This question has been asked by people many times, “How do you find and know your purpose in life?” It’s a question I’ve asked myself too. I’ve asked during times of emptiness or restlessness. I’ve also asked during times of joy and excitement.
“Do we really have to have a purpose in life?” A friend thoughtfully pondered when I expressed I have been meaning to write an article regarding this topic.
“What do you mean?”
“You know, do we have to know our purpose? Can I just live and enjoy life and make that my purpose?”
“Hmmmmm…” I stopped in my tracks and time stood still for a few seconds. “That’s a good question. Well, I believe that the intention to live life with enjoyment is wonderful. When we use the word ‘purpose’ it means we want to find a reason for our existence or a reason for living. And whatever we have chosen to do or be we must enjoy it.”
She became silent. I don’t think she was convinced.
I also don’t think there is anything wrong with wanting to enjoy life.
But I believe there must be something more. So I go back to my question, “How do you find your purpose in life?”
A Personal Inventory
To guide you in finding your purpose in life, make a personal inventory by asking yourself these two questions.
Personal Inventory # 1: What do you love to do?
Personal Inventory #2: Where do you excel?
It's not really complicated. But you need to know who you really are to be able to identify your passion (what do you enjoy doing?) and your potential (what do you do well?). Knowing yourself will help you find your life's purpose.
What Do You Love to Do?
The first question that you must ask yourself is what do you love to do? What is that one thing that you feel so passionate about that when you do it you feel joyful and wonderful, you feel in the zone, whole and complete? You know there is fire in your belly. You know with a certainty that this is something that you are born to do!
But this is not the only thing that you should ask yourself. Partnering off with this first question comes the second one.
Where do you excel?
Observe the one area that you excel. For sure, this is connected to something that you love doing. If you do something often enough and with passion, you begin to excel in that one thing!
I believe that all of us have a special gift and this is connected to your life’s purpose.
A parent of one of our former students called me asking if I would like to receive donations for our preschool. She had some toys, magazines and play mats. “Yes, of course!” I replied. One of the things that she gave us was a huge ball with a handle. It was the first time we saw such a toy.
“Wow, it’s big!” We gushed.
“How do you use this?” One asked. None of us knew. It was a flabby kind of ball. It was also too big to roll or throw. The ball ended up in the corner of the room unused.
One day, some kids entered the room. One of them saw the ball. She asked if she could play with the ball. She then took the handle and sat on the ball and began bouncing around the room.
We were all laughing. So that was the purpose of the ball with the handle!
How many of us are like this ball? If we do not know our purpose, our greatness will not come out.
Some More Things You Can Do
- Take time to listen to your inner voice.
- Be aware of the things that give you joy.
- Make a personal mission statement.
- Recall your past and your experiences that have molded you to become the person you are now.
- Believe in yourself.
- When you are prodded to do something, move. Act.
- Make a dream book or a vision board
A friend shared to me how she started working with kids, left and worked in an HR department. After several months, she remembered a quiet discontent that was nagging at her. A few days later, she saw a couple of her students walking in the mall. It suddenly dawned on her that she missed the kids. She decided she will no longer renew her contract. Just as she was about to resign, she got a call from her former employer. She happily accepted the offer. Today, she now co-owns and manages a preschool with me.
Another good friend recalls as a child she always loved to perform in front of people. As she grew older, her passion for the arts won her many awards and led her to Manila where she trained with a top director. In the course of her training, she discovered her passion for directing and training. Daisy shared, “I have known my passion and purpose since I was young. But I have seen how it has evolved through the years. I found out that my core gift is training and it gives me much fulfillment to empower people.”
It was only a few years ago that I discovered my purpose in life and it has given me deep joy. As I look back, I realized that all the things that have happened to me have prepared me for this purpose. I recognized the skills I have acquired are now being used. I also know that there are more skills I need to hone but I could feel the excitement through this process.
The Purpose Driven Life
One Last Note
For those who are still trying to find their purpose in life, we often wish that someone will tell us and reassure us. But no one else can reveal your purpose to you. Only you can discover it. So start making a personal inventory today.
Don't despair. Just continue to know yourself and love yourself more. If you are spiritual, pray and meditate about it. Find a friend whom you can talk to. Find your core gift. Discover your passion and potential.
Blessings in your journey to discovery.
By: Michelle Simtoco
- Love Yourself for Goodness Sake
- The Missing Piece Meets the Big O: Are You My Missing Piece?
- How Can You Make Your Life Beautiful?
- Challenges: Love or Hate Them
- How To Get Out of A Rut?
wildrosebush from Kissimmee, Florida on February 22, 2012:
another great hub, really inspiring.
Al Hawkes from Cornwall on January 29, 2012:
Hi Ripplemaker, Its been along time. Your hub has confirmed that stepping back to go forward is worthwhile. I have spent a long time scouring the net and life, just searching.
My choice, was to return here. Sometimes what we are looking for, is right there in front of us.
Michael Adams from USA on January 13, 2012:
Another great hub! Glad I found you. I love your positive outlook on life, quotes, and new perspectives :)
Dianna Mendez on January 10, 2012:
Good thoughts to consider. I believe everyone seeks their purpose in life at one time or another. You really have to know who you are and love yourself before you can get to this stage. I agree with your encouragement to pray and seek that purpose.
vidhimayur on November 20, 2011:
Good and useful hub ripplemaker. Thanks for sharing this. True calling of life is very important to be discovered. You have rightly pointed out that one should opt for things that one enjoy instead of performing an act for the sake of it. Thanks again.
fucsia on November 09, 2011:
This is a very useful and inspirational Hub. I like the story of the ball and I think that the "Some More Things You Can Do" are particularly important for those who have lost themselves, to find the way toward their core, that is maybe the purpose of life. "Just continue to know yourself and love yourself more." This is the key!
Thanks for sharing this Hub!
anglnwu on November 02, 2011:
Good tips. Your hub resonates with the advice that Steve Jobs gave--to stay true to yourself and follow your own intuition. Thanks for sharing this inspirating hub.
merchantdoctor from Reno on October 21, 2011:
What a perfectly written and enjoyable HUB. Thanks Michelle - We are fortunate enough to work with people who are in the process of discovering their purpose every day. I will recommend your writings and look forward to more!
Fierce Manson from Atlanta on October 01, 2011:
You have made some excellent points here. I particularly like what you said about if we do not know our purpose, our greatness will not come out. I also highly recommend the book you have here in your hub the Purpose Driven Life. It is a very excellent read.
jenubouka on September 12, 2011:
My purpose in life changed once I had my son...I try to be the loving and nurturing mother, though lately i have forgotten any other purpose. Any suggestions would be a god send
lyzh on September 10, 2011:
I am so.... blessed!Thank God for you....
Ania Lichszteld from United Kingdom on September 07, 2011:
Thank you for this hub, wonderful examples, very inspiring.
Michelle Simtoco (author) from Cebu, Philippines on August 24, 2011:
mcleodgi, thanks for sharing your heart/experience here. I understand and know what you meant about the uncertainty (etc) as I too have been in that road. Yes just allow yourself to enjoy your gift and go with the flow. The knowing will come when you let go of the expectations. :) :) :) And I am certain your grandfather is proud of you. Love and light...
Ginny McLeod from Overland Park on August 23, 2011:
Hi. I just wanted to thank you for giving advice that I have needed for more than a year now. I only just started to discover my spiritual gifts (which involve healing) and true spirituality a year and a half ago. I'm still not clear as to where exactly it's taking me. I've been sensing that I'm supposed to do something major with it but am very confused as to what exactly. I am also very aware that I am probably among of the youngest (I'm in my mid-twenties) to start coming into it. There have been times when I've become very frustrated with myself and have felt like I was supposed to know by now. I want to thank you for showing that there's no need to rush or to have rigid expectations about it. One thing that gave me great joy was when I spent time with and gave Reiki to my grandfather on his very last day. My grandfather did so many wonderful things for my whole family (including me) and many others throughout his life. I felt as if I was giving him something precious back when I was giving him Reiki.:)
Karen A Szklany from New England on August 17, 2011:
Awesome, thought-provoking hub, Ripplemaker. I am about to return to home-schooling my daughter, and the rest of the family is against it. They think her needs won't be met as well as when she attended school. I believe the endeavor can excel in this. It is something I feel I am meant to do. I will definitely be focusing on my human interactive time and very little time on the computer!
Also a musician, sometimes the only musical practice I get is singing with my daughter and playing lullabies on my mandolin for her. I am so grateful for this practice time, She enjoys this time together, welcomes my singing to her, and I believe this is creating some lovely, warm childhood memories for her....while others think I am overindulging her. :0(.
I hope to publish a book for children, but am working up from a simple poem...which I hope to find an editor of a children's magazine to publish. :0)
It's so important to meditate...which opens us up to listening to ourselves...the sound of our soul's voice...or the Angels...of Great Spirit/God. :)...and the knowledge of Great Spirit/God's love.
Thanks for such an inspiring, grounding hub, Ripplemaker!
Maggie.L from UK on August 07, 2011:
Thanks for writing such an inspirational hub. I will share this with my teenage daughter who is at that stage where she has to decide what direction she wants to head in when she leaves school.
Denise Handlon from North Carolina on August 02, 2011:
Very cool hub, Michelle. I love your tips and positive approach. This is such an important topic. :) Rated up.
Injured lamb on July 29, 2011:
Great hub! I did wonder this before when things just happen out of our control but to accept the cruelty...but realized then there are times we just love to make life difficult for ourselves. Thanks for the sharing and love this very much ~"Don't despair, just continue to know yourself and love yourself more..."
Victor Mavedzenge from Oakland, California on July 27, 2011:
Very interesting hub.Thanks for sharing
Michelle Simtoco (author) from Cebu, Philippines on July 15, 2011:
Hi Stan, great that you are starting to write again. I know what you mean about getting a job for fear our passion will never give us enough money to provide for the family. But don't lose hope...write it down..as clearly on what you want to become and then allow things to unfold. It would be too long to write on this comment space so for now wishing you a life that you can have...blessings to you!
StanJ from New York on July 15, 2011:
This is a very nicely written piece, thank you for sharing your insight. I do know what brings me that kind of joy, it is when I can sing and play, God gave me some musical gifts, and nothing brings me greater joy than using them. Ask me what I excel at, I would say writing. Or at least I used to be able to say that. As a child growing up, I filled thousands of notebooks with poems and short stories. But what is a person to do when reality gets in the way of those dreams? Reality came knocking and said get a job. Then reality said take care of your children like you were taken care of and i have done my best to do just that. This has not left me much time for singing, or playing an instrument either, and I have just started to write again, for better or for worse. So how do you move past that? I find myself with a lot more time on my hands and sometimes my heart aches for what I have missed along the way.
lilyfly on July 13, 2011:
That is it! But you know, it's even harder to work hard when you receive accolades from the beginning; you are always trying to please others, or top yourself. You have to let that go too, and do what you know is right. Thank you for the hub...! lily
Syed Shoaib Hussain on July 06, 2011:
Great hub. I wish I could write so well.
healthp on July 05, 2011:
is a very inspiring article, I found my purpose with my wife in God
mareezy13 from Chicago, IL on July 05, 2011:
I have been reevaluating my life over the past few months and have found my purpose. I was lost for a while and unsure of which road I should be following, but I finally realized I am on the right track. Things happen for a reason, and people come into our lives at certain times to guide us to our destiny. Great hub!
Joy56 on June 27, 2011:
i loved this hub and the video. Yes we can all make a difference in this world, thanks for sharing.
Mark from Alabama,USA on June 21, 2011:
Gr8 hub - very introspective, it has made me re-evaluate my life ;0)
TY & God-Bless
powerofknowledge1 on June 20, 2011:
Great hub! Thanks for sharing.
John Sarkis from Winter Haven, FL on June 19, 2011:
Very insightful hub. It's a very difficult question to ask in my point of view; a question whom many of us will never find an answer for....
Take care Ripplemaker
Captain Spaceman from Manhattan Beach on June 04, 2011:
Very Inspiring, I like your style.
skye2day from Rocky Mountains on June 01, 2011:
Where there is no vision my people perish Proverbs 29:18
We need God to communicate with us, to give us direction and to help us understand what our vision should be.
Many Blessings ripplemaker. For me it has taken much time to discover what was in the treasure chest for me. The passion to write placed on my heart many years ago was put on the back burner. Not because of God but because I went a crooked path and did not hear. It was only many years later when I asked Christ into my heart I could hear. I can only hope that many discover earlier in life their purpose. Most of us have many many gifts just waiting to be opened. Seek God first and all these other things will be added unto you. Matthew 6:31
Many Blessings on your journey. I pray many are led to your writing here. I pray many find Christ. He is the missing piece to the puzzled mind. No DOUBT We are commissioned to share the Good news of salvation that is a given. May all be bold in sharing the Love of Christ. He is the way truth and Life. He will reveal more to us as we grow up in Him. Thanks for a wonderful eye opener I truly hope many will open eyes to the goodness of the Creator. He owns it all He created all for a purpose. Many miss the calling. Young ones seek now. Old ones seek now. Love ya ripplemaker. Stop over and visit when you have a spare minute. Hugs Galore. In Christ.
eventsyoudesign from Nashville, Tennessee on May 30, 2011:
I agree about true purpose and believe that everyone excels at something. My question is how to get the respect you deserve from your peers. I excel at what I do and it would be nice from time to time to have others that work with me show me the respect that I deserve. Thanks for sharing a great article. I will have my husband read this one. He will certainly have a comment or two. Teresa
JAILTALK from Oregon on May 07, 2011:
I really enjoyed your article and think i have found a purpose for myself. You asked to think about what you exceed at. I have accomplished that successfully, but feel like there is "something more in the basement" -(Last Rocky movie even though he achieved so much and was getting older, he still felt this.)
I totally agree with your statement when prodded to do something, Act.
I identify with your reference to your little voice and fire in your belly. SO WELL WRITTEN.
I have a lot to learn about religion and enjoy learning, but one friend scared me telling me there is not necessarily a purpose for everyone, only to glorify God.
I Thank-you for this article as you hit on the nail how I feel.This makes me feel less selfish for following my heart and compassions. I still joke that I don't know what I want to be when I grow up!
skye2day from Rocky Mountains on May 06, 2011:
ripplemaker awesome hub of love. I believe we all have a purpose. We were created for a purpose. John the Baptist to prepare the way for Jesus Christ. Paul to share the Gospel to the gentiles and nations. Moses to lead the Jews out of Egypt on and on. I did put my trust in worldly stuff. When I sought GOD and asked Jesus as Lord of my life God could then open up the windows so I could use His gift to serve Him and help others. His Grace is awesome love. It is never to late to discover. Keep seeking and God will direct the path. We do reap what we sow. Passions and dreams are put on our heart by the one that created us. God the Father. To thine own self be true. He gives us desires and passions to help serve Him. Love God and Love your Brother.
Many Blessings on your journey sister. Up and awesome words of hope and inspiration. 'With God all things are possible' Matthew 19:26
Sun-Girl from Nigeria on May 06, 2011:
Wonderful article you shared here once again and i think an always happy each time i come across your hub because i feel so informed and well advised from virtually all your hubs and these one has really helped me to know my purpose on life once again and am so gingered about it.
wholesaletoys from El Monte, California on May 04, 2011:
Hello I too live in the Philippines. I thank your for your Hub. I voted it up and said your were awesome.
capncrunch from New Orleans on April 24, 2011:
This is such an inspiring article! I agree so much that we need purpose. I am constantly trying to find my passion. A friend once told me I am like a bird looking for a place to land. It is not that I feel lost but just am not sure where I want to stay.
I thank you for writing this hub. There are so many times we should just stop and get back to the basics in life. The things that matter most are those that really matter. It really is about choices but how much we don't realize if we don't choose, that is the choice!
Wonderful writing and love the video!!!
Tweetmom from Newark on April 23, 2011:
Find the purpose in life. Your true calling. Thats when a person will start living. Great hub
Wooded on April 23, 2011:
It is so important to find your purpose. The people that don't realize this haven't discovered theirs yet. Great hub!
korculablue on April 21, 2011:
Loved your hub about such an important subject and thank you so much for posting it.I thought I had found my purpose or purposes in life as a school teacher of young children, having three boys of my own to nurture and a husband to spend my life with. Ten years ago I had to give up my beloved teaching due to a disabling illness and then eight years ago I lost my husband who died from a COPD disease. I felt for so long that I had no longer any purpose in life, that indeed there was no longer any point to life. It took time but I slowly began to find my purpose in life was still there only it had changed direction somewhat. It still had to come from inside of me. A purposeless life seems to me to be a very empty life.
FaithDream from (Midwest) USA on April 20, 2011:
Finding your purpose and then fulfilling it will not only encourage you, but it will give your life a whole new meaning.
It will reenergize you and you will identify yourself with successful people.
It's in retrospect that you see why things happened the way they did. It was all in the purpose of becoming who you are intended to be.
Great hub on finding your purpose in life. This is one of my favorite subjects.. :-)
Susan Hazelton from Northern New York on April 19, 2011:
wonderful hub ripplemaker. I aagree, you need a purpose in life. I love the steps towards finding your purpose. They make such perfect sense.
CMHypno from Other Side of the Sun on April 19, 2011:
I used to have one of those balls when I was a kid, except it had horns and a face and they called them space hoppers! I think that your purpose in life can change and you need to be open to change and welcoming new opportunities. Finding purpose is probably something we are not mindful enough of - it is too easy to drift in life sometimes
feenix on April 19, 2011:
I do believe that divine intervention brought me to this hub. It is inspirational, thought-provoking and a very good lesson on how to succeed in life, and on how to live life with passion. Thank you. This article really made my day.
evabell from cebu, philippines on April 19, 2011:
hi michelle, you've perfectly put in those words the journey i would choose to go through. Go, finding the purpose in life ahead, by looking the way within. Thanks for the beautiful hub, keep inspiring......
Michelle Simtoco (author) from Cebu, Philippines on April 18, 2011:
Thank you everyone for dropping by! I realized this is one question we all ask at one point or the other in our lives. And each of us will find our answers sooner or later. Much blessings and love to each one of you! :)
almasi on April 18, 2011:
Thanks for a beautiful and inspirational hub.
I believe our purpose lies with using our talents to help someone while doing something we love.
Looking forward to more of your hubs.
Raymond D Choiniere from USA on April 16, 2011:
Hey Michelle, I had thought about writing a hub on the same subject. However, I have a slightly different take on a person's purpose. As Parrster said, there can be an "ultimate" purpose for a person's life, but I disagree with his location of said purpose. I would agree that the "ultimate" purpose for a person's life would be outside of oneself, however, it must come from within oneself. Thus, it is not discovered, but is created by oneself, so as to guide(create path) to a joyous future.
Many people continue to "believe" in a purpose that is granted to them or given, which your hub clearly states doesn't happen, which I agree. We, as individuals, must learn about ourselves before we can bestow a purpose. We, as individual, must be consciously aware of our inner potential, so we are able to see obstacles and limitations, we have at the time we look. Only truly knowing oneself can we step forward, otherwise, one blindly walks the path of living. Thumbs up! :) Thank you for sharing. :)
Richard Parr from Australia on April 16, 2011:
Thanks for this hub. Like your friend alluded, to search for ones life purpose assumes such exists. I believe such does; though I speak in the context of ultimate purpose. There are nuances of purpose; from trivial to paramount. To discover our loves and talents I think addresses less purpose than it does preference; and self-analysis seems apt in seeking these out. However, and I hint at the supernatural here, discovering ultimate purpose requires substantially more; far less looking inward as it does outward (upward). Regarding ones pursuit of ultimate purpose, one first has to acknowledge that such exists, second that it is locatable, thirdly have the willingness to seek it out, and last the humility and courage to accept the truth of it when discovered.
SweetiePie from Southern California, USA on April 15, 2011:
Being inspired and doing something you enjoy is paramount. It is ridiculous to go to school to become a lawyer if you hate practicing law. It would be preferable to be an underpaid teacher if that is your preference.
Elayne from Rocky Mountains on April 15, 2011:
Love your hub about finding purpose in life. Being a recent empty nester, I have had to rethink my purpose (since when I had children at home, they were my main purpose for living). Now I have started tutoring young children who come from disadvantaged homes, write for hubpages and paint. I am enjoying these things as well as serving in the church.
Jamie Brock from Texas on April 15, 2011:
What an inspiring hub, Ripplemaker. I feel like I've been in limbo the past few years of my life and I KNOW there is more I should be doing. Thank you for this :)
Luxmih Eve-Lyn Forbes from Fort Pierce, Florida on April 15, 2011:
Waaaaaay to go. I love this/ More, please, more!!!!
dayzeebee from Cebu, Philippines on April 15, 2011:
Michelle, I am blessed and fortunate to have witnessed the uncovering of your purpose in life. I can never thank Father God enough for allowing me to experience the power of Healing Love that emanates from your being during intense meditation, prayers and healing sessions. This pure love never fails to shine forth even in your inspirational hubs. People are simply drawn to love the spirit within you. I am filled with joy. Blessings always:)
JP Carlos from Quezon CIty, Phlippines on April 14, 2011:
Many don't even take the time to find out more about themselves. That makes it more difficult to find their purpose.
There's so much heart in this hub.
Michelle Simtoco (author) from Cebu, Philippines on April 14, 2011:
Hi Simone! The ball with the handle is still in our preschool and it makes me smile thinking about our funny experience. Glad this inspired you. Blessed be. :)
Simone Haruko Smith from San Francisco on April 14, 2011:
I really love the ball with the handle metaphor! Your Hubs are the best, ripplemaker. I feel quite inspired!
Michelle Simtoco (author) from Cebu, Philippines on April 14, 2011:
It is a joy to read the different perspectives about this topic. Thank you all for taking the time to leave a comment, voting up this page and leaving wonderful and uplifting energy so others may find their way in life. Love and blessings to each one of you. :)
VioletSun from Oregon/ Name: Marie on April 14, 2011:
Michelle, before I start with my thoughts, I loved the layout of your hub, made it enjoyable and easy to read, and the youtube gave it a very nice touch!
Oprah has said that her purpose in life is to teach, that if she was not in the field she is now, she would be a school teacher somewhere in the USA. She aims to turn every show she has into a lesson for others, that she needed to do her show from her heart, regardless of ratings or competition. For me the path of the heart and spiritual inspiration is the one that brings me fulfillment and I now have the opportunity to express it more. I hated working in the corporate world even with the good money I made then, as its politics and coldness were not in alignment with me, glad I literally walked out into the unknown by quitting.
Stigma31 from Kingston, ON on April 14, 2011:
I believe that the biggest purpose in life is to help others. Everyone ism blessed with strength and weaknesses, and together we can all make the world a better place. Teaching others and children is one of the most noble of causes because the strength you give the ones you teach cascades onto others. Good hub voting up!
Harlan Colt from the Rocky Mountains on April 14, 2011:
I really like this. I am going to work on it.
I am also going to bookmark this hub.
Thank you for touching something I have wondered on now and again.
Om Paramapoonya on April 14, 2011:
This is very inspirational and beautifully written, Michelle. We should stay true to ourselves instead of trying to live someone else's life. It is that simple. :)
AlexK2009 from Edinburgh, Scotland on April 14, 2011:
Of course there is a problem if you excel in something you no longer enjoy.
DevBlue from Mauritius on April 14, 2011:
I enjoyed reading through this Hub and I completely agree with what you have written.But I have been using the word "mission" instead of "purpose".I believe that in life, one should have a mission, a duty, and hobbies.The last two are easy to identify, but knowing what should be our mission requires the help of a Spiritual Master.In my last Hub I have written about the qualities of my spiritual master.
Eiddwen from Wales on April 14, 2011:
A great read and very thought provoking. I also agree that everyone does indeed have a purpose in life.
Thank you for sharing your hub with us all.
Aya Katz from The Ozarks on April 14, 2011:
Michelle, I wholeheartedly agree with everything you say here. My motto is "The joy is in purpose; the purpose is joy." Too often, people try to think how they can be of service to others, in terms of what skills the market rewards. But if we serve our own inner purpose, then that is also the best way to serve others. We should be motivated by joy in identifying our vocation.