Awakening your life’s purpose does not happen overnight. Purpose isn’t to be discovered in a year, through a college degree, from a relationship, and isn’t “found” in a job or a hobby. Our purpose is carefully carved through living our unique journey. Learning to prioritize your connection with your evolving inner self can be critical for a deeply fulfilling life.

Just ask Jane Wyker, the 80-year-young first-time author of “Soul Selfish: The Awakening of a ‘Good Girl’” and inspirer to individuals and Fortune 500 companies.

Jane has spent 46 years on an inner journey toward connecting with her soul. Her journey has taken her through marriage, parenting, divorce, forgiveness, loss and new love. She has traveled the world; dancing the tango in Argentina, playing with her friends in Paris, observing the elderly practice Tai Chi in Hong Kong and exploring the awesome sights of ancient Egypt.

Jane says that awakening your life’s purpose “…is similar to a deep cloud cover breaking up, allowing the sun’s rays to shine through.”

I had the chance to catch up with Jane to capture her advice on awakening your life’s purpose found in the book. Jane’s story importantly demonstrates that the journey of “soul-connection” is always ongoing.

Her lessons are powerful and show us that through struggle, pain, joy, and love we can connect with our souls and awaken our purpose – at any age.

Why does your book use the word “soul”? What does soul mean to you?

“I believe that we are all spiritual beings living a human experience. Soul is the level within from which we connect to Spirit. In those moments of soul connection we know our deepest truth, our authentic selves. We see people and situations with more love and acceptance than when we are coming from our egos, the belief systems created from our conditioning. The families, cultures and eras in which we were raised profoundly shape our beliefs and feelings, frequently out of alignment with our authentic selves. As we gradually release those accumulated layers of emotions and attitudes that are foreign to our true natures, we slowly gain access to our authentic selves, our souls, giving us a more open path to create our happiness.”

Tell me about a critical moment in your life you vividly remember when you felt your life’s purpose was awakened for the first time?

“In 1970 in my first encounter group, my pain was triggered as a participant described her father’s cruelty. My tears began to flow uncontrollably. I thought that it was about her, but quickly learned they were my tears about me.

The group support was unlike any love I had ever felt in my personal relationships. The space, so safe, encouraging and supportive deeply connected me to myself and a group of strangers. Immediately I felt lighter and happier and decided that the most important thing I could do was to know myself and to learn more about love.”

Often we see our struggles as obstacles to living with purpose. How did you come to shift your perspective on your life’s struggles?

“I learned that releasing my pain and exposing my vulnerability brought me greater connection to myself and others. My purpose became knowing myself – what was going on inside of me so that I could feel happier. I did not know that would lead to challenging decisions. Yet as I met each one, I grew stronger and happier. I saw that the greatest obstacle was not the pain I carried, but the avoidance of it. I learned that my greatest pain was in self-denial, and as I faced the fears buried within, that I could surmount them.”

Jane’s 6 Lessons on Awakening Your Life’s Purpose

1. Be willing to face your pain and fear, your vulnerability, and what is causing it in emotionally safe spaces.

As you release conditioned beliefs and the feelings associated with them, you meet your soul, which is the guider of your life — not other people.

2. Slowly take the responsibility of making new, often difficult choices.

Pay attention to the pull you constantly hear from within. What might feel like a risky choice at first, may be exactly where you were meant to go.

3. Purpose underlies results.

It is the energy that keeps us moving towards creating the results we desire.

4. Make a desire list.

Feel the intensity of the pull towards each desire. You will know what you want most from the strength of your internal experience. Go back to your list several times, deleting, adding and prioritizing. Become at one with your desires. You will naturally choose your purpose from them. When it is authentic, you will want to give it energy.

5. Begin to take baby steps towards your desire.

You will probably meet resistance within, so surround yourself with people who will both support you and hold you accountable. This can be a group of friends, a therapeutic or spiritual group that meets consistently.

6. Journal every day.

Include your feelings, resistances and your willingness to take a small step towards fulfilling it regardless. And remember, that sometimes purposes change.

Learn more about Jane’s inspirational story and work: