A Prescription for finding your purpose


I used to think that answering the question: “What should I do with my life?” was something you asked yourself in your 20s and then you just got on with it. 

Hilariously naive. 

In a world that’s rapidly changing and as humans constantly evolving, I now understand that we may have to revisit that question ongoingly. 

It can feel very unsettling when we feel unsure (and perhaps stuck) about our life/career path. However, with the right “prescription” it’s an opportunity to reconnect with yourself and reassess what really matters to you. 
In my book The Happiness Plan, I share the story of how I ended up in psychiatry and then over time felt a strong sense that I wasn’t exactly where I needed to be. I was somewhat disillusioned, searching for something else… It was a period of great confusion and stuckness…
I had a strong tug to do something driven by passion and purpose, but I wasn’t clear on what that was. At that time meditation really helped me find clarity, courage and self-compassion to hang on to while I worked it all out (of course there were also tears along the way, but I’m so thankful I found my way). 


Maria Rilkes words helped me sit in the ‘not knowing’:
“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.”


If you’re feeling stuck or confused about your purpose, a journaling appointment with yourself is a good place to start.

Take some time to free flow reflections on these questions:


  1. What matters most to me is…

  2. What makes me feel really alive is…

  3. What I’d like to bring more of into my life (ie, behaviours, habits, actions, attitudes) in order to support my greatest happiness is…

  4. An issue in the world that makes me feel angry is…

  5. What ideas could I come up with to contribute to addressing this issue that makes me angry… (Let your imagination flow and drop the judgement.) 


As Mark Nepo, the poet and writer so exquisitely expressed:

Our dreams, goals, and ambitions are all kindling to bring our gift into the world.  All are fuel for the heart to exercise its aliveness.  So the soul’s journey is to discover what matters by making good use of our heart….” 


At times of transition and confusion, meditation can be particularly helpful in opening up space for unexpected insights to arise. 

If you’ve fallen off track, take this email as an invitation to start meditating again, just one minute at a time. 

Here’s one of my most requested meditations The Happiness Meditation to support you in reconnecting with your purpose and with what supports your greatest happiness.  


P.S. If you’re interested in other science-backed tools that can improve your relationships, work life, and well-being – join the waitlist for my 6-week online Power of Presence program, where we go deep into bringing mindfulness practices into everyday life for greater flourishing. 

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"If we wish to be healthy, happy and clear-minded, we need to upgrade our “inner technology”of attention to meet the demands of our increasingly complex world. That's where mindfulness comes in.."




Elise Bialylew is the author of the bestselling book, The Happiness Plan, and founder of Mindful in May, the world’s largest online global mindfulness fundraising campaign.

A doctor trained in psychiatry, turned social entrepreneur and mindfulness expert, she’s passionate about supporting individuals and organisations to develop inner tools for greater wellbeing and flourishing, and offers workshops and training at The Mind Life Project.

Her work has been featured in the Huffington Post, New York Times and on Australian Television. She was recently recognised by the Australian Financial Review as a 2019 AFR Women of Influence.

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