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6 Steps to Discovering Your Purpose in Life

Victor J. Strecher August 23, 2017

Adapted from “Life on Purpose: How Living For What Matters Most Changes Everything,” in agreement with HarperOne.

Your purpose is your fingerprint. Your DNA. It’s the statement that separates you from your boss, the street urchin in Mumbai, and your jerk of a brother-in-law. Your “best purpose” becomes your inner motivator, turning on the ignition switch in your brain to transcend the noise in your life and focus on what matters most.

Step 1: Consider what matters most to you from the following grid of core values.

Select three that you care about the most in your life, or if you have one that is not listed here, go ahead and use that one.

ACHIEVEMENT COMMUNITY CREATIVITY ENJOYMENT EXPERTISE
INDEPENDENCE KINDNESS RELATIONSHIPS REPUTATION RESPONSIBILITY
SECURITY SELF-CONTROL SPIRITUALITY TRADITION VITALITY

 

Step 2: Think about a person or people you’d like to emulate (not imitate).

This can be a family member, historical figure, public figure, or even cartoon character. This is your purpose, and you can choose whatever mix of people you like.

Step 3: Take the Headstone Test.

Draw a headstone, write your name on it, and write in your date of birth. For the date of death, write “TODAY.” What would your epitaph be if today was the last day of your life? What would you want people to say at your memorial service?

Step 4: Determine what goals in your life matter the most.

To make this easier, you can break these into personal, family, work (or school), and community goals that you deeply value.

Step 5: Assemble your goals into an overall life purpose.

Stop and ask yourself, “Is this purpose bigger than myself?” Also ask,  “In living toward this purpose, will I treat others the way I would like to be treated?”

Step 6: Post your purpose in a place where you’ll see it every day.

Make sure you can recite your purpose to yourself or others. Consider sharing your purpose with the people who are close to you. If the purpose doesn’t seem to fit you, change it until it does.

Leadership / Social Entrepreneurship
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