Finding your purpose can be an intensive process, but it can also be eye-opening and life-changing. Here are some of the questions I ask my clients when they come to me seeking advice on determining their purpose.
1) What are some of the things that excite you about your past?
Close your eyes and visualize yourself in past events that have made you happy. Go far back into your childhood and try to remember your first feelings of joy. What were you doing? What kinds of people were involved? Move forward into you childhood, your adolescence, your early adult years. What happy memories do you have from those life stages? What made you feel fulfilled? See if you can spot any patterns from those memories. Oftentimes, you can find a common thread that links those events together. People who can successfully put their fingers on that consistent element are well on their way to determining their life’s purpose.
2) What is something I have accomplished that makes me especially proud?
While you’re looking to your past, try to pinpoint things that you’ve done that you are especially proud of. What you find might surprise you. It might not be the “obvious” answers, like a raise or a promotion at your job. It might be something deeper, but more subtle, like a time you volunteered or helped others. It might be a time you coached a little league team, or helped a friend find a solution to a tough problem. Try to go beyond the surface to the things that made you feel like a better, more fulfilled person.
3) What matters most to you?
After you look to the past, look to the present day. If you are seeking your true purpose, chances are you might not be exactly living it day to day, but look for the things that really make you happy in your current life. What are the things you can’t imagine living without? What kind of people excite you when you are around them? What conversations really get you fired up? All of these are clues leading you to your true calling in life.
4) What legacy do I want to leave behind?
Now that you’ve looked at your present and your past, it’s time to look at your future. What would you like your legacy to be? Many people haven’t thought about this, and if you haven’t, that’s perfectly okay. If your current life path isn’t particularly the one you’d like to leave behind you, what changes would you like to make?
5) What would you like people to say about you after you’re gone?
This is a particularly hard question for some people to answer, as it forces them to face their own mortality. However, recognizing that you will one day no longer be on this earth is a powerful tool to help you steer you in the right direction of your life’s true happiness. Think about your loved ones giving your eulogy at your funeral. What would you like them to say about you? What accomplishments would they be speaking of?
Take a moment to visualize your answers to these questions. Then, write them down and reflect upon your findings. Let the common threads amongst your past, present, and ideal future be the guide to finding your true purpose.