If you want to be fulfilled, happy, content, and experience inner peace and ultimate fulfillment, it’s critical that you discover your purpose.

Without a purpose as the compass to guide you, your goals and action plans may not ultimately fulfill you. @JackCanfield (Click to Tweet!)

I believe that each of us is born with a life purpose. Identifying, acknowledging, and honoring this purpose is perhaps the most important action successful people take. They take the time to understand what they’re here to do – and then they pursue that with passion and enthusiasm.

For some of us, our purpose is obvious and clear. We’re born with a set of talents and through persistent practice, we develop our talents into skills.

My children are prime examples. It was clear from the moment they got on the planet what they were interested in. One son wanted to draw all the time, and he is now in the art world. Another son was always tapping out rhythms on paint cans and dishes, and he’s now in the music world, along with one of his brothers. My daughter is in the literary world, and my stepson is definitely in the business world. They had natural talents that were clear indicators for what they ended up ultimately being passionate about.

For some people, though, it’s not as easy to identify a passion. Alternatively, you may enjoy what you do, but on deeper exploration, discover that you’re passionate about something altogether different than what you do. There are two processes that I’ve found to be extremely helpful in discovering – and living – your passion.

The Life Purpose Exercise

The Success Principles describes a simple process that can help you identify your passion in as little as ten minutes.

The process involves answering three questions:
1. “What are two qualities I most love expressing in life?” For me, it would be love and joy.
2. “What are two ways I most love expressing those qualities?” For me, it’s inspiring people with stories like the Chicken Soup books and empowering people through my live trainings, home study courses, books, DVDs and teleseminars.
3. “What would the world look like if it were perfect right now, according to me?” For me, it would be that everyone was living their highest vision in the context of love and joy.

Once you have answers to all three questions, you can combine them into a single statement. My life purpose is to inspire and empower people to live their highest vision in the context of love and joy, and for the highest good of all concerned.

To identify ways that you can live your passion, ask yourself this additional question: “On a scale of 1 to 10, how actively am I living this passion, or how actively am I living this purpose?”

If your answer is anything less than a 10, ask yourself, “What would I have to do to make it a 10?” The answers that you come up with are the action steps you need to take so that you can begin living your passions on a day-to-day level.

The Passion Test

Developed by Chris and Janet Attwood, the passion test is a simple, yet elegant, process. You start by filling in the blank fifteen times for the following statement: “When my life is ideal, I am ___.” The word(s) you choose to fill in the blank must be a verb.

When Janet took me through the process, my statements looked like this:

  • My life is ideal when I’m being of service to massive numbers of people.
  • My life is ideal when I’m helping people with their vision.
  • My life is ideal when I’m speaking to large groups.
  • My life is ideal when I’m being part of a spiritual leaders network.
  • My life is ideal when I’m creating a core group of ongoing trainers who feel identified with my organization.

Once you’ve created fifteen statements, you identify the top five choices. To do this, you compare statements #1 and #2 to identify which is most important. Take the winner of that comparison and decide whether it’s more or less important than statement #3. Then take the winner of that comparison, and decide whether it’s more or less important than statement #4, and so on until you’ve identified the passion that is most meaningful to you. Repeat the process with the remaining 14 statements to identify your second choice. Then repeat the process until you’ve pinpointed your top five passions.

Next, create markers for each of your top five passions, so that you can look at your life and easily tell whether you are living that passion. For me, a marker would be “When I’m helping people live their vision I’m giving at least twenty workshops a year for at least 10,000 people total, and at each event, people are coming up afterwards and saying, ‘You’ve really empowered me to live my vision.’”

Once you know what your passions are and how your life will look when you are living it, you can create action plans to turn your dreams into reality.

To learn more about this process, I highly recommend the Attwoods’ book, The Passion Test.

Just Lean Into It

Once you identify your passion, you don’t need to overhaul your life completely and all at once. Instead, follow Success Principles #24 and “Lean into it.” Start living your passion, and stay in tune to the feedback you’re receiving and how you’re feeling. Adjust how you’re living your passion, until you feel that you’re living in bliss.

As the beloved originator of the Chicken Soup for the Soul® series, Jack Canfield fostered the emergence of inspirational anthologies as a genre—and watched it grow to a billion dollar market. As the driving force behind the development and delivery of over 100 million books sold through the Chicken Soup for the Soul® franchise, Jack Canfield is uniquely qualified to talk about success. Jack is America’s #1 Success Coach and wrote the life-changing book The Success Principles: How to Get From Where You Are to Where You Want to Be and speaks around the world on this subject. Follow Jack at www.jackcanfield.com and sign up for his free resources today!

Chicken Soup for the Soul 20th Anniversary Edition NOW AVAILABLE:

Image courtesy of Paco CT.