Life Purpose – How to “Find” It and have a Meaningful Life and Career


At the cornerstone of meaningful work and life, is the search and use of life purpose. This is defined simply as, what you see as your reason for existing in life. It should provide an answer to the big life question ~ why are you here on earth? It is your intrinsic motivator and driver for your life and for most, the reason they get up in the morning, they do what they do and the compass for making life decisions, influencing our behaviour and choices.

Purpose is different for everyone. For some it has to do with spirituality and religious beliefs, others responsibilities to family, friends or activism on human and environmental challenges. For others it is connected to vocation where doing meaningful and satisfying work is important. We therefore have included Life Purpose in this career planning program because we subscribe to the broader definition of careers to be beyond a job, but to include all the other roles in your life and you. Source:

Purpose and Meaningful Work is seen as the convergence of four primary elements: passion (what you love), vocation (what you are good at), mission (what the world or society needs) and profession (what you can get paid for.

To develop or identify your life purpose, reflect on the following four questions, represented in the Purpose diagram below:


  1. PASSION – What do you Love? What aspects of your life bring you into your heart and make you come alive? What would you do even if you did not get paid? Could be many.
  2. VOCATION – What are you Great at? What unique skills do you have that come most naturally to you? What talents have you cultivated and what do you excel at even when you aren’t trying?
  3. MISSION – What Cause do you believe in? What breaks your heart or pulls at your gut? What change would you most love to create in the world? What would you give your life for?
  4. PROFESSION – What do people Value and pay you for? What service, value or offering do you bring, or could you bring, that brings real value to others? Something people need and are happy to pay for or share some value in exchange?  Reflect on your knowledge, 3 core technical skills, 3 core soft skills, your education qualifications, certifications, experience over the year (paid and unpaid) etc. [Source:]

Bringing it all together:

Once you have your responses for 1-4, create one statement that answers the questions:

a. Why are you here on earth?

b. What do you exist to do?

c. Who do you exist to serve?

d. Guided by what values and beliefs?

The statement you create, that is your Life Purpose…with time it will come naturally to you as you “implement” it and “live it”.

RESOURCE MATERIALS – For more information, please refer also to two articles that provide detailed information about the history and background of Purpose using the Japanese life concept of Ikigai (your reason for being), and they also provide stories and videos with examples.


In conclusion – a personal vision, life purpose, values and knowing your personality and skills are life anchors and a core part of Spiritual Wellness and the foundation of the “Know Yourself” starting point in career planning. It is not easy to know and develop and use any of these anchors, but they are critical for you, so invest time and effort in them. If you need support, reach out to me in any of the platforms below. Also join the “life purpose webinar tomorrow – 11 July 2019 via my Facebook Page at 11AM GMT or 1PM Joburg time.

Ennie pictureWritten by: Ennie Chipembere Chikwema, Career Coach and Learning Expert


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Twitter: @EnnieChipembere

Date published:  10 July 2019

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