Identify Your Purpose

Identify your purpose by making a list of the people and things that are meaningful to you. On a sheet of paper make two columns. Put the names and things on the first column and in the second column why they are meaningful. 

Think back on the events that shaped your life and recall your most meaningful experiences. What happened? What made each of those events seem important to you? What impact did that particular experience have on your life? 

When you have completed the list, write down what you believe your purpose to be. Don’t try to be grandiose or too specific. Your purpose will probably be vague, but it will become clearer as you work through this process. 

As you refine your sense of purpose, you will begin an inevitable process of developing or refining your sense of being involved in something larger than yourself — a transcendent quality that will shape your sense of who you are and what you are doing in the world. 

Carl Jung said, “Among all my patients in the second half of life, that is to say over thirty-five, there has not been one whose problem, in the last resort, was not that of finding a religious outlook on life.” Jung’s comment, of course, had nothing to do with a particular creed or membership of a church. By “a religious outlook on life” Jung referred to the person’s understanding of how he/she fit into the larger picture of the world. The largest segment of our population today is composed of the “over thirty-five” baby boomers. They now are questioning their significance: Who am I? What do I want to be when I grow up? Why am I here? Some of them are beginning to get desperate with such questions as, “If I’m so successful, why aren’t I happy?” 

These uncomfortable questions move us toward self-actualization. We should completely embrace the discomfort and work our way through to meaningful answers. Too many people have an affair or buy a sports car in order to distract themselves from these questions. A midlife crisis is a genuine event. If people reach forty years of age without having a clear picture of the reason they were put on earth, they should have a crisis. They should be uncomfortable. The discomfort simply means that they are still alive. Perhaps they are more alive than at any point in their lives because they finally realize the gaping hole that is in the center of their souls.

The destination is not the ultimate aim. The joy comes from the journey. Purpose is bound up in the process. 

Bon voyage! 

Jim White, PhD
Author & Creator of What’s My Purpose?

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5 Responses to “Identify Your Purpose”

  1. Santosha Nobel Says:

    What’s is important about following your life’s purpose? As an author and creator of a program called Reimaging that stresses life purpose to overcome addictions, and is key to leading a happy, fulfilling and peaceful life. For years I’ve done my best to help others discover their life purpose. Your life purpose is a responsibility and it’s easy to fear it and want to run from it. Sometimes doing it requires returning to school, saving money, risking to be all you can be. Sometimes these things can be threatening to folks. However, not living your life purpose and taking the “easy way out” may not be as easy as you think. Most people I meet who are not devoted to living out purpose and passions tread water financially, barely keeping afloat and are deeply emotionally impacted, so that their choices really add up to virtually abandoning themselves. I learned a long time ago that abandonment starts with us and others will treat us as we treat ourselves. Also, If the purpose of life is about learning what we need to learn to be better people, or changing ourselves for the better how else can we do that if we are not committed to being who and living what we are first. Being yourself can translate easily into living out your life purpose and passions. The fact of the matter is, is that no matter the cost of living your purpose the cost of not doing it is often addictions, (because hey we have to make up for the void somehow). Also not living your life passions and purpose can lead to spiraling backwards financially, never meeting a real partner because until you identify yourself then I feel it’s very hard to identify someone who’s right for you let alone be in a position to meet someone you share common interests with. The cost of not living your life purpose can be so great I believe as to cost you your very lives because I believe our higher selves often dictate health conditions so that not living out the reason you came in in the first place can have tremendous health implications as well.

    With all of this in mind the cost of tuition to return to school, or to buy that business or to get that training is not nearly as costly as the medical, psychological, social, and internal implications can be if you resist following your heart. I know this for a fact because I avoided my own life purpose for years before I fully accepted who I was. I can attest to the fact that its easier in the long run to work through your fears and blocks (Reimaging or some other method) to your life purpose and passions and living them out than not doing miles.

    Santosha Nobel
    author of Reimaging at

  2. Rose E. Grier Says:

    Rose E. Grier

    396 S.W. Summerhill Gln

    Lake City, FL 32024

    (386) 758-6067

    It has been brought to my attention that you might be interested in looking at my program. I am actively pursuing publication/funding. I appreciate your time and efforts concerning this project. There is an advocate/teacher/counselor book “Never Ever Your Fault” and a middle school and high school presentation on PowerPoint complete with scripts. There is also a version that is in development I call “The heart of the Matter” for Pre-k-5. A poem that can be put to song by my partner who is a puppeteer “Only I can Touch Me there’” With a set of parrot puppets you will see throughout the book, and a book that teachers can print, cut, fold, and staple together or bind as a project. I hope to make it in to a hard cardboard chunky book as well called “Today I am”.

    This is a comprehensive program for use in Middle and High school classrooms, guidance offices, or auditoriums. It teaches boundary establishment and esteem building with the age specific educational material. It has a script for victim advocates and educators complete with age specific tests and exercises. It has been field tested for two years with grand success. The history of my incest experience is in the book. It is for those who want to read the experience and get a broader view of the healing process from incest to wellness. It is entitled “Journal of Innocence Stolen”(graphic) I fictionalized my age as a request by our daughter and wrote it journal entry style as a murder mystery. It is a true account of what happened to me. The poetry compilation “New Light Same Sun” was written during my two years as a victim advocate. It charts my feelings from anger to forgiveness.

    I was in the classroom full time working with the students and connected directly with the fresh new issues of the day. I was told I might have three disclosures a year. With this program I had over thirty in my two-year term some were boys and teachers! I wrote all of my own material. Being in the fields and trenches, I found much of the material I was given to script from was outdated, condescending and gender biased unfairly tipping the scales against boys. Many got defensive. My teachers and students strongly encouraged me to write a book based on my presentations. I resigned at the end of the 2002 school year. And began writing. When I felt close to completion, I wrote Gavin de Becker (He and his associates found Jodi Foster’s stalker) and asked if he would do the foreword. His representative said he would likely do so upon publication.

    The book houses the “Educational program” mapped out in biography format as advised by the “Director Of Special Projects” from Hiram College in Ohio. Roger Cram is one of my biggest encouragers. It was originally in 5 separate books. Roger felt I should sew them all together into one book. Roger donated my site, now with over 3000 visitors, many have communicated their thanks to me. I co-illustrated this program with our twenty-one year-old daughter who just graduated from Ringling College of Art & Design in Sarasota, FL. Her work from age thirteen on, adds an authentic appeal for teens and most of the art pages are actual posters, I would love to see them 3′x 2′. I have a separate book with just the posters.

    My husband of twenty-five years, and both our son, now sixteen, and daughter (21) wanted to be a part of my healing. I incorporated their input creating a comprehensive representation of my healing process to date. There is student participation laced throughout my program. I hired a student to make the PowerPoint cover, and another to print art on the disk. There is other student art in the book as recognized on the disk and in the back of the book in the Gallery.

    I have submitted the disc to the Department Of Education in Tallahassee, FL. in hopes of stimulating interest and funding for program development.. Tuesday September 17th, I met with a task force at the State’s Attorney office and showed my High School PowerPoint. It was met with very positive input. The books follow guidelines as laid down by the Sunshine State Standards for Health Education. I have also gone to the National level for appeal looking for corporate sponsors. I just got my Victim Services Practitioner Designation from the Attorney General in January 08 and have all the material copyrighted with the Library of congress. All quotes are appropriately approved. I have been working on this for 10 years. I lend myself whole-heartedly to the youth of the world. These are hot societal issues, ripe with purpose. Thanks again.


    Insight into my personal life

    In December I had a very successful major back surgery after a no compensation, slip and fall in Winn Dixie disabled me in 1991, so I could secure a future for our family. My husband Bob, has been sick for 11 years, through 7 surgeries and in and out of hospital for the last 15 for unknown and misdiagnosed reasons. 2 years ago our daughter had cancer and one year ago my husband finally got diagnosed with a rare terminal illness called Churg-Strauss Syndrome. We are a small family of 4 and have really been through hell watching prednisone and Churg slowly kill Bob. His personality has been altered dramatically and suffers from all the side effects long-term prednisone use has to offer, cataracts, diabetes, skin thinness, rashes, bloating and more. It seems some days we have nothing left between us that binds us emotionally but trauma, yet to imagine him not in our lives, paralyzes me. Both of our children are talented and amazing. Corinne is 22 and just graduated from newly named “Ringling College of Art & Design” and our son will be a senior next year at Fort White High School and is being heavily scouted in our Florida schools for his excellence in music on the Saxophone and clarinet. (I can send you samples of their work if you like, just say the word) Things have changed so much and even though Bob is truly the love of my life, the meds and the disease have changed him drastically and it is a helpless feeling to watch our dreams sink because we cannot afford to pay to help Bob medically. It has been a struggle all the way around. I am an at home mama living in a rural community without a college degree. When Bob got sick I just knew I had to create a career for myself that would support our little family before the disease disabled Bob or took his life. All of our doctors have given up and we cannot afford the one Dr. that has actually helped Bob. She is an acupuncture Dr. In Orlando. A 3 hour drive and very expensive. We spent 10 thousand dollars over a six-month period, not covered at all by insurance, but it was working. Bob works and is still our primary breadwinner. I do not want a handout, I WANT TO WORK. I am actively seeking employment and trying to get my program on the market in our schools. Our lives have been altered and our intimacy level has shifted to hand holding and little kisses. I am distraught and so sad. We need help. I am standing by my man no matter what and will find a way to help him even if it is at the expense of losing everything we have for I believe we own nothing but the piece of sky we see when we look up.


    I WAS JUST AWARDED the Sharon Komlos D’Eusanio Award

    Beginning in 2006, this award shall recognize an individual who demonstrates excellence in the area of Victim Services training, reflecting Sharon D’Eusani’s distinguished career in public speaking and professional training. The recipient shall demonstrate 1) outstanding training knowledge and interpersonal skills and 2) the capability to train on a range of provocative presentation topics. The recipient receives a complementary ticket for him/herself and a guest to the annual awards banquet.

    I know Sharon through my Counselor Susan Hansen and met her again when I got my certification!

    I am humbled and honored as Sharon is a Warrior of the highest degree. I read about her when I first moved to south Florida decades ago. I want to share her story with you because to have won this award puts me next to a a truly great woman, one of my personal Heroes for years. I had been on that highway stretch of I-95 alone myself countless times, her story is one of the ones that kept my spirit of advocacy alive. Her determination personally created a measurable passion that lives in me today.

    You can google Sharon and be amazed! Sharon’s story:

    Florida Victims of Crime Act Grants
    by Steve Brown
    Twenty-two years ago, Sharon D’Eusanio’s life changed forever. Sharon had been married for ten years and was the mother of three young children, as well as an insurance adjustor about to begin her own business, when she drove toward home one evening in the spring of 1980. When another car passed her, the driver shot at her three times. One bullet penetrated both eyes and immediately and permanently blinded Sharon. She pulled her car to the side of the road and leaned on the horn. A man stopped and offered to get Sharon to the hospital. He turned out to be the man who shot her. He kidnapped Sharon and returned with her to his apartment. There he raped her and left her for dead.

    Sharon recalls thinking throughout this entire ordeal, “how am I going to get out of this one?” She concentrated on surviving. She heard her assailant get into his car and leave. Sharon mentally noted everything she touched. She left her attacker’s apartment totally nude and when she got outside she started screaming. A man on his way to work noticed Sharon covered in blood and drove her to the hospital. Sharon spent five hours in surgery and several days in the hospital before returning home to live again.

    Sharon’s employer at the insurance company had cleared her desk even before she got out of the hospital. She recalls wondering how she would be a mother to children she could no longer see. While she recovered in the hospital she vowed that the man who had snatched eleven hours of her life would take no more time from her. Police arrested Sharon’s attacker three days after his crime against her and he is still serving his 104-year prison term.

    Sharon couldn’t prevent her husband from leaving her and their kids within a year of the attack. Sharon decided not to resent her ex-husband, but to rebuild her own life. She concentrated on being a mother and making a new career for herself. Sharon began speaking publicly about her horrifying experience within a year of the attack. Within two years she met and began dating her current husband. Together they made a new life, raised Sharon’s children, and began working in tandem.

    The Victim Rights Movement
    Sharon today represents the Florida Attorney General as the Deputy Director for the Division of Victim Services and Criminal Justice Programs Office. This agency represents all victims of crimes, including people with disabilities.

    This will be my speech when I accept in Miami in June.

    For me, Sharon represented “The force” that compelled the urban legend in the early 80’s behind women not driving at night on the highway alone in South Florida. “Don’t drive alone at night, you heard what happened to the woman who got shot, blinded, kidnapped, stabbed, raped and left for dead”.

    When I got pregnant with our first child I threw myself into therapy because I heard that children that were a product of abuse would become abusers, My amazing counselor, Susan Hansen dispelled that myth for me and during the course of my therapy and group sessions, I learned that Sharon was very real, a Warrior of the highest degree. Susan told us about Sharon and was very fond of her. Both women are hero status to me. It is because of them and others like them that keep my spirit of advocacy alive. Their determination personally created a measurable passion that lives in me. Sharon and I met briefly when I worked at a local Abuse Center several years ago and we recently got to hug and talk in January when I got my VSP designation in Tallahassee and again in May where we were photographed. I am honored just to have my name mentioned in the same sentence as Sharon Komlos D’Eusanio and humbled to receive this award. Thank you.


    If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me. I wake up at 7:00am and go to sleep around 11:00pm.

    Sincerely, Rose E. Grier

    “Today is the day”
    Rose E. Grier, VSP

  3. Patricia Leonaitis Says:

    I have a different sort of story to tell you about. My life has held two completely different purposes. The first sixty years of my life, I was learning what it felt like to be very sick, both medically and surgically. I was born in 1931 before there was such a thing as arteriograms or heart-lung machines or open heart surgery. I had an atrial septal defect, a hole between the two upper chambers of my heart. This opening is supposed to close at birth, and when it doesn’t, the baby is in trouble. These days they operate within the first few weeks of life. However, because of all the problems I had, as a child, I developed a strong desire to help others as I had been helped by good doctors and nurses. I went to college, first taking an education course because my parents and the MDs said Nursing was too hard. I didn’t Want to teach, however, and I have a stubborn streak sometimes, so I entered the University of Mo. school of nursing anyway. I made it through and received my BS in Nursing in 1957. I worked as an RN until 1991 when I retired from that due to chronic congestive heart failure. I had had two open heart surgeries, and had a pace maker to keep my heart rate above 70bpm. That was 34 years in a service profession enjoyed out of pure love. After that and until 1997, I enjoyed married life to my second husband and soul-mate. He passed away in that year, and I went to live with my daughter in Ohio. To shorten a long story, I started writing poems. I published my first book of poems in Jan. of this year, and am taking a course in “copywriting” now because I think my second purpose in this live is writing. God has blessed me with 76 years of good life thus far, and I intend to serve Him as long as possible by not giving up until my last breathe of this life. Thanks much. I hope I haven’t bored you. Pat Leonaitis

  4. Annette Says:

    Just love the 2nd to last paragraph - we SHOULD be having
    And we sure should be examining ourselves and the way we
    impact our own lives. We cannot be of great use to others
    if we do not know ourselves, because we then do not know
    how to use ourselves for great good.
    And sometimes just planting a rose garden is a Great Thing.

  5. Nora Lize Aguirre Hall Says:

    Hy I am Mexican, I live in México City, have a Degree in Business Admon., I work for the Government
    but I am looking desperatly for purpose in life.
    I want to translate your book and give seminaries here in México
    please don´t take this as simplicity I Know I can do it.
    I need trainning but please take it under consideration.

    Thank you
    (55)5666-9169 (phone number in México)


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