Find Your Purpose in Life
There is a light that comes into your life when you know your purpose—when you know who you are, why you’re here, and where you’re going. There is magic within you, and the world deserves for you to let it out. But what is that magic? What is your purpose? What is your mission in life?
Finding your purpose can be frustratingly difficult and incredibly complicated.
The Purpose Finder can help. Based on the critically acclaimed 16 Elements of Engagement, and core to the 6 Pillars of Success, the Purpose Finder will help you find your purpose in life so you can make sure your daily, weekly, and monthly efforts align to somewhere meaningful… somewhere you want to go.
Step 1: Answer the Following Questions
Listed below are each of the 16 Elements, with several questions under each element. These are meant to cast a broad net and help you dial in on a sense of what your purpose is. You don’t have to answer all of them, although it’s recommended. At a minimum, choose at least two from each section and think deeply about them.
Find a distraction-free environment and write down your answers on a blank sheet of paper.
This usually takes about an hour. And this is the hard part. It requires emotional labor. It takes time, and it makes you dig deep. But this is your life’s purpose, your mission, your ultimate individual “why.” It’s worth it.
If you do choose to focus on just one or two questions, try to hone in on the ones for which the answers seem most obvious… the ones that “just click.”
This is that innate sense of who we are and what we’re capable of.
- What types of activities do you tend to most naturally succeed at? These are the things that just come naturally to you, and that you tend to do well without even really working at it?
- What types of activities or things do you do that others tend to compliment you for (even, or perhaps especially, if you tend to dismiss those compliments)?
- What types of activities or things do you tend to do in your spare time (or wish you could do, if you had spare time)?
- If someone were to give you all the income you needed for the next month, and told you to spend that month doing anything productive, what would you do with that time?
- What types of objectives (goals, projects, initiatives, etc.) tend to excite you the most?
- Think of the last time someone told you about their objective and you just felt a deep sense of longing, maybe even jealousy, and wanted to respond, “I would love to do that!” What was it?
- If someone gave you all the time and budget you needed to go do something productive and meaningful, what would it be?
- Is there this deep, sometimes actively suppressed, feeling like you should be going somewhere or doing something, and you keep dismissing it or pushing it down? If so, what is it?
- Are there certain objectives, initiatives or causes that you tend to naturally see clearly and understand better than other people do? What are they?
- Are there certain types of things where you just naturally seem to “know the way forward”? What are they?
- Are there certain pursuits, objectives or activities you find out other people are doing and just can’t help but want to step in and help them “figure it out”? What are those things?
- Are there certain things that you just have the natural ability to see the path, or the way forward, and maybe sometimes it’s so clear that you get frustrated when you see someone else deviating from that path that to you is so obvious? What are those things?
- Which of your relationships tend to energize you? Who are those people and what do they do?
- What is it about them that elicits so much energy from you?
- If you could devote yourself to helping any group of people, what group would you focus on and why?
- What would you want to do to help them? What problems would you solve?
- Are there certain things that other people do where you just naturally tend to see the barriers and obstacles they will face, and just feel the desire to tell them about it? What are those things?
- Think of the times in your life you’ve been held back by an obstacle and felt the most profound frustration… what were you trying to accomplish?
- If someone told you to go buy a tool, an instrument, or something that would help you do something else, their treat… what would you buy, and what would you do with it?
- If you were to be given a year of time to focus on anything you wanted to focus on, what would that be?
People will recognize in us the magic that we don’t see in ourselves, and they will come to you as a guide for those things. That’s a huge indicator that this is something that fits within your purpose.
- What types of things do other people turn to you for when seeking guidance or help?
- If you could suddenly have the expertise, time, and money to focus your whole life on being a leader, mentor, or guide, for what types of things would you want to do that?
- What type of people would come to you?
- What problems would they be asking you to help with?
- Is there an organization or a setting or a place that you feel naturally and repeatedly drawn to? If so, what do they do there? What happens there that is so attractive to you?
- Is there a place where you go that whenever you are there, you just feel energized and refueled? What happens there that makes you feel like this?
- If you were to have the opportunity to go anywhere for a month and participate in whatever they were doing for that month, where would you go and what would you be doing there?
- If you could work anywhere in the world (any country, any organization, any job or role, or any work) and not have to worry about pay, where would that be, what would you be doing, and why?
- Was there ever a time or place where you just felt like you truly belonged, some deep-seated connection that you couldn’t quite explain? Where was it, and what was it that caused you to feel like this? What were they doing there?
- What types of things do you naturally keep score of in life (beyond the usual)?
- There are things that live deep inside us—beyond our consciousness—that create a sense of winning or losing. When we ignore them too long, we feel like we’re losing. When we spend some (really, any) amount of time on them, we have a sense that we’re winning. What are those things for which have this innate sense of winning or losing that could be an indication that your inner self is trying to shout out that you’re either going the right direction or you’re not?
- If you were to keep score of everything that was truly important to you in your life, and if that score were going to be exposed to your most respected peers, what score would scare you the most? What would it be measuring?
- What score, if shared, would give you the most pride? What would it be measuring?
- What things do you do that seem to move the needle the most—that give you the most sense of having moved forward? We have a deep and innate sense of what we should be doing, even when it’s not conscious, and when we spend even just a little time on something, we will feel the momentum from it. It’s like it’s a natural path. It just fills you with momentum and you feel like you’re moving forward.
- Think back to the last time you were so immersed in an activity that you totally lost track of everything (time, appetite, etc.)… what were you doing?
- Think of the last time you feel like you really made a difference… what were you doing?
- When do you feel like you are doing your very best work, what are you doing?
- Think back to some of the happiest moments of your life… what were you doing?
- Think back to the last time you felt deeply like you were part of something important… what was it and what were you doing?
- What ways in which you impact the world do you find most meaningful?
- What types of activities or pursuits do you tend to find most meaningful?
- What types of things do others do that you tend to look at and think “that is meaningful; I would love to do that”?
- What types of things do you get the most fulfillment from? These are those things after which you sit back and feel deep satisfaction for time well-spent.
- When you look back at your life, what were your proudest moments and why? What did you do to feel that way?
- What types of issues are you most drawn to? Perhaps this shows up in the type of news you read or the conversations you just can’t help but get involved in.
This is about feeling valued. It’s about rewards and recognition.
- What are some of the things you do that you feel like others tend to value the most?
- What are some of the things you do that you yourself tend to value the most?
- What are some of the things you do that most often earn you recognition from others, especially from those you respect?
- What are some of the things you do, that when recognized by another, tend to give you the strongest sense of satisfaction and fulfillment?
- What are the activities that seem to fuel you, rather than drain you—that somehow leave you energized, even though they take work?
- What are the things you’ve done in the past that feel like they made you somehow more whole?
Step 2: Search for the Common Answers
Congratulations! The hard part is now over, and now the fun part can begin.
The next step is to look over the answers you wrote down and search out the common themes—the answers that kept surfacing time and again. You may have already noticed them. Often, by the time you get to the end, you’re already thinking, “OK, I get it.”
Write down on a separate piece of paper these common themes. While you do this, keep in mind that you’re trying to answer the ultimate questions, “why am I here?” and “what is my real purpose in life?”
Don’t worry so much about whether or not this is your “ultimate” destination. Remember that often we don’t know what that is until much later, and even then it may change. All you’re trying to do right now is figure out what direction you should be heading.