Think Simple Now — a moment of clarity

What should I do with my life? Click here.

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!

Before you go: please share this story on Facebook, RT on Twitter. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter. Subscribe to receive email updates. Thank you for your support!
Connect with TSN Facebook Twitter Google+ Pinterest Instagram RSS
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.

Love this article? Sign up for weekly updates!

Think Simple Now delivers weekly self-reflective, inspiring stories from real people. Join our empowering community by entering your email address below.

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

  1. Will

    Hey Tina. I had been avoiding doing this exercise because I was scared… scared of potentially not having answers, but also scared of what I might uncover.

    To my surprise, the answers came freely and easily.

    Here is my mission statement. It’s something that had been dancing around for a long time in my mind, but that I had never articulated to myself. It also assembled quite readily from the questions:

    “To inspire and inform everyone, through writing and speaking, that they may find loving, happy, and fulfilling lives by embracing the ideals of honesty and courage.”

    That’s version one. I have to deal with my own fear first, but having this here and reading it every morning will go a long way towards helping me move forward.

    You have my gratitude!

  2. JH

    Another great article worthy of reading and putting to practice. Thank you kindly for such original content.

  3. Rick Curry

    I fell onto your blog today, what a great Christmas present for me! Although I have read only a few of your articles Tina, this one speaks loudly to me as I work with people assisting them in finding their life purpose. Much of what you share here is in direct alignment in the work that I’ve been doing.

    I so appreciate your clarity, and the volume of your sharing. You are truly a generous person and I totally get your being in service to your community.

    In Gratitude,
    Rick Curry, CPC CDCGL

  4. You made me happy today, Tina. Thank-YOU!

  5. Marco Aurelio

    I am reading the comments and they are all showing gratitude for what you write. I did not find one, only one, with displeasure. That´s very disturbing. Or they are block ?
    Where is the reference when everyone agrees ?

    Your 15 questions are useless and are the same that we hear year in, year out. Nothing new. Appears that people are so lost that they want to hear anything from anyone. Even this thing.

    The realm are in front. Just look. You do not need no one to tell you what to do, what to hear or what to see. You can do all that, alone. Be free to think and to act, and to find.
    And finally, run from the self proclaimed ” divine instructors”.
    Thank you.

  6. Sandrine

    Hi everyone ,
    i really love the exercises of the 15 questions on life purposes. i have been working and chasing the fashion dream since i was 17 years old.
    Of course they is no need to say that it was all that glitter that attracted me for years,closing my eyes on all the real misery,slavery,and the extreme destructive world that fashion actually offer without no pity.
    after doing the 15 question, i realise that my true aspiration are the health ,growth,and happiness of children. as a child my deepest dream was to help stop the cruelty that some children have to endure.
    being a violated child myself, i know how difficult it is to go through life with open scares that doesn’t seems to heal and your head screaming fo help.
    i am now 35 years old still trying to understand WHY and HOW, some parents find the energy to do that much damage to a small child.
    I am now a mum, of 3 beautiful girls, but unfortunately two of them, my twins girls has died. my eldest daughter is the only one left. An absolute heart break .

    This article made me realise that my true happiness is not so much the money as i though. BUT money to be able to somehow fund a house where i could welcome children and give them the love , the support, the hope… help them to develop they’re abilities. But most of all prove them that they matter to this world and to me.

    This is my deepest which. thanks to the editor of this article. ;-).

    Sandrine, from Paris.

  7. My purpose is to have a deep and meaningful connection with the Divine empowering people to experience self-love and compassion that motivates the conscious productive engagement of one’s Life Purpose resulting in Peace on Earth!

    Wow! The more I say this the more real it becomes for me…. Thank you for the opportunity. I’d say this was my mission statement also…

  8. Johannes

    My purpose is to have the mastery of life. My mission is to be the best (man, lover, friend, father, guitar player etc.) and to show people that it is possible, to give everybody unconditional love, to motivate them with my example and to take people on the adventure of their life so they realize their potential.

    **********************
    REPLY

    Wow, Johannes. Thank you for sharing! That’s beautiful!

  9. Sam

    mmmm… done the questions …but i’m a bit stuck putting together the mission statement … can anyone assist ?

    2. List out actions words you connect with. – improve, co-ordinate, organize, produce, exercise, nurture, care, support, cater

    3. drug and alcohol clients, people who need to develop life structure / discipline, clients who need recruitment , job seeking candidates

    4. Recruitment clients support, structure, process
    job seeking candidates – support, structure, process
    Drug and alcohol – exercise, nurture, structure, support
    Need life discipline – exercise, nurture, structure, support

  10. levan

    what is the case if i don’t have the answers of 90% of these questions?

  11. Rick Curry

    Levan,
    If you cannot answer the questions, I suggest that you work with a coach who has been trained to help people find their purpose. I am such a coach and I know several others. If you wish to have more info about this (and no sales talk, just answers to your questions, I promise) feel free to contact me at CoachRickCPC@Yahoo.com. Additionally, you can go to Tim Kelley’s web site at http://www.knowyourpurpose.com/store/.

    I trust this is helpful for you.

    Sincerely,
    Rick Curry

  12. Fantastic post! The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho is the bible when it comes to discovering your mission in life. Cheers

  13. The mission statement builder has moved, here’s a working link:
    http://www.franklincovey.com.au/library-resources/mission-statement-builder.aspx

    Hope this helps!

  14. In today’s world, living your life the way you desire is usually not an option, especially if you’re doing it alone.

    Answering that list of questions, may give you an idea of what you want.
    But is what you want achievable ?
    Can you reach it? can you touch it? Or do you have to work 90% of your life to get there.

    Life is short, and invisioning this clause can be difficult:
    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.

    You should look at your life in different periods of time
    When you’re 20, 30… 40… You may not necessarily reach 90
    but you’ll know what you achieved and acquired in each decade to be able to determine what you want to look forward to.

    You might also ask yourself – What do i leave behind when i’m gone?
    When the day comes and i no longer exist in this world?

  15. Rick Curry

    Marissa,
    Your post ends with, “You might also ask yourself – What do i leave behind when i’m gone? When the day comes and i no longer exist in this world?” This is exactly what the item you bring up is wanting to create. Who cares if we will or will not reach 90 — that is a destination. And it would be great to reach 90, especially if we are healthy and still active. There are more and more people that are doing that so it is becoming more the norm than not.

    If we are to live our life on purpose, the age does not matter as our purpose will be the same throughout our life. Our mission is one of the ways in which we will carry our purpose out into the world and it is possible that we might have a different mission at 40 than we will at 60 or even 45. That depends upon what our purpose is.

    For those that wish to dig deeper into finding their purpose, a new book was recently release that offers methods to assist one in finding their real life purpose. by Tim Kelley. I highly recommend it. I have worked with Tim and his methods work. I know it first hand. Check it out and let me know what you think.

    Be excellent!
    Rick Curry

    * edited by tina at 8pm 5/17/09 to fix link

  16. Gaby

    I believe my goal in life is to share all my experiences to those who believe that they have never accomplished anything in life, and to make them understand that even if they feel that way they have accomplished a lot. I want to make people value their life and other peoples lives and value every living thing (animals, insects, environment etc). To show them that not very bad thing that happens to us is bad, that is just a lesson to be learned that will make us stronger and wiser, that failure is not an impediment and that even if we fail we learn to be successful. Failing once, or twice or as many times doesn’t mean we cant accomplish or get what with want if we want it or hope for it with out heart. That we should never give up hope, because hope is what keeps us moving, living and loving. That we should learn from our experiences to help others and to be a better person everyday. That is in everyone of us to help one and other and the world so we can all live together in peace no matter who we are, where we come from what we look like, what color we are. What I personally believe is important is to learn to love and with that love help others and teach them to love as well. What would be of us if there was no love? We will have no hope, no purpose, we would be empty. We were created out of love, and we should be able to share it.

    “Things don’t go wrong and break your heart so you can become bitter and give up. They happen to break you down and build you up so you can be all that you were intended to be” – Charles “Tremendous” Jones
    “Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit.” – Napoleon Hill

    Enjoy life to the fullest, and help others enjoy life too, we just live once and we all have the right to be happy!

  17. Michelle Brown

    Wow! What a great exercise to clarify thoughts and feelings about who we are and what we want to do with it!

    Many, many thanks!

  18. Matt C

    I followed what you said to do. Thank you very much. My mission statement is “Help everyone you can a be a stranger to no man.

  19. Rick Curry

    Matt,
    In reference to Tim Kelley’s work, purpose is made up of three aspects; essence (which describes how you show up in the world and what people sense from you when they are around you), blessing (what you DO when you are living “on purpose”), and mission (how your purpose is manifested into the world). Mission is a one time thing, once it is done a new mission comes into being. What you are describing is blessing.

    Get Tim’s book (or contact me) for me info and clarity around this.

    Be Excellent!
    Rick

  20. merlynn

    Your article is great! My purpose is to use my knowledge, skills, determination and committment to empower, encourage, inspire, support and uplift others to live a life of purpose, freedom, joy and safety.

  21. Where’s the 15 questions come from?

    I think the real benefit I’ve gotten is not achieve something when finishing them,it seem like a puff of breath which take me into a mild and placid place

    15 nice questions to make inquiries for our souls,thanx!

Page 4 of 13First...234567...Last
Your thoughts?

Leave a Comment

We’d love to hear them! Please share.

Think Simple Now, a moment of clarity © 2007-2015 ThinkSimpleNow.com Privacy Disclaimer
Back to top