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Life on Purpose: 15 Questions to Discover Your Personal Mission

Photo by Thomas Hawk

I believe that we were all sent here for a reason and that we all have significance in the world. I genuinely feel that we are all blessed with unique gifts. The expression of our gifts contributes to a cause greater than ourselves.

First, a personal story

Last year, I was running at full speed; chasing after my dream of money and ‘success’. However, I had forgotten why I was running. Luckily, I met Jim (not his real name). Jim had achieved all the financial goals I was reaching for. He had financial independence, several successful businesses, homes in multiple countries, and the luxury to afford the finest things money could buy.

Through hard work, persistence and sheer action; he had made it! But, Jim was not happy. He did not have the free time to enjoy his wealth. He wanted a family. He wanted peace. He wanted to live his life… but he was not able to. He had too many responsibilities, too much to lose, and too many things to protect. He had spent years building his castle, and now that it is complete, he is spending his time keeping it from eroding.

Getting to know Jim was a life altering and eye opening experience. His words snapped me out of my state of ‘unconsciousness’. It became clear to me that, “I did not want to spend the next 10 years chasing after money, only to find that I’ll be back at the same place I am at today; emotionally, mentally, and spiritually”. My ‘chase’ came to a screeching halt, everything was put on hold, and I spent the next two months re-evaluating my life and purpose.

These questions were running through my mind:

What am I chasing after? Why am I chasing it? What is my purpose? Why was I put here?

While reading “E-Myth: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work“, I found myself in tears during the chapter on finding purpose. In that chapter, Michael Gerber asks the readers to do a visualization exercise. Through his guidance, he instructs you to vividly picture the day of your funeral. What do you want your eulogy to consist of? What would your lifetime achievements be? What would matter the most at the end of your life? Is it what you are doing right NOW?

I started writing. It began by listing all the things that are most important to me. I wrote down all the things I wanted to do. I re-visited my personal mission statement. I decided that whatever venture I commit to must align with my personal mission, my values and my goals. For every new opportunity that comes along, I would ask myself how it aligns with my goals. Regardless of how much money I could acquire, if the venture did not align with where I wanted to be, then I would not pursue it. Here is my personal mission statement:

To Empower, motivate and inspire people to living happier and more fulfilled lives.

Here are some of my values and goals:

  • What matters most is my connection with myself, being present and feeling blissful.
  • What I value most is having meaningful relationships with people. Being able to connect with people on deep levels.
  • I plan to be financially independent, and have control of my time and location. I plan to work only on projects and causes that I connect with. I plan to acquire my finances without violating my values, goals and personal mission.
  • I plan to travel and live in different parts of the world. Experiencing different cultures, documenting them in photographs and sharing them with others.
  • I will buy my mom a house in Vancouver with a ravine in the backyard. That’s a dream of hers and I’d like to fulfill it.
  • Having a family is important to me. I desire a deep, loving relationship with my spouse.
  • To live everyday fully as if it was my last.

15 Questions to Discover Your Life Purpose

The following are a list of questions that can assist you in discovering your purpose. They are meant as a guide to help you get into a frame of mind that will be conducive to defining your personal mission.

Simple Instructions:

  • Take out a few sheets of loose paper and a pen.
  • Find a place where you will not be interrupted. Turn off your cell phone.
  • Write the answers to each question down. Write the first thing that pops into your head. Write without editing. Use point form. It’s important to write out your answers rather than just thinking about them.
  • Write quickly. Give yourself less than 60 seconds a question. Preferably less than 30 seconds.
  • Be honest. Nobody will read it. It’s important to write without editing.
  • Enjoy the moment and smile as you write.

15 Questions:

1. What makes you smile? (Activities, people, events, hobbies, projects, etc.)

2. What are your favorite things to do in the past? What about now?

3. What activities make you lose track of time?

4. What makes you feel great about yourself?

5. Who inspires you most? (Anyone you know or do not know. Family, friends, authors, artists, leaders, etc.) Which qualities inspire you, in each person?

6. What are you naturally good at? (Skills, abilities, gifts etc.)

7. What do people typically ask you for help in?

8. If you had to teach something, what would you teach?

9. What would you regret not fully doing, being or having in your life?

10. You are now 90 years old, sitting on a rocking chair outside your porch; you can feel the spring breeze gently brushing against your face. You are blissful and happy, and are pleased with the wonderful life you’ve been blessed with. Looking back at your life and all that you’ve achieved and acquired, all the relationships you’ve developed; what matters to you most? List them out.

11. What are your deepest values?

Select 3 to 6 (See list of words to help you | list in pdf) and prioritize the words in order of importance to you.

12. What were some challenges, difficulties and hardships you’ve overcome or are in the process of overcoming? How did you do it?

13. What causes do you strongly believe in? Connect with?

14. If you could get a message across to a large group of people. Who would those people be? What would your message be?

15. Given your talents, passions and values. How could you use these resources to serve, to help, to contribute? ( to people, beings, causes, organization, environment, planet, etc.)

Your Personal Mission Statement

“Writing or reviewing a mission statement changes you because it forces you to think through your priorities deeply, carefully, and to align your behaviour with your beliefs”
~Stephen Covey, ‘7 Habits of Highly Effective People’
A personal mission consists of 3 parts:

  • What do I want to do?
  • Who do I want to help?
  • What is the result? What value will I create?

Steps to Creating Your Personal Mission Statement:

1. Do the exercise with the 15 questions above as quickly as you can.

2. List out actions words you connect with.

a. Example: educate, accomplish, empower, encourage, improve, help, give, guide, inspire, integrate, master, motivate, nurture, organize, produce, promote, travel, spread, share, satisfy, understand, teach, write, etc.

3. Based on your answers to the 15 questions. List everything and everyone that you believe you can help.

a. Example: People, creatures, organizations, causes, groups, environment, etc.

4. Identify your end goal. How will the ‘who’ from your above answer benefit from what you ‘do’?

5. Combine steps 2-4 into a sentence, or 2-3 sentences.

What is your purpose? What is your mission? We’d love to hear about your goals and aspirations. Please share with a comment!

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About the author

Tina Su is a mom, a wife, a lover of Apple products and a CHO (Chief Happiness Officer) for our motivational community: Think Simple Now. She is obsessed with encouraging and empowering people to lead conscious and happy lives. Subscribe to new inspiring stories each week. You can also subscribe to Tina on Facebook.

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283 thoughts on Life on Purpose: 15 Questions to Discover Your Personal Mission

  1. Owl

    Well, that was a waste of time for me. I answered to question 15: “I don’t want to help. I hate everyone.” and this little questionnaire is all about finding who you can help. I hate most people because they are judgemental bullies and stuck-ups. I hate all women on Earth because none will date me. And I hate all men on Earth because I’m jealous they have a girlfriend or wife. The only few people I like are those who are rejected by society but there’s nothing I can do for them, if I could I’d help myself first.

  2. Rajan

    why should I have a purpose for living. Iam very happy living pupose less life.I wake up every morning and do whatever I feel good about. Got no where to go, nothing to achieve. well god has been very kind to me.I got to do some important work but wont bother much if I am not successfull. Nobody on this earth can say he finished his job. every body around me is jealous of me because my life is awesome

  3. Jasdev Singh

    And i just figured that i need professional success, money and satisfaction that my existence on this earth is important.
    But Im still unable to find what i really wanna do !(professionally)
    Every time i think about my career ,future it just trips me out and i dream only about being successful.Its like a trap i want to leave. but, i couldnt find my way out.


    I know this article will help me to wake up like a champ. Now I know what’s the purpose of my life. I also want to motivate others like you. #thanksandhaveahappierday

  5. subash chandar

    Thats an marwellous stuff tina

    u have shaped it very nicely and expericenly……

  6. payonidhi kasliwal

    I do like it the way you have put the question of life’s purpose but to me Life is meaningful only if you have made the world you lived in a better place as compared to what it was at the time of your birth be it in terms of physical world or the people you helped or in terms of compassion you gave.

  7. Haley

    very helpful! will use this in our lifegroup to help others find their personalized purpose

  8. Rohit David

    Hi Tina,

    This is quite an article. No offense meant, but I find this article to be more of a self-centered goal! It appears that the purpose of life is only to please yourself, others and to earn money. I am not against any of these missions, because these may be good for your vocation. However, you have conveniently forgotten the purpose for which God created us – if look through the most read book of the world existing today, is The Holy Bible. According to God, he created man (human beings) to glorify Him. All other things are secondary. What we do is because of Adam sinned (fallen to the tricks of satan) and got thrown out of the Garden of Eden. Had it not been so, the humans would have been enjoying the fruit of the garden of eden without any labor. Had sin not overcome our lives, God’s Son would not have been crucified for our sake.

    The sole purpose of human being is to glorify Him alone and all things will be added automatically, Matthew 6:33, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Isaiah 43:7 – everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.”

    We are bought with a price, the price of the blood of Lamb, therefore honor God – 1 Corinthians 6:20

  9. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on life purpose. Regards

  10. Continuously I used to read smaller articles which also clear their
    motive, and that is also happening with this post which I am reading at this time.

  11. Kindred

    Fantastic article post Tina! You helped me to dig deep inside and truly find my way back to my heart. I had been recently feeling as if I was drifting through life and discovered that I had no vision or dream. By getting out some paper and my pen I was able to re-clarify not only what is important to me in terms of my values, but also how I can contribute to the global populus as well. Thanks and keep writing all these awesome blog posts!

  12. Eric

    When it comes to who am I, my purpose, my mission, my vision, my calling, my passions, my heart’s desire, I’m getting lost in defining these things and trying to understand them formulaically. I need to define this and put them in the right order, and then my mind will reveal the secrets of each, such rigidity. :( Any else make finer distinctions between these mental constructs…I think some distinctions among them are important, despite these concepts converging.

  13. lekshmi

    Thank you Tina… Just the sort of thing I wanted to hear when I feel stuck somewhat at a cross road with vague directions or too many choices… Good to streamline and achieve clarity…Thanks again,Lekshmi

  14. Karen

    In an attitude of kindness I will…
    Empower women to value themselves through love and celebration of their authentic selves.

    Encourage children to identify and develop their natural gifts and talents, and in doing so, change the face of education, and the world!, by redefining success.

  15. An interesting discussion is definitely worth comment.
    I do think that you need to publish more on
    this issue, it may not be a taboo subject but typically people
    do not discuss such issues. To the next! Best wishes!

  16. Sarah

    Thanks A Million Tina Sama :D :D :D this is a powerful, to the point article really!! Thanks way more than a Million :D :D Thanks to Think Simple Community! Really Grateful ^^

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