Finding your Purpose – 8 Questions to Reflect on in your Journal…


Steven Burns

Hi! I’m Steven. I’m a professional therapist, coach, trainer & author with over 20 years experience. I teach the latest psychological tools and techniques to help you transform and make a difference.

Do you live a life that’s rich with purpose and meaning?

One that causes you to bounce out of bed in the morning with a zest and lust for life, ready to take on the day’s challenges.

Or do you find that your life lacks meaning?

That it just seems like something is missing. Perhaps even something fundamental.

This is a common concern that many people now have.

In year’s gone past, it was generally enough just to get a job with a decent salary, find a partner, start a family and have some interesting hobbies.

But now people want more.

People want to experience a sense of purpose.

They want more meaning in their life so that when the final credits of their life come up on their internal screen they can at least say it’s all been worth it.

Sometimes people even want to find their one true life purpose: the single thing that they’re meant to do, create, or achieve in life.

And why shouldn’t they?

After all, we only get one shot at life so we might as well do everything we can to make the most of it.

This new awareness of purpose is clearly a good thing but it doesn’t come without its challenges.

In particular, it raises the question, just how do we do that?

How do we find more purpose in life?

How do we identify the key activities in life that make it deeply meaningful & worth living?

Well, one powerful way is to keep a journal and do some self-reflection.

Discovering your purpose – or purposes – is an inside-out process. no-one can tell you what your purpose is, it’s something that you need to discover.

It requires us to peer internally and connect with our passions, interests, and desires.

It’s about tapping into our inner intuition and letting it ripple out in the form of thoughts, ideas and descriptions. The like of which we then use to create meaningful goals, outcomes, and missions.

It’s something that usually requires a bit of patience, and it can also often be something we have to explore and refine over time, but it’s well worth the effort.

As I said, you only get one shot at life, and with so many options for careers and vocations, we need to spend time identifying the things that really matter so we can live as meaningful and enjoyable a life as we possibly can.

If you’d like to find more purpose and meaning in life, here are some questions that can help you kickstart the process – or move it along a little bit quicker.

You can reflect on them in your journal any way you like, but one recommendation I make is to use the following process:

→ Step 1. Buy a Journal.

Obviously, if you’re going to keep a journal you have to get one first. Either that or you open up a word document in your I-pad – personally, I much prefer a physical one.

→ Step 2. Write down the Questions & Glance.

Write down the ‘Purpose Discovering’ questions below – you can find them further down in the post – and glance through them first thing in the morning. Make this a daily ritually before you set off on your day.

At this stage, you don’t need to write any thoughts down, you just want to glance through them and consider each of them for a few moments.

The reason you do this is because it opens up a ‘thought loop’. Research has show that when we ask the mind a question it continues to consider the question multiple times, subconsciously, in the hours and days after initially asking it.

So by glancing over them in the morning you’ll be enlisting the help of your subconscious to help you explore your purpose. This is much more powerful than just thinking about the answers analytically.

→ Step 3. Go about your day as normal.

After glancing through your questions in the morning, go about your day to day business as usual, but – if possible – keep your journal on you.

If you get any sudden insights – remember, the mind keeps on searching for answers for a portion of time after initially considering a question – then jot them down in your journal.

→ Step 4. Do an Evening Reflection.

At the end of your day, allocate a portion of time for self-reflection in your journal.

Read the questions again and then jot down some ideas and insights that come to mind. I find it’s best to do this in the evening and not right before going to bed – because if I do the later I find it can interfere with sleep, especially if I hit on particularly exciting insight!

When you’re jotting down your ideas, allow your mind to be creative. Don’t censor the insights, just let them flow.

→ Step 5. Repeat for a week.

Repeat this process for a week. At the end of the week, you can collect you ideas together and look for common themes. These common themes can offer great insight into what activities, vocations, projects or careers would give you the greatest sense of purpose and meaning.

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8 Questions to reflect on in your Journal

So, here are the questions to reflect on in your journal:

→ Question 1: What are you naturally drawn to?

I love this question because finding your purpose is an intuitive process, and the word ‘naturally’ encourages you to think more intuitively – and less cognitive.

→ Question 2: What activities would you pay to do? And why? What do these activities give you emotionally?

If you’re willing to pay to do something then it illustrates that the activity is important and meaningful to you.

It’s also worth asking why you would pay to do it, and to explore what it would give you emotionally.

Exploring Reasons – especially emotional ones – often leads to a deep sense of connection with the purpose and meaning behind the activities we engage in. In such a cluttered world, it’s easy to become disconnected with this sense of purpose and meaning so it’s important to take the time to explore why we choose the activities we do.

→ Question 3: What are you most passionate about?

This is a fairly obvious one. If you’re passionate about something then it’s a sign that it’s heavily linked to your sense of purpose.

If you take this even further and identify the things that you’re most passionate about then you’ll be able to really narrow your focus and nail down the activities in life that will make it most worthwhile.

→ Question 4: What are you good at?

Sometimes exploring what we’re good at can be an excellent pathway into connecting with our purpose.

Often we’re good at something because it fits neatly with our personality, strengths, and experiences so this can be an indication that it also fits with our sense of purpose.

It doesn’t always mean this but it often does so it’s well worth exploring.

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→ Question 5: What would you do if you weren’t afraid?

We all experience fear – barring a very small percentage of people who have a neurological deficiency that prevents them from feeling it.

And this fear can often prevent us from properly investigating our passions. So this question is great for temporarily bypassing this paralysing emotion so we can explore our inner desires freely without restriction.

Considering the question doesn’t make the fear go away for good, but it does help you set it to the side for a moment so you can connect with some of your passions & inner desires that are buried beneath all the self-doubt and personal angst.

→ Question 6: What events in your life have you found to be the most inspiring? And what type of people inspire you the most?

When we see something – or someone – inspiring it lights a fire inside of us. We feel energised, uplifted, and motivated.

When this happens it’s important to take note because it’s a strong indication that the event aligns with our inner passion and sense of purpose.

What is it about that event, or that person, that causes something the be ignited within you? This is well worth exploring.

→ Question 7: What kinds of movies make you cry? And why?

This may seem a strange question but it’s a really useful one to consider.

When a movie makes us cry, it’s an indication that it’s struck a chord. It’s resonated deeply with something inside of us.

So if you can figure out what that ‘something’ is then it’s highly likely that it’ll be linked to something purposeful and meaningful.

→ Question 8: What annoys, frustrates, enrages, or saddens you?

Again this question might seem strange but it’s an extremely useful one to consider.

Many amazing and worthwhile causes have started in response to an injustice – events that people have witnessed that they vehemently disagreed with.

So by paying attention to the things in life that annoy, frustrate, enrage or sadden you, it can provide some insight into your most important principles and values.

And when we live a live that fits with our most important principles and values we automatically start to live a live that’s rich with purpose and meaning.

Closing Comments

So spend some time reflecting on these 8 questions in your journal. I’m sure that they’ll help you arrive at some interesting and powerful revelations.

Remember, you only get one shot at life so it’s vital that you spend some time identifying the things that really matter to you.

By doing so you can start to live a life that uniquely fits with you, your personality, your experiences, and your inner most passions.

Have fun with the questions!

Steven Burns

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