Finding one’s purpose paves the path to a life of true fulfillment.
In my opinion, living a life of fulfillment is just not possible without a purpose of living.
While a lucky few are born with a clear knowledge of their purpose—like the rare child prodigy—many of us are faced with the challenge of “doing the work” to uncover the sense of passion and purpose that lead to a fulfilling and rewarding life that we love living.
Fortunately, there are many experts in the field of personal development that have paved the way by creating exercises and processes that make finding life purpose less daunting. Here are five of my favorites:
1. Jack Canfield’s Exercise
Jack Canfield, award-winning speaker, internationally-recognized personal development leader, and author of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series asserts that goals and action plans cannot ultimately fulfill us without finding life purpose to serve as a guiding compass. In the article, How to Discover Your True Life Purpose, he offers this exercise to help us uncover our passion and purpose in as little as 10 minutes by answering three questions:
“What are two qualities I most love expressing in life?”
“What are two ways I most love expressing those qualities?”
“What would the world like if it were perfect right now, according to me?”
Once you’ve thoughtfully written your answers to these three questions, Canfield suggests combining them all into a single statement. This statement is your life passion and purpose.
Finally, once you’re successful at finding life purpose, he suggests you take a moment to reflect on your life and rate, on a scale from 1 to 10, how fully you are living your passion and purpose. If your rating is less than 10, ask yourself what changes you can make to live in closer alignment with your true purpose.
2. Mark Mason’s Strange Question
Mark Manson is a personal development blogger, entrepreneur, and the author of the New York Times bestselling book The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck.
In Manson’s article 7 Strange Questions that Help You Find Your Life Purpose, he offers a series of questions to help us reflect on what is important to us and how we can add more meaning to our lives.
What appeared to be a video game hobby, seemed to be about learning and growth. One of the questions that Manson suggests is, “What makes you forget to eat and poop?” After you consider this question, he recommends that you dig a little deeper. As an example, Manson explains that he used to become so involved in video games that he would forget to eat and poop. But, ultimately, it was not video games that were his passion. It was the drive for improvement—practicing something and getting better and better.
Consider activities that you get lost in, then think about why? Strive for answers, it’s possible that therein lies your life passion and purpose.
3. Steve Pavlina’s Process
Steve Pavlina is an entrepreneur, self-help coach, and author of Personal Development for Smart People. In his article How to Discover Your Life Purpose in About 20 Minutes, he offers this four-step process for finding life purpose:
Step 1: Take out a blank sheet of paper or boot up a word processor.
Step 2: Write or type “What is my purpose” at the top of the page.
Step 3: Write any answer that pops into your head.
Step 4: Keep writing answers until you find one that makes you cry.
According to Pavlina, your answers will initially be the result of mental clutter and social conditioning, and once those are all out, you’ll hit on your authentic passion and purpose and answer the question “what is my purpose?”
4. Robert Holden’s Challenge
Robert Holden is a positive psychologist, author, and expert well-being. He has been called “Britain’s foremost expert on happiness.”
In the article What do You Want to Do With Your Life? published on Oprah.com, Holden offers six exercises for finding life purpose. The fifth exercise described is called “Your Real Work” and will help you answer the question “what is my purpose?”
Holden discusses “chronic busyness” as one of the biggest blocks to finding life purpose. He says that when we are constantly busy, it is most likely covering up a series of negative things, like fear of inadequacy, lack of self-worth, and doubt in the soul’s ability to help us fulfill our larger purposes.
In this exercise, he asks us to cut through the “busyness” by creating a business card with our purpose or “real work,” rather than our job. The challenge is that only three words can be used to our “real work.” To determine these three words, start by asking yourself the question, “what is my purpose?”
5. Simon Sinek’s Conversation
Simon Sinek is a British-American motivational speaker, author, and organizational consultant. His 2009 TED Talk on finding life purpose has amassed more than 34 million views.
In this CNBC article, Author behind viral TED Talk: This exercise will help you figure out what to do with your life, Sinek recommends recruiting a trusted friend to have a conversation to help figure out what really inspires you. This four-step exercise is from his book “Find Your Why” will you help you answer the question “what is my purpose?” Here’s an outline:
Step 1: Find a friend that’s also interested in figuring out their career. This should be someone you trust but aren’t too close to as you want an objective opinion.
Step 2: Make a list of important life stories before you meet up. This list should entail both the happiest and unhappiest experiences you’ve had. Then, choose the three you consider to have been most impactful for you.
Step 3: Meet up, share your stories, and look for themes. Ask each other questions (e.g., helping others, starting new projects, coaching people, etc.).
Step 4: After hearing the themes your partner helped identify, write your “why” statement. This is one sentence that describes passion and purpose. Ask yourself “what is my purpose” and then answer it in the format “to ___ so that ___.”
According to Sinek, that work at finding their life purpose have an “unbalanced amount of success.”
6. Ask, and it is given.
If you’re not a spiritual person, then this specific technique might not appeal to you. Although trying never harms.
This technique is all about manifesting your desires through imagining it, feeling it and writing it down. For example, if you are not sure what’s the job that you are looking for, then describe its traits on a piece of paper and think of it or revisit this paper consistently.
It is a technique that Esther and Jerry Hicks talk about extensively in their book that’s conveniently called Ask and it is given.
This technique operates under the Universe’s Law of Attraction concept, which simply means that likes attract likes. Hence, if you visualize what it is that you really want, feel it and write it down to solidfy it in your head then it will manifest itself at some point in time. NOT instantly, but at some point.
Whether you choose to beleive in it or not, the reality of it, this Law of Attraction concept is as real as the law of gravity is; its physics. It has been scientifically proven that we are all essentially masses of energy and every cell in our body is made up of a certain vibrational frequency.
Therefore, to attract something you must be at vibrational harmony with that you are seeking, or in other words, you must feel and visualize that object of desire as if it has come to you already.
In my case, I was able to find my purpose, or at least the bridge that will get me there through technique number 6.
Not sure whether you believe you believe in the kubaya-ness of some today’s spiritual concepts, but i do. It has worked with me in the past and I thought there’s no reason why it shouldn’t work with me today, when I mostly need it.
So literally, at that point when i was feeling lost and unsure of my path or what is it that I want, I wrote down exaclty what i would like my ideal life and job to look like. Soon enough, answers came my way and a great opportunity and journey came knocking on my door in a timely fashion.
I didn’t all of a sudden get the answer to what my purpose is, but i got introduced to a business model that has allowed me to sink deeper into this journey of finding my purpose. Today, i know what that purpose is, and i wake up every day feeling refreshed and driven to achieve it. Waking up with purpose feels good. You can read more my story and awakening journey here.
Hopefully, these six exercises will help you find some clarity around the question “what is my purpose.” While a few of them may seem time-consuming, proactively working at finding life purpose is sure to pay off in the long run. After all, living a life filled with passion and purpose is the worthiest of endeavors.
Which of the above techniques resonated with you the most? Would love to hear from your, leave a comment and let me know.