How to discover your real purpose with 2 questions

You have a purpose. You really do. As author Christine Qunintasket put it, “Everything on the earth has a purpose, every disease, an herb to cure it, and every person, a mission.”

Unfortunately, most people are not sure what their purpose is.  And many of them try to laugh it off, somewhat pathetically, I might add, saying such things as “I don’t know what I want to do when I grow up … or … Oh well, another day, another dollar.”

If that sounds anything like you, I’ve got some good news and some bad news for you.  First, the bad news.


►1. If you don’t know your purpose, you will have a lot of problems or cause a lot of problems.

Without a clear purpose, you will probably pursue the wrong things in life. Some people, for example, pursue fame and fortune, thinking that’s their purpose. But it doesn’t work.

As Hollywood actor Jim Carrey discovered, “I believe everyone should become rich and successful so they can see that is not the answer.”

And without a clear purpose, you’ll end up feeling empty or indifferent. And the indifferent rarely make a difference … because they’re takers instead of givers.

By contrast…


► 2. If you know your purpose and live your purpose, you will find great benefits.

As Dr. Bertice Berry puts it, “When you walk with purpose you collide with destiny.” You tend to get the best life has to offer.

For example, in one study of 12,640 middle-aged Hungarians they found that those who felt their lives had purpose and meaning had much lower rates of cancer and heart disease than those that didn’t feel this way.

And Dr. Harold G. Koenig, a professor of psychiatry at Duke University Medical Center, says, “People who feel their life is part of a larger plan and are guided by their spiritual values have stronger immune systems, lower blood pressure, a lower risk of heart attack and cancer, and heal faster and live longer.”

My reaction was WOW!  That’s quite a statement.   And a scientific statement as well, not just someone’s opinion.

Another study by Dan Buettner has followed the world’s longest living people. He says that having a purpose or “having a reason to get out of bed” was a common trait among those people who lived past the age of 100.

Of course, if you’re like a lot of people, you might say, “That all sounds well and good, but how do I discover my purpose?”  It’s one of the questions I answer in the Journey-to-the-Extraordinary program.

After attending one of my Journey programs, healthcare professional Jeanene Townswick sent me this note:  “Hi Dr. Alan.  Your Journey changed my life and my career.  Ever since you taught us the process of discovering our purpose and then living our lives on purpose, I’ve had the courage to embark on a totally new adventure when it comes to financial security and my future retirement.  It’s sad how so many people just go through life and miss it.  Not me, ever since I attended your Journey.”

But the frosting on the cake was Jeanene’s next comment.  She said, “Sometime after the Journey, my husband said to me, ‘I don’t know why, but I’m feeling happy all the time.  Maybe you’re rubbing off on me.’  It was the greatest thing he could have said to me.” 

(F.Y.I.  My next Journey will be in Chicago on October 25-26, 2018.  If you register before the end of July, your get a $600 scholarship applied to your registration fee.  It’s a huge savings.  Go to



However, I don’t want to leave you hanging on the discovery of your purpose.  So let me tell you that…


► 3. Your purpose is found within your answers to two questions. 

The first question is “What are you good at?”

You may be gifted with numbers, work well with children, or can lead others. Take some time to reflect on the following questions that focus on what you’re good at.

  • What do you do that gets a positive response from people you respect?
  • What do you do … that regardless of the difficulty … does not seem like work?
  • What do you do that causes doors to open with ease for you?
  • What are your dominant gifts, greatest talents, or best skills?

This first question focuses on your competencies.  But that’s not enough to figure out your purpose.  You must combine your competencies with your passion.  As Bob Buford writes in his Halftime book, “If you look deeply enough inside of you and are honest about combining your competence with your passion, you will find the mission that is best suited to you.”

Buford is referring to the second question that will help you discover your purpose and that is “What really stirs you?”

That answer will come after you spend some time looking inside yourself.  As the world famous psychiatrist Carl Jung wrote, “Your vision will become clear only when you look into your own heart. He who looks outside, dreams; he who looks within, awakes!”

Now that may sound a little esoteric. So let me give you some questions with which you can start your look inside.

  • What are you passionate about?
  • What desire will not release you?
  • What is motivating you in the times you are most productive?
  • What do you do that makes your heart and spirit feel good?
  • What would you do if money wasn’t an issue?
  • What do you want to accomplish that would ignite not only your enthusiasm but also your endurance?
  • What infuriates you the most? (Your anger is a clue to a problem you want to solve.)
  • What do you love spending time on? (Your love is a clue to what you value.)
  • What grieves your heart?

I encourage you to find your purpose and live your life and do your work ON purpose. Without it, you may never experience all the happiness and success you really really want.  ”

Final Thought:  “Be crystal clear about what your purpose is, and then do it, do it, do it.”
Lois Quam, healthcare executive

Dr. Zimmerman’s Tuesday Tip, Issue 942 – How to discover your real purpose with 2 questions