How to Discover Your True Life Purpose

If you want to be fulfilled, happy, content, and experience inner peace and ultimate fulfillment, it’s critical that you discover your purpose. Without a purpose as the compass to guide you, your goals and action plans may not ultimately fulfill you.


How to Identify and Honor Your Life Purpose

After working with more than a million people all over the world, I have come to believe that each of us is born with a unique life purpose.

I believe that each of us is born with a life purpose. Identifying, acknowledging, and honoring this purpose is perhaps the most important action successful people take. They take the time to understand what they’re here to do – and then they pursue that with passion and enthusiasm.

For some of us, our purpose is obvious and clear. We’re born with a set of talents and through persistent practice, we develop our talents into skills.

Use Natural Talents as Indicatorswebcast_registration_blog_sidebar_250x350

My children are prime examples. It was clear from the moment they got on the planet what they were interested in.

One son wanted to draw all the time, and he is now in the art world. Another son was always tapping out rhythms on paint cans and dishes, and he’s now in the music world, along with one of his brothers. My daughter is in the literary world, and my stepson is definitely in the business world. They had natural talents that were clear indicators for what they ended up ultimately being passionate about.

My stepdaughter is also in the arts – she began singing and drawing when she was two. And my stepson is in the business world. He was making business plans and selling things to his friends by the time he was in middle school.

They all had natural talents that were clear indicators for what they ended up ultimately being passionate about.

Be Clear Why You Are Here

For some people, though, it’s not as easy to identify a passion. Alternatively, you may enjoy what you do, but on deeper exploration, discover that you’re passionate about something altogether different than what you do. There are two processes that I’ve found to be extremely helpful in discovering – and living – your passion.

For some people, though, it’s not always as easy to identify their life purpose or passion. Alternatively, you may enjoy what you do for a living, but upon deeper exploration, discover that you’re passionate about something altogether different than what you are doing to earn a living.

So I’d like to share with you a simple process that can help you identify your life purpose in as little as 5 to 10 minutes. The process involves answering three questions, and it’s important to write down your answers.

The Life Purpose Exercise

The Success Principles describes a simple process that can help you identify your passion in as little as 10 minutes.

The process involves answering three questions:
1.    “What are two qualities I most love expressing in life?” 
2.    “What are two ways I most love expressing those qualities?”  
3.    “What would the world look like if it were perfect right now, according to me?”

Question 1: What are Two Qualities That I Most Enjoy Expressing in Life?

First ask yourself, “What are two qualities that I most enjoy expressing in life?”

For my wife, it is authenticity and spontaneity. For one of my clients, I just worked with it is discipline and order. For another, it is fun and play. 

For me, it would be love and joy.

Question 2: What are Two Ways I Most Love Expressing Those Qualities When Interacting With Others?

Second, ask yourself, “What are two ways I most love expressing those qualities when interacting with others?”

For me, it’s inspiring people with stories like those in the Chicken Soup books and empowering people by teaching them practical tools for creating greater success in their life through my live training, Online training, coaching, books, DVDs, teleseminars and video blogs like the one I’m doing right now with you.

Question 3: What Would the World Look Like if it Were Perfect Right Now?

And finally ask yourself, “What would the world look like if it were perfect right now, according to me?”

For me, it would be that everyone was living their highest vision of their most fulfilling life.

You see, I believe that every single person is like a cell in a human body, and it takes every cell doing what it is meant to do for the whole body to work correctly.

Similarly, I believe that it takes every human being doing what they are meant to do for all of humanity to work.

Combine Your Answers into a Single Statement

Once you have answers to all three questions, you can combine them into a single statement.  

When I put all 3 of mine together, my life purpose ends up being to inspire and empower people to live their highest vision in the context of love and joy, in harmony with the highest good of all concerned.

Take Action Steps to Live Your Purpose

Next, ask yourself “On a scale of 1 to 10, how actively am I living my purpose?”

If your answer is anything less than a 10, ask yourself, “What would have to happen to make it a 10?” “What would I have to do or change to make it a 10?”

The answers that you come up with are the action steps you need to take so that you can begin living your purpose on a day-to-day level.

Conduct a Joy Reviewwebcast_registration_blog_sidebar_250x350

Another technique you can use to help you identify your purpose is to conduct a joy review. Simply set aside about 30 minutes and make a list of all the times you’ve felt the greatest joy in your life.

(When I did this it was when I was a patrol leader in the Boy-scouts, when I was an officer in my military high school, when I was a summer camp counselor at a camp in Maine, my years as a leader in my college fraternity, my years as a high school teacher, when I was conducting workshops and training, when I was telling jokes, telling stories and when I was travelling.)

Then look for a pattern among all these times.

In my case, it was when I was teaching, and when I was inspiring and empowering people to go for their dreams and to have more love, joy, and abundance in their lives.

Since we know that joy is part of your internal guidance system telling you when you are on course, you can determine a lot about your life purpose from completing this joy review.

The Passion Test

Developed by Chris and Janet Attwood, the passion test is a simple, yet elegant, process. You start by filling in the blank 15 times for the following statement: “When my life is ideal, I am ___.” The word(s) you choose to fill in the blank must be a verb.

When Janet took me through the process, my statements looked like this:

  • My life is ideal when I’m being of service to massive numbers of people.
  • My life is ideal when I’m helping people with their vision.
  • My life is ideal when I’m speaking to large groups.
  • My life is ideal when I’m being part of a spiritual leaders network.
  • My life is ideal when I’m creating a core group of ongoing trainers who feel identified with my organization.

Once you’ve created 15 statements, you identify the top 5 choices. To do this, you compare statements #1 and #2 to identify which is most important. Take the winner of that comparison and decide whether it’s more or less important than statement #3.

Then take the winner of that comparison, and decide whether it’s more or less important than statement #4, and so on until you’ve identified the passion that is most meaningful to you.

Repeat the process with the remaining 14 statements to identify your second choice. Then repeat the process until you’ve pinpointed your top 5 passions.

Next, create markers for each of your top five passions, so that you can look at your life and easily tell whether you are living that passion.

For me, a marker would be “When I’m helping people live their vision I’m giving at least 20 workshops a year for at least 10,000 people total, and at each event, people are coming up afterward and saying, ‘You’ve really empowered me to live my vision."

One you know what your passions are and how your life will look when you are living it, you can create action plans to turn your dreams into reality.

To learn more about this process, I highly recommend the Attwoods’ book, The Passion Test.

Lean into Your Life Purpose

Now I want to leave you with a bit of homework. Once you have gained more clarity about your purpose, you don’t need to completely overhaul your life completely all at once. Instead, just lean into it, bit by bit.

Start living your purpose a little more fully every day, and pay attention to the feedback you’re receiving from others and in terms of the results you are producing, and also to how you are feeling.

Leave any questions or comments below and I’ll be sure to follow up with you!



You can, as long as you include this complete statement with it: Jack Canfield, America's #1 Success Coach, is founder of the billion-dollar book brand Chicken Soup for the Soul® and a leading authority on Peak Performance and Life Success. If you're ready to jump-start your life, make more money, and have more fun and joy in all that you do, get FREE success tips from Jack Canfield now at:


  • Wonderful post Jack.. I'm going to implement the Passion Test and create my core statement today. Thanks a ton..


    Very informative. You are the best.

  • Dotty Brown

    In my retirement , I feel like the world is rotating without me . I know I have a book within me based on my many years of Christianity and 14 years in a twelve step group !


  • Edith Hall

    Thanks for your help and support and I Am reading Success Principle and I Am grateful for your vision for others.
    The book is Inspiring Entrepreneur within myself to move Forward.
    Thanks for your passion test.

  • Jan Radcliff

    Great thoughts - a big help.

  • Graeme Palmer

    Thanks Jack
    your inspiration is welcomed after 50 years in the dark - you are the awakening "venus" shining through to enlighten me, my last meditation yesterday on tape 2of "effortless Success" gave me a knew vision of another book "tame your Cobra" and the last time I did this meditation I saw my application to "The Entrepreneurs Club" certificate stamped "APPROVED"
    I appreciate your commitment to success

  • Edgar Agustin

    Hi Jack! I'm so much blessed with knowledge and wisdom from your books and articles. I published an ebook entitled Discover Your Life Purpose last March. I'm almost done making massive editing by including more true stories of people who succeeded in finding their life purpose.

    My book is centered on the Japanese concept of IKIGAI, roughly translated as "my reason for living," and that Okinawans say, "my reason to get up in the morning."

    Then I saw your wonderful article, this article. May I get your permission to use your life purpose statement and the passion test in my book?

    Thank you so much.

    With love and gratitude.


  • Oh, Jack, you are my dearest friend as you are so patient with me. You have no idea how much I needed this right now. I've done it some time ago, but, boy, do I need it right now?
    I'm trying to get my mojo back, to restore my focus on my true purpose in life, to facilitate people's growth through learning and ensuring we are all having fun along the way. I've been operating my own staff training, team development and business mentoring consultancy for over 30 years.
    But on January 19th this year, my 33-year old daughter lost her brief battle with bowel cancer that had metastasised to her liver.
    As you can imagine, that was totally devastating, so it's timely that I opened your email and here you are ready to give me a bit of a hand-up for the next 10 days.
    Thank you Jack.

  • Cindy McKay

    Finally a purpose workthru process that clearly identified it for me. Thank you Jack!

  • Pri Vis

    Elegant and substantive......

  • Balwinder Singh

    Really thought provoking. Real challenge is not to discover the purpose but to pursue it or actually living in it.

  • Nicolas Rodriguez

    Hi Mr. Canfield, thank you for this excellent article. For me it was difficult to identify my life purpose, it was deeply buried beneath al the "should do" that came from social programming, parent wants, etc. I absolutely loved to draw when I was a kid. Then when I was 14 my parents guided me to be a Doctor so after leaving school I went to medical school. After a though crisis I ended up leaving medical school and after a lot of soul searching between spirituality, self development and others I ended up doing "a course in miracles". It´s a course about forgiveness. One of the promises of the course is that forgiveness will give you certainty of purpose. So last year I started painting and realized I was very good at it. So now im practicing to become skilled enough to one day be called a master of masters of painting. I discovered that my life purpose is to incarnate beauty through painting until the end of my days. Thank you again,