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Why Your Career and Purpose Don’t Have to Be the Same Thing

Everyone wants to find their purpose in life. Oftentimes, that’s thought to go hand-in-hand with your career—being able to get paid to live out your passion and do the one thing you were meant to do. But despite what many people grew up believing, your career and purpose don’t have to be the same thing.

When you’re constantly in search of a career that leaves you feeling like you’re carrying out your purpose, and those puzzle pieces don’t quite fit together, it can leave you feeling incredibly unfulfilled. It can also make you feel like you’re doing something wrong. That’s why Jenny Jaucian, a California-based trainer and wellness coach, is trying to teach her clients something important: your career and purpose can be totally different things. And realizing that allows you to actually find the purpose-filled life you’ve been searching for.

“You might have a career in finance or marketing, but your purpose might be different,” she says. “You can live a beautiful, purposeful life every single day—even when you’re not in your dream career. Do what you’re passionate about, do what gives you joy and happiness, and do it with vigor and passion.”

Take Jaucian, for example. While her career is being a trainer and helping people get stronger physically, she feels as though her true purpose is helping people live happier lives. “Not just in fitness, but in an all-encompassing holistic lifestyle sense,” she says. If you’re struggling with finding what your purpose is outside of your day job, she recommends taking a step back and really digging deep.

“We get so caught up into our day-to-day lives—wrapped up in the stress of work and deadlines—and we forget to smell the roses and take in gratitude. Take a moment to step into gratitude and figure out why you’re supposed to be here,” she says. “It’s really nice to have those moments of reflection. Maybe it’s when you’re sipping your cup of coffee, or when you’re on a walk. Think about what you want to be known for.”

Don’t get intimidated, either. Your purpose doesn’t have to be Gandhi-level. Jaucian says the key is thinking about what you want to be known for, or how you want people to remember you. “It doesn’t need to change the world. It doesn’t have to impact millions of lives. But it does need to be your own,” she says. Then it’s time to live your purpose, no matter what your day job looks like.

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