For most of us, the idea of 鈥渨ork鈥 is pretty un-glamorous. A girl鈥檚 gotta earn a living (hello, student loans), and more often than we鈥檇 like to admit, earning that living requires us to clock in to jobs that are less than fulfilling. Cue the old Dad-ism about 鈥渋t鈥檚 called work for a reason,鈥 because while many of us enter the work force with all the best intentions of doing our small part to change the world, it鈥檚 a lot easier to find yourself pushing papers and sending emails to pay the bills. Oof.

Before you start feeling guilty about not serving some grand purpose in the universe, though鈥 stop. Peta Kelly 鈥 conscious entrepreneur, speaker, author, and generally awesome millennial voice 鈥 is helping take the pressure off. And if her perspective can鈥檛 help you slow down, take a breath, and stop overanalyzing the situation, we鈥檙e not sure if anyone鈥檚 will. She did write a book called Earth Is Hiring ($18), after all.

鈥淚 think it鈥檚 important that [people] take the pressure off themselves to search for a purpose and instead start paying attention to how their soul wants them to live, to thrive more, to live a more beautiful alignment in their own lives,鈥 Kelly says. 鈥淔rom there, all the 鈥榳ork鈥 we are meant to do becomes so obvious that we鈥檒l laugh over how we ever went looking for it. Everything is clear when we live in alignment.鈥

While Kelly鈥檚 advice for finding purposeful work might not be as specific as seeking out the right kind of job or launching a do-good side hustle, it will still lead you to live in a more meaningful way, and she breaks down the process into seven intellectual, creative steps. Keep reading for all the details, then give yourself a break. There are plenty of ways for you to start working purposefully, whether it be full-time or in small doses. Deciding that this kind of purpose matters to you is half the battle!

1. Pay attention. Before you can get to work pursuing a job or side hustle that will make you feel fulfilled, you need to start tuning in to what you really want. Ask yourself: If my purpose was to feel aligned and alive, what would I be doing instead of what I do now?

2. Let excitement be your evidence. Your emotional work isn鈥檛 done just because you鈥檝e done some light soul searching. Now that you鈥檝e started considering what kind of work might bring you into better alignment, you鈥檒l want to gauge your energy on an ongoing basis to be sure you鈥檙e on the right track. 鈥淓xcitement is crucial evidence in the purpose puzzle,鈥 Kelly tells us. 鈥淏ecome super curious about the things, places, and ideas that continuously excite you.鈥

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3. Test yourself. One of the tools Kelly suggests to help you find meaning in your work is something she calls the Energy Test. Take a step back every time you find yourself experiencing a spike in energy, and think about what you鈥檙e actually doing in that moment. When you鈥檙e working purposefully, you鈥檒l experience the good vibes a lot more, so why not try to find a gig that allows you to partake in those high-frequency activities on the job?

4. Get in your tap. 鈥溾楾he tap鈥 is my term for the waterfall of ideas and inspiration that is always on offer to you,鈥 Kelly says. 鈥淵ou know when you鈥檙e in the shower and you need a notebook to write down all of your ideas? Or when you鈥檙e at your fave coffee shop and are so inspired you can鈥檛 handle it? It鈥檚 [because] your tap is on.鈥 Figure out what kinds of activities turn that tap on for you鈥 then, do more of them.

5. Get rid of the kinks. Picture a garden hose that鈥檚 knotted and twisted into kinks. Nothing can flow through it! The same thing happens to your brain when you鈥檙e not taking good care of yourself. Get rid of your own kinks to unlock maximum creativity and ambition by shuffling your schedule, adjusting your wellness routines, or reconsidering a toxic relationship. As long as these obstacles are in your way, you鈥檒l struggle to find the purpose you鈥檙e looking for. Kick them to the curb and see how much more aligned you feel.

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6. Romance your ideas. What does it mean to romance your ideas? Kelly suggests writing them down and getting curious about them. 鈥淚f you can create a safe space for your ideas to live, they鈥檒l feel safe to keep coming to you,鈥 she says. Jot down and dig into all of the ideas you have about purposeful work. More are bound to come your way!

7. Have fun! 鈥淗onestly, play is not a distraction from our purpose,鈥 Kelly tells us. 鈥淚t is our purpose. Don鈥檛 mistake this as being not profound enough. If you鈥檙e in doubt, play.鈥

What kind of work or side hustle sounds most meaningful to you? Tweet us @BritandCo!

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(Photos via Peta Kelly)