What's Your Purpose – Your Raison D'Etre

“He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.” - Friedrich Nietzsche.                

Do you jump out of bed on Monday mornings and look forward to the week? 

Do you have a clear sense of purpose? Having a sense of purpose and striving towards goals that enable you to express your purpose gives life meaning, direction and satisfaction. It not only contributes to health and longevity but also allows you to succeed in challenging times.

Discover if you know your purpose

Answer "yes" or "no:" 

  1. Facing my daily tasks is very satisfying.
  2. I have clear career and life goals.
  3. My life has been worthless.
  4. I enjoy my close friends.
  5. I wouldn't change my life drastically if I had six months to live.
  6. I have seriously thought of suicide.
  7. I see a reason to be here.
  8. My job gives my life meaning.
  9. I have little meaning in my life.
  10. I spend my life doing what I "should" rather than what I want.

Scoring: One for each "no" to statements 3, 6, 9 and 10; and one for each "yes" to others. The higher you score, the more you're involved in activities that give you a sense of meaning, direction and satisfaction; 6 or lower suggests you lack a clear sense of purpose.

Tips for clarifying purpose

Identifying your purpose will take time particularly if you're not used to looking inward. 

-- Identify what's important to you.
Clarify what success means to you. Don't try to live up to others' expectations and definitions of success.

-- Consider how you'd change your life if you knew you had six months to live.
If you would change jobs, return to school, complete a project, then get on with it! What's stopping you? Be honest.

-- State what you'd do if you had billions.
If you're working at something that has no meaning just to pay bills, you're making money more important than your sense of purpose. How could you make money doing what you really enjoy?

-- Identify personality traits you would choose if you could begin life today.
Would you be more assertive, caring or other?

-- Describe yourself without using labels.
Specify human qualities, for example: “I am smart, creative, and a loving partner.” If you resort to labels such as job history or marital status, you may view yourself as a statistic rather than a special human being.

-- Adopt a cause.
Discover ways in which you can get involved in community projects. Volunteer to help in seniors. Join a community group that fights for a cause in which you believe. 

-- Identify major themes or patterns:

1) Proud accomplishments in any life area (social, work, school, civic.)
2) What you want colleagues to say about you.
3) Absorbing childhood activities.
4) Recurring dream.
5) What you'd do if you couldn’t fail.
6) A prize you'd select (literary, athletic) for being the world's best.
7) What you'd wear to a costume party.
8) People you admire and why.
9) Skills you want to use in your ideal job.

Write a “working” mission statement describing your purpose based on recurring themes. Discuss your themes with a partner. Brainstorm how your purpose can be expressed in various life components. For example, if your purpose is to help others, you could express it at work by being a helpful sales clerk. In family activities, you may express your purpose by being a loving aunt. Don't allow age, lack of education or physical disabilities stop you from expressing your mission.

Charlene's purpose is caring for animals. She's made this into her business -- caring for pets during their families' vacations and waking dogs. Charles purpose is communications. He's been a successful magazine editor, author, broadcaster, photographer and evangelist.

The purpose is a common denominator for success. Knowing your purpose will give you the courage to do what you've always longed to do. It will be easier to risk, to manage fear. You'll be able to change your life for the better. 

“You can have anything you want if you want it badly enough…” - Abraham Lincoln.               

Dr. Carole Kanchier pioneered the concept of purpose into her work on career and personal growth. A registered psychologist, coach, consultant and syndicated columnist, she is author of the groundbreaking, award-winner, Questers Dare to Change Your Job and Your Life.

Questers Dare to Change Your Job and Life is available from