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Life Purpose

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Life purpose is a high-level calling about how we choose to live our lives. It is a reference point or beacon for our goals and daily activities. Our purpose is the essence of our being and it serves to guide us in making important choices on how we spend our time and live our lives.

Skill Definition:

  • I can discern and articulate my life purpose and values.

Key Learning Points:

  • Your life purpose likely has some of the following characteristics: a “calling” or link to God, spending a lot of time with flow and energy, serving others, building something (legacy) and extending over long time period.
  • You know you are living your life purpose because you don’t grow tired pursuing it. It is a passion.
  • Your strengths and talents are leveraged for something beyond you.

Faith Worldview:

  • “The purpose of your life is far greater than your own personal fulfillment, your peace of mind, or even your happiness. It’s far greater than your family, your career, or even your wildest dreams and ambitions. If you want to know why you were placed on this planet, you must begin with God. You were born by his purpose and for his purpose.” Source: The Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here For? by Warren, Rick (2012-10-23).

Learning Path:

  • Develop an understanding of your God-given talents (your strengths).
  • Develop an understanding of your passions (a topic or focus area that is hard to stop working on).  Click here for some questions to reflect on.
  • Develop an understanding of your personal needs (emotional, intellectual, spiritual, physical, financial, etc).
  • Review some of the example purpose statements below.
  • Use the Purpose Worksheet below (preferably with a mentor).
  • Write a draft purpose statement for yourself. Think about it as you live it. Modify it if necessary.

Deeper Topics:

  • Purpose is being. Vision is seeing. Missions are doing. Values are choosing. Why am I here?—the purpose question; Where am I going with my life?—the vision question; What do I need to be doing?—the mission question; and finally, the values question—What is truly important?” Source: The On-Purpose Person (book) by Kevin McCarthy.
  • Talents. Our talents are not just our jobs but the (transferrable) skills that enable us to do our jobs well, e.g. coaching, artistry, problem solving or project management.
  • Values. See list on Values.com.
  • Mazlow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Abraham Maslow developed a theory of personality that set up a hierarchy of five levels of basic needs: physiological (e.g. food, water), safety, love/affection/belongingness, esteem and self-actualization. Our receptiveness to a broader life purpose will evolve as we move from survival to self-actualization.
  • Example Purpose Statements: Source: http://andrewschultz.com/examples/ (since deleted).
    • I serve to energize, connect, and inspire purpose in others.
    • My mission is to enliven, encourage, and reinspire the love of music for children in public schools.
    • My purpose in life is to be a mom: to empower independence, self-reliance and confidence in others through being a positive, supportive role model.
    • My life purpose is to live and mentor an authentic, adventurous, spiritual life, while being a catalyst for positive change.

Exercises for Older Teens and Adults:

Exercises for Younger Teens (13-16):

  • None yet listed.

Questions to Encourage Critical Thinking:

  • How much of you daily activity is spent in a meaningful way, consistent with your purpose?
  • How could you use your talents, passions and values to serve or contribute to people, causes or organizations?
  • If you were to write your own obituary, what would it say? What do you want to be known for? What is your legacy?

Tools and Templates:

  • Live with Purpose Roadmap.  This outlines the needed skills to Know Yourself Deeply, Develop a Life Plan and Live to Your Potential.

Word Definition:

  • Purpose. Reason for existence: the reason for which something exists or for which it has been done or made.
  • Values. Important and lasting beliefs or ideals shared by the members of a culture about what is good or bad and desirable or undesirable.

Web Articles/Short Stories/Essays:



  • How to Know Your Life Purpose in 5 Minutes by Adam Leipzig on YouTube. (Who you are, what you do, who you do it for, what those people want and need).
  • Kevin McCarthy produces a regular video blog, many videos can be found here.
  • Click on one of the “values” words at this link to see many video’s on Values.com.


Faith-Based Quotes:

  • “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” – Marianne Williamson

Other Quotes:

  • “The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • “The way you get meaning into your life is to devote yourself to loving others, devote yourself to your community around you, and devote yourself to creating something that gives you purpose and meaning”. – Mitch Albom
  • “The two most important days In your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why” – Mark Twain

One-Point Lesson:

 Related Skills:

 Summary 2-page Lesson Examples: