Purpose. The system acknowledges that there is no one-size-fits-all answer to Purpose and encourages us to spend our precious life exploring personal interests and leaning into what brings us joy.


In HD, it’s believed that your Soul chose the time and place to be incarnated, so in a way you’ve picked your Purpose before entering your physical body.


Considering the following details of your HD chart can provide insights into the strengths, needs and preferences of your innate wiring. By looking at your conscious AND unconscious you can discover what you are good at and what will bring you success.

  • YOUR TYPE: How to express your innate talents, your natural levels of working energy, how you would best lead others, and what your place would be on a team. Whether you are a Manifestor, Generators, Projector or Reflector, you will feel energetically drained if you're stuck soul-sucking job, environment or relationship.

  • YOUR PROFILE: How to embody your core Essence. This makes up about 70% of who you are and how to fulfill your Life's Work.

  • YOUR INCARNATION CROSS: How to live your archetype and life’s mission, which you may not realize or experience til later in life. The Incarnation Crosses are categorized into 3 types, each associated with a specific direction and energy.

    • Right Angle Cross - The Personal Destiny. Individuals with this cross are on a personal journey, learning about themselves and navigating the world based on their unique design. This is not to say they are self-centered; rather, their main task is to understand and embrace their individuality. Such individuals often find that their path, while deeply personal, serves as an example or guide for others. By living out their authentic design, they inadvertently inspire others to embark on their own journey of self-discovery.Challenges for them might arise when they feel pressured to conform or live according to someone else’s expectations. It’s essential for them to remember their journey is personal, and it’s in their best interest to stay true to themselves. The beauty of the Right Angle Cross is in witnessing the ripple effect. When one individual aligns with their personal destiny, they unknowingly give permission for others to do the same, creating a cascade of authenticity in the world around them.

    • Juxtaposition Cross - The Fixed Fate. Those with this cross have a specific and focused purpose in life. It’s like they’re on a straight road, moving towards a predestined goal. Their path is more singular and unwavering than the other crosses. Because of this fixed nature, individuals with a Juxtaposition Cross often find comfort in routines and consistency. They have a clear understanding of what they need to do and are methodical in their approach to life’s challenges. However, the challenge lies in the possibility of becoming too rigid. A strict adherence to routine or resistance to change can become limiting. It’s crucial for them to find a balance, to allow some flexibility while staying aligned with their fixed purpose. Another aspect of this cross is that while the journey is fixed, the destination’s impact is broad. Through their consistent and focused energy, these individuals have the potential to influence many, even if indirectly It’s essential for Juxtaposition Cross bearers to trust their path. While it might seem narrow or overly focused, it’s their unique way of influencing and making a difference in the world.

    • Left Angle Cross - The Transpersonal Destiny. The Left Angle Cross suggests that one’s life purpose is intertwined with others. Individuals with this cross are here to learn from interactions and relationships. Their journey is about mutual growth and understanding. These individuals often find themselves in positions where they are either guiding or being guided. There’s a dance of give and take, where both parties benefit from the relationship. It’s a path of mutual evolution. Challenges for those with a Left Angle Cross often revolve around relationships. They might find themselves in situations where they feel they’re giving more than they’re receiving or vice versa. It’s crucial for them to seek balance in their interactions and ensure mutual respect and growth. The beauty of this cross is in the shared journey. When two individuals come together for mutual evolution, the growth experienced is profound. The lessons learned and the wisdom gained are magnified due to the shared nature of the journey. The Left Angle Cross teaches the value of interconnectedness. It’s a reminder that while individual journeys are essential, there’s immeasurable growth potential when paths converge, and souls learn from one another.

  • YOUR CENTERS: Those with a Defined Identity Center are much more likely to feel "mission driven" whereas those with an Open Identity Center are not necessarily designed to have a clear and specific mission. They are encouraged to experience many aspects of life, be flexible, and focus on BEING rather than doing. Open Identity Centers may wrestle with deep questions to find their clarity and meaning.

  • DEFINITION: How to work best. Single Definitions may prefer to pursue their mission Solo and Independently because they process information quickly, whereas Split Definitions work well with a partner or group who can meet them where they need help.

  • VARIABLES: How to craft the right circumstances for your life. Human Design is an experiment, and your Digestion & Environment are often the easiest to play around with and modify when you feel dissatisfied or drained in life.



Your HD chart will rarely provide a specific job title for you to pursue. It is not there to prescribe or dictate your specific career choice or tell someone what they "should" do for their job. However it will offer a broader sense of direction and alignment with one's true self.


Ultimately, Human Design encourages individuals to trust themselves and make decisions aligned with their truth, which can lead to more fulfilling and aligned work. It opens individuals up to a bigger understanding of themselves and their potential.


If your goal was to serve people in the best way you know how, what would you do?


Principles of Purpose-Seeking


Start Where You Are

Your quest for purpose is a deeply personal journey. Everyone's purpose is unique to them and their individual perspective and priorities. Your approach to your life design will depend and vary based on your life stage, financial status, social status and relationship status.


One personal component is your neurodivergence. Ikigai may have specific advantages for individuals dealing with ADHD, as it can provide a sense of meaning and direction to their lives despite their "disorder." If you struggle with consistency, impulsivity and focus then aim to find dopamine-producing activities in your daily routines, and through regular philanthropic pursuits.


Accept your true self and any challenges or limitations you may have. This involves coming to terms with your strengths and weaknesses, including any personal struggles or diagnoses, and learning to live with and embrace them.


Pay Attention

You can find joy and meaning in small, everyday actions and experiences. Take small steps toward your goals and passions, recognizing that even modest efforts can lead to a sense of fulfillment and purpose.


Find activities and pursuits that align with your values, beliefs, and interests as these will bring you the most joy and fulfillment over the long term. The tiny moments of your life that often go unnoticed may actually be the hidden answer.


Take Your Time

Your purpose is not a goal or destination to reach. Your purpose is a PROCESS! As such, it may change and evolve across your life and should never be forced. People grow and progress at different speeds. Finding your purpose is a lifelong, ongoing and spontaneous journey of self-discovery and personal development, not a fixed life-long commitment.

Have fun, play and enjoy the journey! There is always a new opportunity, new possibilites and surprises around every corner.


It's important to focus on the here and now and be fully engaged in the current moment. Rather than dwelling on the past or constantly worrying about the future, be mindful and present can enhance your sense of purpose and contentment.


Stay Curious

Answering the questions below, without any self-judgment, will help to stimulate your inherent curiosity. And when you follow that inquisition often enough and long enough, eventually everything will become clear.


What excites you?

How do you like to serve?

What do you want to learn more about?

Who can you help?

What stories do you love to share?

What inspires you when you do it?


Redefine Success

Recenter your happiness away from external markers of success like social approval or material wealth. When we focus on external, ego-based motivators to determine or purpose, we only end up in a place of dissatisfaction and anxiety. Instead, aim to find contentment, joy, and satisfaction in everyday activities and actions. Love, connection and relationships are the foundation of a well-lived life!


Collaborating and contributing to your community is guaranteed to boost feelings of connectedness and purpose. Shift your mindset to prioritize the longterm good of the collective over the temporary gain of the individual and you can't go wrong!


Lastly, remember that life is not always easy or pleasant. Our fulfillment comes from the willingness to face challenges and work towards what truly matters to us.


Of course this is scary, especially for first-generation entrepreneurs or "black sheep". It may feel like you don't know what you're doing and it may seem like your progress is slow, but trust that you're doing BIG things. You're clearing past karma, releasing old wounds and completing cycles that were previously left open-ended. You're living and loving and evolving at lightspeed. You're maknig a difference. You're doing your best, and that's all that is needed.


"Chase your passion, not your pension."

Denis Waitley


Finding Peace & Harmony

Discovering one's purpose and passion not only has a profound impact on the individual but also reverberates through the collective. As individuals align with their true calling and embrace their passions, they radiate a sense of fulfillment and authenticity that ripples outward, inspiring and uplifting others.


We are all ONE. When one of us suffers we all do. And when one of us thrives, we all do.


This is at the heart of the concept of Ikigai, where each person's unique purpose and passion contribute to the greater harmony of society. Just as a well-functioning ecosystem relies on the symbiotic relationships between various elements, a thriving society flourishes when individuals are aligned with their Ikigai.


The pursuit of Ikigai fosters a sense of shared purpose and interconnectedness, as people collaborate, support, and celebrate one another's journeys. In this way, the concept of Ikigai embodies the belief that when individuals find their true calling and passion, they contribute to the greater tapestry of humanity, fostering a harmonious balance that uplifts the collective spirit.


"No one can compete with you on being you"

Naval Ravikant



Wrapping It Up


There is a lot of mainstream pressure to find your purpose. But when you’re truly living a purposeful life, you don’t even need to ask yourself the questions, “What is my purpose?” or “Do I have a purpose?”

Instead the question becomes, "What brings me joy or lights me up in this point of my life right now?"


Anxiously trying to find and declare your life purpose is the Ego simply wanting to numb and distract from the confusing and uncomfortable mess of being human.


True Purpose is about listening to Self, Spirit and Source, every day.

It's about surrendering, moment to moment, to the deepest truths within oneself, .


The experience of having purpose doesn’t need to held, chased, shouted, or defended. It’s not protecting you from any pain. So stop worrying about it. And simply start showing up to your life with

  • Curiosity

  • Sincerity

  • Integrity

  • Presence


This is where a purposeful life will find you.


It will find you because you have met all of yourself. You..

  • descended beneath the layers of story about who you should be and what you should do

  • dropped into and through those shadowy places of fear and uncertainty

  • sensitized yourself to the quiet whispers of your inner being

  • saw all the ways you’ve abandoned yourself

  • followed the pulse of your life, one beat at a time, because you did the actual work to hear it


As a heart-led solopreneur, the journey to finding your purpose is a transformative experience that goes beyond the challenges of building a business—it's about aligning your heart, soul, and vision. The process of purpose is big, messy, foggy, confusing and often long.


So allow yourself, really and truly, to be where you are, without beating yourself up for not being where you think you're "supposed" to be. Remind yourself why you're doing this and why it all matters: who you're here to help, what you're trying to do in the bigger picture.


It doesn't have to be difficult. It's actually simple, when you think about it: What you'd love to get paid for, but would also happily do for free and likely already spend your free time doing. THAT is your purpose, your passion, your dream iob. That is your WHY, and HOW you can find fulfillment in every step of life's journey.


Turn out, Energy Alchemy is MY Ikigai

  • What I Love: Researching, Writing, Marketing, Strategy

  • What I Am Good At: Researching, Writing, Marketing, Organization & Optimization

  • What The World Needs: Marketing, Organization, Wisdom, Support

  • What I Can Get Paid To Do: Freelance Marketing, Content Creation, Coaching


"Life Isn't About Finding Yourself. It's about Creating Yourself"

George Bernard Shaw

What's yours? Are YOU doing what you're meant to do?


If you're ready to ask,"What's the next good step I can take to be of service?" then I can help you find that answer. If you're ready to embark on this soul-searching journey and elevate your business to a new level of authenticity and impact, I'm here to support you every step of the way.


Whether you're just embarking on your entrepreneurial path or looking to realign with your core mission, let's explore how defining your passion and purpose can elevate your business to new heights.


I specialize in marketing, business coaching (with an HD lens!), and content creation that is not just about tactical strategy, but about infusing truth and vitality into every aspect of your brand.


Let's work together to uncover your unique voice, amplify your message, and create a business that resonates deeply with your audience. Reach out today to take the next step on your purpose-driven path.

 

Erin Ratliff is a certified feng shui consultant, holistic business coach and organic growth marketer for earth-loving, heart-centered soul-preneurs.



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