I had a deeply intense conversation with a new friend yesterday. We sat in the shade in my garden and she related her story of a particularly wretched time in her life and her recovery through taking a course of a-three-weekend programme, at the end of which she was able to understand that we are all put on earth to fulfil a very specific function and that she finally understood her own purpose in life.
With my 48th birthday looming, I find myself very introspective and my friend’s story has made me wonder about my ‘very specific function’ in my world. Have I, perhaps, already fulfilled it without knowing? Does it lie ahead, to become clear in my dotage?
My immediate thought was that I was born to be a wife and mother, but my friend said ‘No, it is something much bigger than that …’
Surfing the internet, I came across this exercise and thought that some of my friends here may find it worthwhile too.
I’m going to do it, just as soon as I’ve got dinner going …

15 Questions to Discover Your Life Purpose
The following are a list of questions that can assist you in discovering your purpose. They are meant as a guide to help you get into a frame of mind that will be conducive to defining your personal mission.
Simple Instructions:
Take out a few sheets of loose paper and a pen.
Find a place where you will not be interrupted. Turn off your cell phone.
Write the answers to each question down. Write the first thing that pops into your head. Write without editing. Use point form. It’s important to write out your answers rather than just thinking about them.
Write quickly. Give yourself less than 60 seconds a question. Preferably less than 30 seconds.
Be honest. Nobody will read it. It’s important to write without editing.
Enjoy the moment and smile as you write.
15 Questions:
1. What makes you smile? (Activities, people, events, hobbies, projects, etc.)
2. What are your favorite things to do in the past? What about now?
3. What activities make you lose track of time?
4. What makes you feel great about yourself?
5. Who inspires you most? (Anyone you know or do not know. Family, friends, authors, artists, leaders, etc.) Which qualities inspire you, in each person?
6. What are you naturally good at? (Skills, abilities, gifts etc.)
7. What do people typically ask you for help in?
8. If you had to teach something, what would you teach?
9. What would you regret not fully doing, being or having in your life?
10. You are now 90 years old, sitting on a rocking chair outside your porch; you can feel the spring breeze gently brushing against your face. You are blissful and happy, and are pleased with the wonderful life you’ve been blessed with. Looking back at your life and all that you’ve achieved and acquired, all the relationships you’ve developed; what matters to you most? List them out.
11. What are your deepest values?
Select 3 to 6 (See list of words to help you | list in pdf) and prioritize the words in order of importance to you.
12. What were some challenges, difficulties and hardships you’ve overcome or are in the process of overcoming? How did you do it?
13. What causes do you strongly believe in? Connect with?
14. If you could get a message across to a large group of people. Who would those people be? What would your message be?
15. Given your talents, passions and values. How could you use these resources to serve, to help, to contribute? ( to people, beings, causes, organization, environment, planet, etc.)

78 Comments Add yours

  1. granny1947 says:

    Oh to be 48 again!!!!!

    1. theonlycin says:

      I am having a hot flush, will get back to you later …

    2. MissChris says:

      I am with you on this one granny!! I wish!
      but on the other hand – I had the most awesome 50th birthday!!

      1. theonlycin says:

        I guess that’s something to look forward to, MissChris 🙂

  2. leigh says:

    Very interesting, will do this, of course 😉

    1. theonlycin says:

      Good luck, my love, be honest 🙂

  3. Tandy says:

    I so agree with this – we all have a purpose. You are a special person – remember that xxx

    1. theonlycin says:

      Thank you, your support makes me able to climb (or drive up) mountains 🙂

  4. inzwakazi says:

    Copied and printed! xxxx

  5. Brenda says:

    An awesome woman but I don’t entirely agree with ‘My immediate thought was that I was born to be a wife and mother, but my friend said ‘No, it is something much bigger than that …’. Raising great kids who contribute to the world in a positive way is, to me, one of the biggest functions in life one can have.
    I don’t think we have to have our names in lights, so to speak, to achieve our meaning in life – being kind, empathetic, selfless and contributing to the wellbeing of others is extremely important and should not be discounted as perhaps being what our real meaning in lif may be.

    1. Linda says:

      I completely agree with you on this one. And I had a twin sister named Brenda.

      1. theonlycin says:

        ‘Had’? Linda? How sad for you 😦

    2. theonlycin says:

      Good comment, Brenda!

  6. Amia Lee says:

    49 and still going strong ..

    1. theonlycin says:

      Keep at it, Girl 🙂

  7. ceciliag says:

    What a wonderful idea, I shall get busy on those questions as it makes a lot of sense to me to look at what you like and how you are. I wonder if there is only one big purpose you are born to achieve. I do lend towards the philosophy that life is a journey not a destination. And i also believe in the power of people. Every one can do their best. And every little best counts. Some people even choose to be victims and lay around crying about how people did this and that and life is cruel. We are in control. We have choices. We all have the strength to achieve great things, and often those great things are small. You are way ahead of the pack just by doing something about these thoughts! loved this post Cindy, c

    1. theonlycin says:

      Thanks Ceilia and good luck with the questions.

  8. suzicate says:

    Cindy, I think we are here for many purposes rather than just one big one. Some of these purposes we know on a much deeper level and some we might never know, like how we in some way helped others fulfill their purposes. I think if we always do what feels right deep down and we always try to enrich the lives of others while taking care of our own needs as well, we are headed in the right direction. I like this list of questions…kind along the same line most life coaches use. I think you touch in ways far more than you realize through your blog and you food, your wittiness and goodness shine…

    1. theonlycin says:

      Thank you, SuziCate, that is very kind 🙂

  9. This sounds like a good exercise. I think I’ll do it a little later today. In the meantime, I have been invited for a job interview later this morning – how cool is that? – at a radio station! So think of me while I’m off to see if I can get any closer to my purpose 😉

    I’ve often wondered about purpose: whether it is a moment that you arrive at and die? I think perhaps many wonder about it. A life purpose – I imagine – will be over a period of time, you won’t know it all at the beginning and you’ll never stop learning all along the way of it, and it might start small and grow to (heaven knows how) big, continuously evolving as you too grow and evolve… This purpose ‘thing’ is a rather complex thing at times… I wish it was a bit more simplistic – especially now that I am searching too. When EVERYTHING is an option it makes it feel like a bit much sometimes. You can’t take all your life just to choose, you know? Whereas I’m all for choice, just sometimes I wish it could be narrowed down a bit – simplified. Maybe this little exercise will be good food for thought (again)…

    1. theonlycin says:

      Oh best of luck, Lee, that job sounds so right for you!

  10. Linda says:

    Cindy this is great. I have struggled with this issue for years. In the last two years I think I have come to realize my purpose. Although your friend may not agree with me. I think my purpose is to support my children and grandchildren in any way that I can. And to be an angel to animals who need it, although I seem to butt heads with certain people on this one. I didn’t marry an animal lover 😦

    I think my daughter most certainly needs to answer those questions as well. Thank you so much for sharing this with us.

    1. theonlycin says:

      You’re welcome, Linda 🙂

  11. I love The Jerk, that Steve Martin film. His special purpose was very funny indeed.
    Flippancy aside, what a lovely exercise. So many nice things to daydream about.

    1. theonlycin says:

      Will look out for the movie, Kate 🙂

  12. slpmartin says:

    An interesting discussion…it did bring to mind something I read years ago from, I believe an Asian philosopher, that people spend so much time trying to figure out the purpose of life that they don’t have time to live it…not sure I’m a believer in ‘fate’ and/or a ‘master purpose’ to one’s existence.

    1. theonlycin says:

      It’s a subject for a great debate, Charlie. Sleep tight 🙂

  13. Ruth says:

    I used to do those sorts of exercises… Now I think I’m living my purpose, whatever it is. 😉

    1. theonlycin says:

      I’m taking my time with it, have only completed 3 answers 🙂

  14. Awesome post! Thanks Cindy – will get cracking with this in the morning.
    Have a happy evening.
    🙂 Mandy

    1. theonlycin says:

      Enjoy your Sunday, Mandy 🙂

  15. nrhatch says:

    I’m persuaded that we are here to be happy.
    If we are happy and feeling “fulfilled”. . . we are living our purpose.

    If we feel something is missing . . . it probably is.

    BTW: I believe that Mozart’s mother’s purpose was to give birth to Mozart. 😉

    1. theonlycin says:

      mmm … then I wonder what Hitler’s mom’s purpose was?

  16. Mal says:

    I think we’re here to fulfil many purposes and not just one big one. As long as we remain compassionate and are good to our fellow beings, we’re fulfilling the various purposes. I’m happy to be there for my children, family and friends. 🙂

    By the way, Cindy, this really was a plateful of FOOD for thought! 😉

    1. theonlycin says:

      Thanks Mal, enjoy your happiness 🙂

  17. colonialist says:

    The popular view is that we are here because we’re here, and our porpoise in life is goodbye and thanks for the fish.

    1. theonlycin says:

      Don’t forget the chips 😉

  18. Sparkle says:

    Lovely list of questions Cin, makes one to really rethink how we live our lives. At 31 I have no regrets though somethings happened the way I did not expect. I have made peace with that. I am proud of myself on how far I have come and I just love being K’s Mom.

    1. theonlycin says:

      She’s a lucky girl to hae you, Sparky 🙂

  19. dearrosie says:

    Interesting post Cindy. I’ve been wondering what my life’s purpose it. I’m glad you included the 15 questions.

    1. theonlycin says:

      Hope they give you some value, Rosie 🙂

  20. bluebee says:

    At number 6, I’m running for wine rack

  21. adeeyoyo says:

    I have asked this question for years, but know that I am now living my purpose (athough I still don’t know exactly what it is). I am content to just take things day by day by day… Nice one, Cindy!

    1. theonlycin says:

      Thanks adee, are you out of the care facility yet?

  22. souldipper says:

    Let’s meet at a silent retreat in Hawaii, Cin. After 3 days, we’ll have a great discussion. Right after the massage.

    1. theonlycin says:

      Oh let’s, Amy, my massage must be done by the shirtless, handsome dude 😉

  23. Angeliqueca says:

    This is so damn inspiring Cins!! It is exactly what I needed right now!! Thank you for the share!!!

    1. theonlycin says:

      My pleasure, Ange 🙂

  24. klrs09 says:

    Will give some time to answering those questions this weekend. While I figure out what I’m going to write about.

    Have always considered that being a mother was te most important thing I will ever do with my life. But was it my purpose? Hmm. . .

    1. theonlycin says:

      Enjoy figuring it out, Kathy 🙂

  25. good ol’ self-reflection. thx

  26. johnlmalone says:

    this is FABULOUS stuff, Cindy; I think I know my specific function: it is to do with poetry: not just the writing of it but getting it out to the widest possible number ; i’m still grappling with the best way of doing that. And the poetry people seem to respond to the most is humorous poetry. Am i right, Cindy, do you think?

    1. theonlycin says:

      Humour does seem to draw the most reaction, but I think all themes have their place, John?

  27. johnlmalone says:

    #9 is a really good question. I’m giving it strong thought

    1. theonlycin says:

      I’m a little stuck, some of the question make me a bit uncomfortable.

  28. SidevieW says:

    Raising the children has been your purpose. Now something else awaits, maybe a whole lot more personal? Who knows, but life does not end when you have let them out into the world.

    Time for thinking and re-assessing life can be so good for one. Good luck with it, though it does bring personal chaos and pain at the time

      1. SidevieW says:

        What is worth having seldom comes easily. Hang in there babe

  29. Tilly Bud says:

    I might try this. Thanks.

    1. theonlycin says:

      Enjoy it if you do, Tilly 🙂

  30. johnlmalone says:

    the question you’re stuck on Cindy may be the most important question for you and thus the one — like my #9 —- you will have to confront

    1. theonlycin says:

      That or #10, which is REALLY something on which to pause for thought ….

  31. johnlmalone says:

    just had another look at #10. That certainly makes you reassess; but your blog has activated me to bring my poetry, that is my humourous performance poetry, to a wider audience, not just poets and other writers who are the usual audience . I’m now working on a plan to deliver. I’ll keep you posted.

    1. theonlycin says:

      Interaction is key, I have found, John. Good luck.

  32. The Hook says:

    This WAS deep! Good job.

  33. Thank you so much, Cindy. This list of questions is definitely something I will think about and answer truthfully.. It comes at the right moment too. Merci encore.

  34. libraryscene says:

    Yay, you…I cheated and just did this very quickly sans paper…the theme (no surprise) word was writing. LIfe is a journey, ergo, you’ve certainly not hit your stride yet, you are too young. Me thinks you best be prodding that muse a bit before you dream, I know you’ve got more story to write as well, cheers ~

    1. theonlycin says:

      You’re very right, libraryscene, have been thinking that myself …

  35. Jamie Dedes says:

    This is a wonderful post. Have read and reread it, Cindy, since first you put it up.

    1. theonlycin says:

      It seems to have gone down well with many people, Jamie, which I didn’t expect 🙂

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