Four Questions To Help You Find Your Life's Purpose

When you have purpose, you go beyond motivation to inspiration.

You’ve only got so much time and energy. Period.

Oh sure, I can show you dozens of ways to manage your time more effectively and dozens of ways to dramatically increase your energy. I do that all the time in my two-day “Journey To The Extraordinary” experience.

But the fact remains… you’ve only got so much time and energy. So you’ve got to handle them with care.

That’s why I’ve always had great respect for one of the founders of the Mayo Clinic, Dr. Charles Mayo. Whenever he became emotionally upset, he would stop and tell himself, “I have just so much emotional energy to spend today.” Then he would ask himself, “Shall I spend it on this proposition? How much energy shall I spend on getting irritated at this individual or in getting upset about this thing?”

Of course, many people… maybe most people… don’t manage their time and energy nearly well enough. They get side tracked by the little things in life. As Roy L. Smith wrote in “The Christian Herald” some time ago, “Oh Lord, forgive us for being so sensitive about things that do not matter and so insensitive to things that do.”

Other people waste their time and energy, simply “getting by” in life, not really going anywhere, because they lack a driving sense of purpose. Perhaps that’s what baseball player Dan Quisenberry was referring to when he said, “I have seen the future and it is very much like the present — only longer.”

To move beyond motivation to inspiration… to move into the big leagues of success… you must have a clearly defined sense of purpose. The British Prime minister Benjamin Disraeli said, “The secret of success is constancy of purpose.” I agree. That’s why I show the “Journey” attendees how to clarify their purpose in life and work. You’ll start to find your purpose when you answer the following questions… and answer them honestly.

=> 1. What are you passionate about?

In other words, take a look at how you’re wired. What turns on your energy and what turns it off? Some activities and some causes make you feel alive… while other things seem to kill off your spirit.

=> 2. What are your strongest held beliefs?

Or put another way, what do you believe in? And which of your beliefs are most important to you?

Be careful when you answer this question. I’m asking what YOU truly believe… not what you think you SHOULD believe… and not what someone else thinks you SHOULD believe.

This will take a bit of reflection time, but I highly recommend it. Whether you get up an hour earlier once a week… to spending a long weekend at the lake… take time for introspection.

Konosuke Matsushita, chairman of the huge Japanese electronics company that bears his name, is a practitioner of this approach. He retreats to his garden from time to time… to reflect… to contemplate… and think. And when he walks into a room, the awe is palpable. Without saying a word, it’s clear you’re in the presence of a great leader who knows what he believes.

=> 3. What will you do about what you believe?

It’s not enough to figure out your values or aspirations. And it’s not enough for an organization to figure out it’s vision or mission. You’ve got to DO something about what you believe.

Your DOING may include some extra classes. As author and management consultant Peter Drucker asks, “what do you have to do… and what do you have to learn… and what do you have to change… to make yourself capable of living up to your expectations of life?”

Or your DOING may include speaking out or standing up for what you believe. You see… if you don’t stand for something, you will fall for anything.

=> 4. What do you want to be remembered for?

Do you want people to say, “He led the district in sales 6 years in a row?” Or do you want them to say, “He treated his customers with the greatest of respect?”

In fact, let me suggest a little homework. Write out a description of how your life would look if it turned out exactly the way you hoped it would. You’ll get some clarity on what you want to be remembered for.

Once you’ve figured out your purpose… and are living accordingly… you’re going to receive several gifts, including…

*** HAPPINESS You’re going to be happier. After all, your purpose will most likely include being of service to others, and that, in turn, will make you happier.

As Albert Einstein said, “Only a life lived for others is a life worth living.” And Gretta Palmer echoed, “Happiness is the byproduct of an effort to make someone else happy.”


You’re going to be healthier. As noted educator Larry Wilson said, “Finding our purpose is the most emotionally healing thing we can do.” When you’re living on purpose… instead of by hit and miss… you feel like your life and career count for something. They aren’t wasted.

And that gives you a mindful of positive, joyful, healing memories. As Libbie Fudim put it, “Recall it as often as you wish, a happy memory never wears out.”

And finally,


You’re going to be more prosperous. Now that may not be financial prosperity, but you will be more prosperous, nonetheless. As Dr. Norman Vincent Peale, the father of positive thinking, said, “When you live by these principles, there is set in motion the operation of a wonderful law — the Law of Prosperity.”

One TV commercial illustrated that. It showed a little boy meeting “Mean” Joe Greene, the famous football player of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Joe was limping back to the locker room after a grueling workout. The boy gave the tired athlete his soda… along with his deep respect and admiration… without expecting anything in return.

As the football player turned to walk away, he tossed his football jersey to the boy. Now to you and me a dirty jersey may not seem like much, but to this young boy, it was the treasure of a lifetime. The boy’s act of kindness set in motion the Law of Prosperity.

So I ask you, “Have you figured out your purpose? Are you living on purpose? And are you getting all the gifts that purpose brings you?”

If your answer is “yes,” I congratulate you. If your answer is “no,” get started.

Action:  Take an hour this week to think about the four purpose questions I posed. Just think. And then take another hour next week to write out your answers.