According to our guest blogger Tessa Mills, fertility awareness educator and founder of EmpowHERed Coaching, the first step in living a purposeful life is to define what that would look like for you. Let's get started with these 8 questions. 

Tessa Mills_PbP_BlogHave you ever wondered why you’re here and what your purpose is? This can be challenging to think about, especially if you find yourself doing work that doesn’t feel purposeful. And unfortunately, our culture teaches us to chase academic degrees and professional titles to achieve fulfillment. These things can be important to some, but I don’t believe anyone finds purpose by chasing surface-level achievements.

I believe purpose can only be found when we serve others using our unique blend of passions, skills and experiences. So how DO you figure out how to live a more purposeful life? There really isn’t one “right” way, and it’s helpful to first define what living a purposeful life would look like for YOU.
I’m going to share how I discovered my purpose by learning from others who lived purposeful lives. I’ll share some questions you can ask yourself that will help guide you toward finding purpose and truly enjoying your life.

How I Found My Purpose
Before I became a fertility awareness educator, I worked for a cancer control coalition and met several cancer survivors who were incredibly passionate about improving cancer care and prevention. Some of these people educated healthcare providers about their treatment experiences in hope of improving care for others. Others spent time advocating for policies that expanded access to prevention and screening programs. These incredible people had one thing in common: a desire to prevent others from going through what they had.

I found myself inspired by their dedication to using their skills and experiences to prevent unnecessary suffering. They all recognized a gap in their journey, whether it be the early detection of their cancer, treatment or follow-up care, and they set out to make sure it wouldn’t happen to others.

Their example helped me discover my purpose when I recognized a gap in women’s reproductive healthcare. For years my irregular cycles were dismissed by doctors. I was always told they weren’t important unless I was trying to have a baby, and the only option to treat them was birth control. It wasn’t until I stopped taking birth control and began charting my cycles using fertility awareness methods that I was able to collect data and advocate for myself. This helped me get to the root cause of my issue, and that’s when I learned I had Hashimotos, an autoimmune disorder that attacks the thyroid.

Getting to the root cause of my disorder helped me get proper treatment that drastically improved my quality of life. It quickly became my mission to help other women get to the root cause of their reproductive health concerns through fertility awareness methods. And since I’ve always been passionate about women’s health and enjoy teaching, I started a business as a fertility awareness educator. It’s incredibly fulfilling to wake up each day knowing that I get to use my passions and skills to help others. I truly enjoy my work, and that is incredibly rewarding.

How to Find Your Purpose
The first step in living a purposeful life is to define what that would look like for you. Think about some of the following things:

1. When you wake up in the morning, who would you be excited about serving?
2. What things would you enjoy helping them with?
3. How do you want to feel at the end of each day?
4. At the end of your life, what would you want to say you contributed to the world?

Once you’ve defined purpose for yourself, you can begin digging into what your purpose might be. Give yourself plenty of time to reflect and answer the following questions:

1. What topics or subjects were you drawn to as a child?
2. What topic(s) could you spend all day reading about or researching?
3. What are some of your life experiences in these topic areas?
4. Of those experiences, where did you notice gaps or problems? What do you think needs to be improved?

Once you’ve spent some time answering these questions, look at your responses. Are there any overlapping themes? Those overlapping themes are good indicators of your passions, skills and experiences. Look at those gaps or problem areas you experienced. Talk to others who may have had similar experiences and ask them what they saw as gaps. Think about how you might be uniquely positioned to solve that problem for others. If you use your passions and experiences in service to others, not only will you have found your purpose, but the world will be a better place.
I often wonder how much better the world would be if everyone gifted their talents to the world. Nobody exists by accident, and you are the only person on earth with your unique blend of interests, experiences and passions. Do everyone a favor: don’t rob the world of “you”.

About the author:
Tessa Mills is a fertility awareness educator and founder of EmpowHERed Coaching. She discovered a passion for fertility awareness when her own fertility awareness practice helped her discover a health issue that had been dismissed for years. To learn more about Tessa and EmpowHERed Coaching, visit

TAGS: Powered by Purpose

Erin Drinnin

About The Author: Erin Drinnin

Erin Drinnin is United Way's Community Impact Officer for Health.