These 10 questions help you live and give from your authentic self.
Dave is a guy who seems to have his life together. He is successful at work, his marriage is stable, and his kids are well-behaved. He is a respected member of his community and lives in a nice neighborhood. From the outside, Dave seems to be a man who has it all and knows where he is going.
Yet on the inside, he feels completely lost.
Dave has bought into the lie that happiness comes from having the right job and all the other outward signs of the “success.” He doesn’t realize that true success comes from knowing and living out your purpose. When you are living in alignment with your purpose, you have more peace, joy, and satisfaction in your life.
But how do you discover it?
It’s a Process, Not a Moment
There is a popular notion that we discover our life purpose in one flash of inspiration. It’s easy to believe that if you just meet the right person, read the right book, or have the right experience that it will all click in a single instant.
But it’s a rare person who has a life-changing moment of insight like this. Most of us discover our purpose over by being aware and connecting the dots. We figure out who we are through the process of trial and error. It’s not a moment in time, but rather thousands of moments over time, that help us refine a vision and purpose for our lives.
Think of your life purpose as a statue carved from a slab of marble. With every failure and success, and every new experience, a little piece of the marble is chipped away until nothing is left but your true self.
My Life Purpose
It took me quite a while to be able to articulate my life purpose. It involved a lot of dead ends and wrong turns, as well as some triumphs and successes.
Here’s my life purpose:
I help people unlock their creative potential.
That may not mean much to you, but it means a great deal to me. It gives me direction, focus, and energy. Just as important, it helps me say “no” to things that don’t align with my purpose. It’s a great thing to know who you are, and more important, who you’re not.
10 Questions to Help You Discover Your Life Purpose
Here are a few questions to help you clarify your life purpose. Think of these questions as chisels that chip away the excess and show you the true person inside.
- What are your skills? What talents, abilities, and unique gifts do you have?
- What do you enjoy doing? When you have a day off or a week of vacation, how do you spend your time?
- What is your dream job? If money were not a factor, what kind of job would you have? How would you spend your time at work? Have you ever said, “I’ve always wanted to be a _______”?
- What kind of books do you read? This points to how you think and what your mind is drawn to.
- What is your favorite movie? Think about the story and the themes. Why does it resonate with your heart? This can be a clue to what is most important to you.
- What times in your life have been the happiest? What were you doing? Whom were you with? Why do these memories bring you so much joy?
- What breaks your heart? What problems, situations, or injustices in the world upset you?
- What makes you feel alive? What makes you feel free? When do you feel like you’re doing what you’re born to do?
- What are you known for? What is your expertise? What do others complement you for? When others ask you for advice, what topics do they usually discuss?
- Who are your heroes? What qualities do they possess? Why do you think you are drawn to them?
These kinds of questions will help you get to the heart of whom you really are and what you were born to do. Don’t over-analyze your answers or think about them too much. The questions are just designed to give you a basic snapshot of your identity as a man.
Frederick Buechner describes a person’s calling like this: “We should go with our lives where we most need to go and where we are most needed.”
Where do you need to go? What are your talents, experiences, personality, and other trustworthy people trying to tell you? Where can you make the biggest impact with you life and passion?
I mentioned Dave earlier. Dave may be a figment of my imagination, but the truth is that he’s all too real. Is there a little bit of Dave inside you?
If so, take some time to think through the ten questions above. They will help you think about the broader themes of your life and help you live and give from your authentic self. And when you live authentically, you’ll have more joy and passion than ever before.
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Photo: Getty Images