7 Questions to Help You Define Your Purpose

7 Questions to Help You Define Your Purpose

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1. What Are Your Intrinsic Strengths?

We think that this is one of the most under-utilized self-reflection questions out there. Rather than only focusing on what you "love," it's helpful to consider what you're actually good at.  These are the things that give you a strong sense of purpose when you're participating in them–the things that you look forward to. We usually gravitate 

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1. What Are Your Intrinsic Strengths?

towards those things that we find success in or the things we feel we're naturally gifted at—and this can be helpful when you're working on defining your purpose. Take the time to analyze where your natural talents lie. Are you an analytical thinker who excels at strategizing? Are you a detail-oriented person who has always been great at 

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1. What Are Your Intrinsic Strengths?

noticing the nitty-gritty that other people look over? Are you the neighborhood "connector" who's great at bringing people together? Are you a "kid at heart" who can be silly and fun with your younger family members? Take stock of these strengths. This might mean reflecting on the skills that you've been most complimented on, the times 

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1. What Are Your Intrinsic Strengths?

you've stood out in school or in your career, and the situations in which you've been considered a strong leader.

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2. What Interests Would You Like to Explore?

When I first quit my job, I couldn’t wait to reconnect with interests I’d neglected over the years—such as writing, singing, and experimenting with healthy recipes. Dabbling in old passions reignited my creative side and led to the start of my writing career. Create short-term goals to explore what fits into your life right now. Get rid of any limiting 

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2. What Interests Would You Like to Explore?

belief that has stood in your way. Start by considering activities that make you smile, laugh, and feel most fulfilled—including activities you may have enjoyed when you were younger.  When we were younger, we were less jaded from school, work, and outside opinions: we liked what we liked. Try to tap into that younger version of 

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2. What Interests Would You Like to Explore?

yourself. It's likely she'll remind you of what you used to love, and you can find that again.

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3. What Motivates You?

What you find motivating may be a big indicator of your sense of purpose.  We often talk about motivation in terms of productivity for those times when you're feeling Sunday Scaries or Monday morning blues. But motivation matters when it comes to determining a stronger sense of purpose, too. 

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3. What Motivates You?

There are two types of motivation: intrinsic and extrinsic. The former is the motivation that's found within—it's that "something" inside of you that drives you and your actions.  Extrinsic motivation is the kind of motivation that we find outside of ourselves. It might be a monetary reward or an accolade of some kind.

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3. What Motivates You?

We are all motivated by a mix of intrinsic and extrinsic motivators at any given moment. When it comes to your career and finding your purpose, though, we recommend tapping into that intrinsic motivation as much as possible.

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4. What Do You Like About Yourself?

Like the question above about intrinsic strengths, this one requires some real self-reflection (and some bragging!). When trying to determine a clear sense of purpose for your career (and life!), you need to really know yourself. Here's a helpful exercise: make a list of your unique, positive attributes. To do this, consider how you'd 

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4. What Do You Like About Yourself?

describe yourself to someone who has never met you. Think about how your loved ones would describe you. List out some of the positive ways in which your classmates or employers have complimented you. Create a good, long positive list of the things that make you "you."

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5. What Do You Value Most?

Another helpful item to consider when determining your purpose is what it is that you truly value. What are your core values? These are the values that mean the most to you. They'll differ for everyone, but we listed out a ton of core values here, in case you want to get your ideas flowing. Once you know what your real, true values are, you're likely 

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5. What Do You Value Most?

on the path to finding a deeper purpose. That's because these values usually inform everything you do—and your outlook on life in general. Whether you most emphasize empathy, dependability, resilience, accountability, or productivity, you can use those values to determine whether your current company or role reflects your own moral 

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5. What Do You Value Most?

code to the extent that you'd like. Knowing your values—and living them—is a key way to ensure that you'll find joy in both your career and your personal life.

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6. When Do You Find Yourself in "Flow?"

Oprah made the idea of "flow" more mainstream during the last few years. She's a big advocate of the importance of tapping into a "flow" state—and finding activities that put you there. Essentially, a "flow state" is when you're so immersed in an activity you kind of "lose yourself" in it. Psychology Today calls it "a cognitive state 

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6. When Do You Find Yourself in "Flow?"

where one is completely immersed in an activity...it involves intense focus, creative engagement, and the loss of awareness of time and self." This usually requires a task or type of work that you enjoy. If you hate math, for example, it might be harder to reach "flow" while you're working with numbers. On the other hand, if you love to write, you may 

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6. When Do You Find Yourself in "Flow?"

find yourself "in flow" when you're in the process of writing a piece that just comes easily to you. It almost feels as if you're not "working" at all. Think about the times in which you found yourself in a state of deep concentration—and enjoying it. It might be when you were working on a big work project that required a lot of writing. It might be when you 

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6. When Do You Find Yourself in "Flow?"

were painting or running or playing piano. The times that you find yourself "in flow" are the times where you're likely enjoying the process—the work or activity in and of itself—and not necessarily the end result.  When you clue into what you truly enjoy doing and those times that you've been "in flow," your purpose might become easier to identify.

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7. What Can You Contribute to the World?

Finding your purpose means finding work that is meaningful to you, of course, but it also means identifying work that impacts the world in some way. For many, a purpose extends outward—it's a sense that the actions you take are contributing to the greater good. What change would you like to see in your community or in 

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7. What Can You Contribute to the World?

the world? Based on that, how could you play a part in making those changes happen? Are there any nonprofits that you could get involved with? Are there volunteerism opportunities in your neighborhood you could take on?  In short: how could you use your voice, skills, or expertise to help other people?

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