Clues to Purpose

Purpose. It’s what lights up your face, it’s what makes it a joy to get up in the morning. It’s what you are excited about sharing with others and what you enthusiastically enjoy talking about. Purpose is about knowing what fills you with energy, what your talents are and how you will use them to add value to life. Purpose is one of the Four Ps of Positive Shift that organizes the 12 practices that have been shown by positive psychology to increase happiness.

Clues to Purpose

There’s no magic formula

Some people just know. It’s like they were born knowing their talents and purpose. For others, it’s more difficult to identify, clarify and understand our purpose. We must fumble and stumble and feel our way as we attempt to puzzle it out. There’s no magic formula, but there are some things we can do that will unearth clues.



Who are you? Understand your personality and interests, and who you want to help. Who do you want to help? What causes are you drawn to? What problems do you want to solve? What change do you want to make to improve the world?


What are your values? Map your values to know your core values, the personal qualities that are your character strengths, and your personal values. Learn how to create a value statement, the power tool for purpose.


Discover the skills, strengths, and uncover hidden talents that you will use to pursue your purpose. Explore your talents, strengths, and more with the Discover U series.


There are three clues to purpose that are especially powerful.

1. Notice the flow experience

What activities are you doing when you lose all track of time? The flow experience is the perfect balance of challenge and skill.

2. Look at what are you always chasing

“The most successful people are obsessed with solving an important problem that matters to them. They remind me of a dog chasing a tennis ball.” -Drew Houston, founder of Dropbox, said this in an MIT commencement speech. Read more at What are You Passionate About?

3. What you want to build

Meaning is not something you stumble across, like the answer to a riddle or the prize in a treasure hunt. Meaning is something you build into your life.” –John Gardner. Read more at Design Your Life Like an Architect.

A few more things that can help…

Tools for Purpose

How to Start a Fire is a free ebook with the best tools I’ve found for discovering passion and purpose. Find more tools to explore interests and skills, strengths and talents, personal qualities and values at and the Daily PlanIt Sticky Wiki.

Books on Purpose

  • “Designing Your Life” by Bill Burnett & Dave Evans [Video (25:20)]
  •  “Upgrade” by Rana Florida
  • “Living Forward” by Michael Hyatt
  • “Is Your Genius at Work?” by Dick Richards
  • “Life Purpose Boot Camp” by Eric Maisel
  • “Path Made Clear” by Oprah Winfrey
  • Books on Purpose at Mappalicious

The process of discovering your personal brand provides clarity about what you are passionate about. See Resources at the Brand and Purpose Toolkit, and read more at Personal Branding for a Purpose.

Keep looking for those clues…

I seek to create order from the chaos of complex information. Join me at the Daily PlanIt to gain insights, inspiration, and information to increase skills for a better life. I unlock the power of teaching reading with phonics in the pursuit of literacy at In my spare time I explore books and movies, often choosing titles available on both screen and page.

Posted in personal development
8 comments on “Clues to Purpose
  1. Nice post. I like Richards’ book as well.

  2. Melissa says:

    Stumble and fumble are sure the accurate words for many people in their thirties who have not quite reached their goals and dreams. I just recently completed John Assarf book Having It All and have decided it is not too late to start achieving my goals and dreams. I really thought I was too late, but I soon realized it is never too late. John made me realize that and gave me the motivation and knowledge to begin achieving my dreams and knowledge to help my children know how to make the dreams and goals come true also. I feel like I am fifteen again and can do anything. For more inspiration, go to

  3. […] Have a sense of purpose. If your purpose is not clear to you, here is a way to find clues: List different life areas (such […]

  4. […] is your purpose….how will you add value to […]

  5. […] Make a Unique Selling Proposition to get very clear on purpose […]

  6. […] while for others it’s more of a struggle to figure it out. I’ve seen some things that help to get a clue, but this week I learned a new way to think about […]

  7. […] Purpose, Discovering Talents, How to Start a Fire free eBook, “On Purpose” course at Udemy, Change […]

  8. […] More resources at Clues to Purpose. […]

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