How to find your purpose in life

Bullseye target with darts

Knowing our purpose helps us to succeed in times of change.

Living in line with that purpose also brings us extra focus and energy, and can even change our genes, making us healthier so we live longer.

So how can we know what our purpose is?

Some people ‘just know’ that they’ve always wanted to be a train driver or a zoo keeper. But for those of us who do not have that certainty, the best way I know to uncover our life’s purpose is to follow these four steps.

To begin, answer these three questions:

  1. What are your two best qualities?
    What are the two best qualities you bring to the world? Not skills or knowledge but qualities.
    If you find it difficult to pick just two, ask some trusted friends. Listen to their answers, ignore what you don’t like, and keep what you do. Then pick the two qualities that best describe you: qualities you love to express and which summarise the essence of who you are.
  2. Say how you love expressing these qualities
    Ask yourself how you most love putting these qualities into practice. How do you most enjoy expressing them? What outcomes are you creating when you do this?
  3. Describe your ideal world
    What would the world be like if it were perfect, according to you? What would you see, hear, feel, taste, or smell? What kind of a world is that? What is a perfect world for you?

Stop and answer these questions before you read further.


Once you know your answers to these questions, defining your purpose becomes easy:

The purpose of your life is to express your best qualities, in the ways you most love, to create your ideal world. 

Or you might change the words around to say

“My purpose is to create [my ideal world], by using my [best qualities], to [create the outcomes you love creating].”

Find a wording that works for you.

Your life purpose is to most fully express the unique person you are, in a way that creates the kind of world you want to live in.

And there is no one right answer to how you might go about doing that — there might be a thousand different ways and they might change over time. But if you start from your best understanding today, act on it and move forward, then you can see what you learn and adapt and improve as you go.

Do you know what your life purpose is? Which parts of your life are you living most in line with your purpose today? Which parts of your life are you living least in line with your purpose today? What small changes could you easily make, to spend more time living in line with your purpose? What bigger changes might you start to think about later?

Adapted from Inner Leadership: a framework and tools for building inspiration in times of change.

(The book contains other tools that will bring you deeper insights into your purpose, but this post is a simple starting point.)

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Photo By Emilio Küffer via

2 Replies to “How to find your purpose in life”

  1. Hi, that’s a great way to find the purpose of life, this has always pinched me when others would mention their purpose and passion I was left blank, as I didn’t particularly was good at one thing but there are things like photography that I love to do and consider that as my quality I think now I would be able to speak in front of them of what I am capable of and the quality I like to be always be growing at.

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