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

  1. 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.

  2. 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!

  3. 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 ^^

  4. Maja

    Great article. Provided me with a focus and some clarity in my life :)

  5. Amy

    I see the last reply was posted in August of last year, but tonight is the first I’ve seen of your site. Thanks for sharing this. I am going to work on this, this week. I am trying to better my life in many ways, and to be a person who helps others. I know it takes a lot of time, energy and effort, but I am 26 and still unsure of my dreams this is definitely going to help me figure those things out. Thank you!

  6. Cierra

    Tina, this is a fabulous and inspiring article. I want to empower each individual to become openminded so that they may see the beauty of this world in which we live. I want to teach each individual to love their self so that they may love another. I ultimately want to show the world that we are indeed all talented, special, and a part of something greater than what originally meets the eye.

  7. Fay

    Question #12, picking the words, and creating my mission statement from them, pretty powerful.
    Thanks again,

  8. Harindu Dilshan

    Great Post. Though i still not understand my vision or purpose

  9. I am motivated and inspired to share the joy that comes to families who have the skills to grow and feed themselves nutritious foods that will bless them with awesome health and self reliance.

  10. Clear

    This was a very well put together questionnaire or maybe I am just more certain on what I want to do and what benefits I want to achieve. My only problem is I don’t really know HOW I want to achieve those results.

    Basically, my purpose and passion is to share a message of compassion, unity, creativity, freedom and abundance for all life on Earth by inspiring others to think for themselves and to find their own passions and happiness within themselves and how to balance the highest interests and needs with the rest of life on earth’s highest interests and needs.

    The top things I am passionate about are singing, writing lyrics, connecting with people (even though I am not so good at it yet but I love to make others feel loved and realize their potential), health, baking and making my own beauty products as well as learning how to be more balanced with nature .

  11. Michael

    As I am young my mission might change sometime in future :) but as for now thanks to Your article I am quite motivated to be some kind of a teacher,more of a coach maybe,so I could seek knowledge about personal developement and share it with people :D

  12. Buddhist Dude

    I found this questionnaire very enlightening and refreshing it gave me the chance to reflect on some positive aspects of my life as i am usually quite a anxious thinker lol. may pin this on my notice board to remind me what really matters. It also reminded me that I am on the right path.

    Many Thanks

  13. Hi Tina, Thank you! After years of waiting for some relevation or insight into the question why am I here, I realised that there will be no devine inspiration. I have to decide why I am here. As someone put it “if you want to know the future, create it”

  14. ramya bharathy

    hi tina,
    thanks 4 ur words,i feel dat my purpose of life after answering these 15 questions to become the godfather of my field,to do my work more passionately than anyone else in this world and leave a footmark for the future generation..i want to become a RJ or theatre artiste finally

  15. BA Brightlight

    I think that any plan that excludes the consideration and involvement of the Creator of the universe would be seriously flawed.

    However, if there is no God, then eat, drink, and be merry for tomorrow you may die.

    If there is a God, then your mission should be to find His purpose for your life as it’s His universe and He makes the rules.

  16. shimon

    wow, so profound and deep i really wish i had the patience to sit and work through all these questions but just reading them makes me feel good thanks!

  17. Awesome article Tina! Success is an inside job and this questionnaire guides us to “dig deep” to align Our “Authentic Self” with our mission and purpose for more meaningful lives! Thank you for sharing your Inspiration!!

  18. Desmond

    Thank you so much, Tina.
    I have always been struggling to create a PMS on my own but it couldnt seem to be completed.
    This post is awesome. I like what you did.
    Now, I may have not get a 100% PMS, but you did help me a great way there.

  19. Jan

    Thank you for sharing this article. It has helped me define my purpose in life (which was not a huge surprise to me). Unfortunately, I am so far away from my purpose that now I need to find the passion to “jump in and make it happen”.

    PS: How could anyone answer the questions in 60 seconds or less? It took me a full 15 minutes.

  20. Love your article, very useful. Just discovered your site and I absolutely love it.

  21. Sierra

    To approach my goal of promoting the lifestyle of living true to oneself, simply, and ethically by being courageous and having inner peace, as well as having the support of a loving partner.

    This was wonderful. Although I dont think i got this mission statement right, it’s extremely close and I was very moved by the process, thank you (:

  22. Khoi

    Thank you Tina for your help. Money should never be the reason for anything you do. Money can free you, but it will most definitely restrict you at the same time. On the other hand, love and passion will always be freeing. Don’t do things for money and power. Do what you love. The world would be a better place for it. Good luck to everyone!

  23. Anna Bravo

    Wow! That was revelation for me!
    I appreciate your diligence, guys. I got strong understanding about my mission. It is about speech.
    Advice for others before these Questions – privacy and relax. Also better to have an opportunity to see the sky (big window or sit outside). Good luck

  24. Debra

    I think your question if you could get a message across to a large group of people, who would those people be and what would be your message was a great question because I think it has helped me to think more about the direction of my own life and I just thought it was a very profound question to think about.

  25. kari

    This was a really great exercise. I’ve always struggled to find what I want and not just what I think “a good person should want.”
    I saw the same words come up over and over and that was oddly comforting.
    i think the trick to finding your true self requires find the questions that don’t let you fall back on societal perceptions.
    this was a great start for me. thanks!

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