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How to Discover Your Purpose and Do Work You Love

Finding your purpose takes some effort, but it gives you in return such important awareness and insight into yourself. When you think about the rest of your life, investing a bit of time to discover yourself is well worth that effort.
07/15/2015 02:37pm ET | Updated July 15, 2016
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Imagine feeling unmotivated and unfulfilled, being unsure of your talents and passions, and lacking a sense of direction or purpose in your life and in your work. For many, this is reality, but it doesn't have to be. With a bit of self-inquiry, introspection, and determination, you can discover your purpose and determine what work you were born to do; and when you do, it feels like finding the missing piece of a puzzle.

Although your purpose has been with you most of your life, it is not always apparent and can take some digging to find. This is because we seldom take our natural talents and passions into account when we choose our work. Instead, we take a job based on how well it pays or what our families' expectations are; or we choose our college major at age 18 with little regard to whether the career we are studying is a good fit.

Below are some questions to get you thinking about your passions and what makes you tick. It is best to answer these questions quickly, without thinking too much.

• What do you enjoy doing?
• What were your favorite subjects in school?
• If you could write a book, what would it be about?
• If you could take any courses you wanted to take, which ones would you take?
• What did you dream about doing when you were a child?
• If money was not a consideration, how would you spend your time?
• What do you enjoy talking about with others?
• What are your hobbies?
• What makes you lose track of time?
• What do you believe in strongly?
• What adversities have you faced that have helped you to become the person you are today?
• What activities come naturally to you?
• If you were to fight for a cause, what would that cause be?
• What do you have regrets about not doing or pursuing in your life?

After you have answered the above questions, ask several of your friends and family members who know you well to give you feedback on what they think your gifts are. You may be surprised to find out how others see you, and you may get ideas you have never considered before.

An important factor to consider in determining your life's work is your values. These are the beliefs and ideas that are important to you and guide your actions. They are an integral part of who you are. Knowing your values will help you to choose what is important to you in your work. For example, someone who values helping others may choose a different path than someone who places high value on artistic expression, job security, or prestige.

Another factor to consider is your personality type. The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator can help determine the direction your energy flows (internally or externally), how you learn information, how you make decisions, and how you deal with the world. These are all important factors to consider when choosing work that you will love and that will have meaning for you.

Finding your purpose takes some effort, but it gives you in return such important awareness and insight into yourself. When you think about the rest of your life, investing a bit of time to discover yourself is well worth that effort.