Why You Doubt Your Purpose

You’ve decided your life is going to be different.

Instead of a hollow, empty life like those of so many people, you want something more. Something better. You refuse to reduce yourself to another mindless cog in the machine. You have talent. You want to change the world and affect the lives of the people around you in a positive way. You want to be remembered for the wake of beauty you leave behind.

Most of the time you’re happy with your decision to shrug off the expectations for you to conform. You ignore the herd. Your work is important. What you’re doing matters. It’s your purpose. You’ve found meaning. You’ve chosen your path (or it’s chosen you) and you focus on the things that are important to you.

But even though you’re following your heart and you always put your values first, you still feel the pressure to fall in line; to follow the proven path of “success” that so many people before have taken.

At times you feel unsure about about who you are, what you’re doing with your life and the decisions you’ve made. Deep inside you know the direction you’ve chosen is the one that’s right for you, but when you look at the lives of other people, people who by all appearances have it all figured out, you begin to feel small and insecure.

You’re following your dream but still haven’t quite fully realized that dream. You struggle to make it all work. You work your ass off without recognition, accolades or appreciation. You toil and pour your soul into everything you create only to watch the world ignore your efforts.

You feel pathetic and small. Just a scared little girl who will never amount to anything. All around you the world is filled with smiling happy people who all seem to have their shit together … and then there’s you.

A failure.

You want to follow your dreams but it seems like it’s never going to work. You thought it was going to be so perfect. You knew what you were put on this Earth to do. You knew!!! There was no doubt in your mind when you set out on this journey but now doubt is your constant companion.

Everything about your life is nothing you’d expected it to be. You’re miserable. Nothing seems right. Even worse, nothing feels right.

It wasn’t supposed to be this way.

You wonder if the struggle is worth it. “Maybe I’m not cut out for this,” you tell yourself.


Most of the people in this world ignore their dreams precisely because they’re difficult to attain. Following their passions means sacrificing the comforts of a “secure” life and they convince themselves the struggle isn’t worth it.

On the outside the lives of those people who make you feel insecure all seem so desirable. They “have it all.” But when you look closer you begin to see that they’re not the kind of life you actually want for yourself. Their lives are empty and hollow, just like you knew they were.

You look at your life and see the sacrifices you’ve had to make but you probably haven’t considered what they’ve had to sacrifice to have the things they have; time, freedom, relationships, creativity. You can only see the things they have that you don’t.

It’s hard not to be envious of other people when you compare your failures to their successes. It’s impossible to feel good about yourself when you look at your imperfections under the light of the picture perfect lives they project on the outside. But you’ve probably never thought to question if maybe they envy you and the life you’re living. “Sure,” they say to themselves, “they don’t have everything I do, but at least they’re following their dreams. They didn’t give up like I did.” Maybe they look at their lives and feel exactly the same way you do about theirs. That something in their life is missing. That their life just fucking sucks.

“Self-doubt can be an ally. This is because it serves as an indicator of aspiration. It reflects love, love of something we dream of doing, and desire, desire to do it. If you find yourself asking yourself, ‘Am I really a writer? Am I really an artist?’ chances are you are.

“The counterfeit innovator is wildly self-confident. The real one is scared to death.” ~ The War of Art

The work you’re doing matters.

Follow your dreams and do what you love, even if you doubt yourself and you’re scared to death. You’re on the right path and exactly where you should be.


Steven is the author of Hundred Goals, a blog (and book) about living a life of purpose and intention. He travels around the world in search of adventure, fun and meaning.


Erin shows overscheduled, overwhelmed women how to do less so that they can achieve more. Traditional productivity books—written by men—barely touch the tangle of cultural pressures that women feel when facing down a to-do list. How to Get Sh*t Done will teach you how to zero in on the three areas of your life where you want to excel, and then it will show you how to off-load, outsource, or just stop giving a damn about the rest.

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