What Is Your Purpose?

Questioning Your Purpose

What Is Your Purpose?

By Paul Stanford March 25, 2024 03.25.2024 Share:
Core Values Counseling Purpose Talents Therapy

People come into therapy for many reasons. In my 2 decades of experience seeing clients in the therapy room, I’ve heard my fair share of goals for coming in to see a professional. From how to heal from an affair to how to grieve the loss of a child to how to be a better person to how to get past trauma, it’s not a boring job. The longer I talk with people, the more I’m convinced that we’re all just trying to figure out why we’re here and whether we’re fulfilling our potential in life. This often leads me to ask my clients, “What is your purpose?”

I don’t know if you’ve ever been asked that before, but most people don’t have an answer ready to go. Ironically, the vision plan that should be guiding our daily steps is often one big, nebulous question mark. I once heard it said that before you try and figure out how to get somewhere, you should make sure you know your desired endpoint. If you don’t know your purpose or are not sure, I encourage you to walk through these steps:

1) What are your core values?

Whether it’s taking an online quiz, reading a book, or simply connecting with a close friend or family member, I encourage you to determine what values you hold as most important in your heart and mind. There is no wrong answer, but simply a matter of personal wiring and preference. Discovering your core values can help you orient yourself toward what you prioritize in life. What is your purpose? Start with your core values. Side note: You can discover Stanford Couples Counseling’s core values here.

2) What are your talents?

I hate to break it to you, but in order to be successful in life, you do need to have some talent. But good news, we all have talent! I mean sure, some can juggle, ride a unicycle, solve a Rubik’s cube (without YouTube), or simply eat without spilling on themselves, but not this guy. I won’t even begin to link all the different tests that will help you determine what your talents and strengths are, but here’s a list to get you started. Although I certainly believe that many of us can become proficient in areas in which we don’t have natural abilities, I believe it’s best to start with what you already know you have a knack for.

3) What are your passions?

When you read the news, what gets you riled up? When you see an injustice of this kind, what’s the issue and who is it affecting? What non-profit organizations do you support, whether financially or philosophically? When you get animated in discussions, what’s typically the topic? Or if you want to let the internet tell you simply, there’s a quiz for that too. After all, what good are knowing your values and your talents if you don’t know what to apply them to?

4) What gives you meaning?

We’ve all been a part of something that’s had a lasting impact on our lives. Think about a trip, an activity, a class, or an interaction that has stuck with you for many years. What was it about that experience that has stood the test of time? How did it move you or change you? It may be something simple that you have experienced many times since, or it may be something profound that you only get once in a lifetime. I encourage you to list out any and all examples you can think of, and then look for commonalities across the items listed. This will help you form a sense of what brings meaning to your life.

“What is your purpose?” is a daunting question that is not easily answered without some thought. However, I encourage you to dedicate some energy to answering the four questions above to help nudge you toward a better understanding of why God has you on this planet. In my next blog, we’ll explore how to put this purpose into action.


To discuss more with Dr. Paul Stanford, schedule your appointment today!


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