The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.
Ever since the dawn of human civilization, philosophers have pondered the meaning of life… writing thousands of books about the topic and even a few movie (Monty Python anyone?).
Yet, still, few people can answer the question:
What’s the meaning of life?
Or more specifically, what’s the meaning and purpose of YOUR life?
Tough question, right? Maybe a little tougher than you expected?
Everyone talks about how important it is to do something meaningful – something you’re truly passionate about — and make your mark on the world.
But no one tells you how to go about finding that purpose.
Even fewer tell you how to make a profitable business out of that purpose.
When it comes to discovering your life’s purpose, there are many different methods people try… with varying degrees of success.
Let’s explore 8 of the most common methods being taught right now…
#1: The “Seminar Junkie” Method
Many people start their search for purpose in a stuffy hotel ballroom.
You know the drill.
You pay a ton of money and take lots of notes but you still leave with more questions than answers.
These large, impersonal group settings usually don’t help you find your specific and unique purpose.
You have a different purpose in life than the guy sitting next to you, and that guy has a different purpose than the person sitting next to him!
A speaker or facilitator – no matter how fabulous they are – doesn’t know YOU. They don’t know what makes you tick and what you’re truly passionate about.
They cannot pinpoint your unique purpose in life in a crammed ballroom. Ain’t gonna happen.
The Verdict: Seminars are great for inspiration, networking and learning new techniques, not great for finding YOUR unique purpose in life.
#2: The “Speed Dating” Method (a.k.a. Modern Day Tinder Method)
Another common method people use is to try everything and see what sticks. They “swipe right” on every potential partnership, project and business venture that pops up.
Perhaps you should start a non-profit? Become a reiki healer? Open a gluten-free bakery? Go vegan? No, Paleo! No, Keto!
All of the above!
I’m exhausted just thinking about it.
Why start a million little projects or business ventures that 1) you can’t commit 100% of your time and energy to 2) you don’t even know will work?
In love and in business, speed dating (or Tinder swiping) rarely leads to more clarity on your purpose. Instead it leaves you feeling more confused and exhausted than when you started!
The Verdict: Save the Speed Dating Method for Tinder, only “swipe right” on the right ventures that you KNOW will succeed.
#3: The “Eat, Pray, Love” Method
Some people try to find their purpose by escaping to distant, picturesque or even spiritual locations.
They eat at the finest restaurants, drink from the most exclusive vineyards and visit the most profound spiritual hotspots hoping their true purpose will appear in the foam of their mochachino somewhere along the way.
But often times, people find themselves feeling more lost, disoriented (not to mention broke!) than when they started out.
The Verdict: Eat, pray and love all you want while you’re on vacation. To find your true purpose, you have to accept where you are right now and go from there.
#4: The “Into the Wild” Method
It’s similar to the “Eat, Pray, Love” Method, but with one major difference. Instead of going to far away, touristy hot spots you travel into the wilderness somewhere.
Instead of expecting your purpose to materialize in your mochachino, you look for the answer in that funny shaped cloud or the leaf you found that looks like Steve Jobs.
A change of scenery is usually not the answer for finding your true purpose in life. Often you need to look inward, not outward, to find your true purpose.
If you do insist on trying this method, be sure to hang your food in sealed containers from a tree and PLEASE don’t eat any unidentified berries.
The Verdict: Leave answers “written in the stars” for poets and country music singers. If you want to really get grounded on your true purpose, focus on your inner strengths and passions.
#5: The Monastery Method
While meditation and deep reflection have their benefits, it’s rarely enough to reveal the true purpose you seek, much less how to move towards it.
In the unlikely scenario that your life’s purpose suddenly pops up during meditation, you’re left with an idea of what you should do but no concrete next steps on how to do it.
Dreaming up a big, grand plan for your life is the easy part. Achieving that grand plan takes concentrated effort, time, planning and dedication.
And in the more likely scenario that you’re NOT hit with an epiphany out of nowhere, emptying your mind has just led to crickets, not clarity.
The Verdict: Save your Zen for yoga. Namaste serious about what to do next and when to do it.
#6: The “Find a Guru” Method
Some people think “If I can’t figure out my life purpose, maybe someone else can tell me what it is?”
While a guru might appear to know you well and create a custom experience for you, they are often pushing their own personal agenda.
They will steer you onto a track THEY know a lot about, because it adds to THEIR authority and credibility.
Even if it isn’t the right fit for YOU.
The Verdict: Find a mentor, not a guru. Someone who knows enough to help you along ANY path you choose.
#7: The “Become a Guru” Method
Still others who can’t find their purpose following a guru decide they should BECOME a guru and help other people find theirs.
Can you spot the flaw in this logic?
If you’re having trouble finding your own purpose, how the heck are you going to help anyone else find thiers?
This is a losing battle from the get-go and definitely not going to create the impact you want to make in the world.
You’ll end up with more disgruntled customers than life changing success stories.
The Verdict: You can’t help others until you’ve helped yourself. Focus on what is going to fulfill you, then let that spill over onto the people you decide to serve.
#8: The “Lightning Strike” Method
When all else fails, some people try standing on the edge of a cliff and waiting for a magic voice to reveal what they are put on this earth to do.
Unfortunately, the chances of being suddenly hit with a revelation and all-consuming knowledge are… slim.
The Verdict: Don’t wait for the universe to deliver your purpose on a silver platter. Be your own wake up call, manufacture your own breakthroughs.
So now that we’ve gone over the 8 methods that will leave you feeling more lost than found, let’s move on to…
The One Method that DOES Work
Don’t rely on any outside sources to help you find your purpose in life.
The only person who knows what’s best for you is – you guessed it – YOU!
Take a good hard look at who you are and what has made you that way. What are you passionate about on the deepest level? What are your strengths and weaknesses?
Spend some time reflecting on where you are RIGHT NOW. Not where you want to be or who you want to become 5 years from now.
You can’t even hope to help anyone else until you help yourself.
Think long and hard about who you are – your truest self – and the message you are uniquely designed and destined to share with the world.
And if you get stuck anywhere along the way or want to know how to turn that purpose into a profitable business, check out this free webinar.
Where you’ll learn all about cultivating your True North Business. Not just “A business you CAN build,” but “THE business you’re HERE TO BUILD…”
When you are living a life full of passion, you are living a life on purpose.
The key to discovering your life purpose is closer than you think.
I’m curious, have you tried any of these methods for finding your life’s purpose? Did any of them work? Let me know in the comments below!
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Love it? Hate it? Let me know...
Love it! I did the Eat, Pray, love for 9 months, more to find myself after being in a war than trying to figure out my purpose. I did decide to go back to graduate school to become a social worker while I was traveling in Asia, which turned into me realizing I really needed to heal and help myself first. Now, after much reflection and course corrections, I do know that purpose. I think you are spot on, Marisa
Who did the cool illustrations for this article? Did you do it or someone on your team? Thanks for all of your insights! You rock!
Great article, I tried half of the strategies aforementioned and find very comprehensive your work, thanks for sharing it! Btw, i would love to post it (the content alone) but in Spanish, can I do it?
Awesome blog! Do you have any hints for aspiring writers?
I’m hoping to start my own blog soon but I’m a little lost on everything.
Would you advise starting with a free platform like
Wordpress or go for a paid option? There are so many options out there that I’m totally confused ..
Any tips? Bless you!