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 even changes our genes so that we live longer.

So how can we know what our purpose is?

Some people ‘just know’ that they’ve always wanted to be a zoo keeper or a train driver. But for those people who lack that clarity, the best way I know to uncover our life’s purpose is to follow these four steps.

To begin, first answer these three preparatory 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.
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  2. Say how you love expressing these qualities
    Ask yourself how you most love putting these qualities into practice. This could be how you most enjoy expressing them or the outcomes are you creating when you do this.
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  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, ideal world for you?

If you want to find your life’s purpose, don’t cheat yourself. Stop now and answer these questions before you proceed.

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Once you know your answers, defining your life’s purpose becomes easy:

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

Or you could reorder the words and say:

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

Feel free to play around with the wording until you find a format that works for you.

The purpose of your life is to most fully express the unique person you are, in ways that create the world you want to live in.

And once you know your purpose you will discover that there might be a thousand different ways you could achieve it. And those ways might change over time as you learn and grow.

What matters is that you start from the understanding you have now, act on it, and then move forward and learn as you go.

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 change the balance — and so bring yourself extra focus and energy, and change your genes so you live longer?


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

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

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You can also buy the book here and the workbook here.


Photo By Emilio Küffer via StockPholio.net

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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