How to find your purpose

Many people spend life reacting to the world instead of actively shaping their lives based on the purpose, needs and values that drive them. Often, their purpose might just be a short-term goal. For example, achieving goals – like buying a house or opening a business – can yield a sense of achievement and might even be part of the life you desire. But purpose is about something greater – purpose takes goals to an even higher level and adds meaning to life.

Why seeking your life’s purpose is essential

Tony Robbins knows that growth is a fundamental – and sometimes addictive – human need, saying that everything is either growing or dying. Naturally, we feel most fulfilled when we grow in a way that improves ourselves and the lives of others.

At his immersive Date With Destiny event, Tony emphasizes that “there’s one word that will give you happiness: progress.” Progress equals happiness. Achieving goals does not equal happiness but progress does. Progress leads to a true sense of fulfillment. And fulfillment isn’t a luxury or leisure activity – it’s a necessity for an extraordinary quality of life.

“It is in your moments of decision that your destiny is shaped.”— Tony Robbins.
Overcoming obstacles to finding your purpose

On the surface, it might look like many things prevent people from finding their true purpose. They’re comfortable where they are. They have it all – money, family, house. Yet they still fall victim to the “Law of Familiarity” that says if you’re around anything enough, it’s human nature to eventually take it for granted and feel like there’s no need to keep growing. We may not necessarily feel fulfilled. What we really feel is comfort.

Eventually, that comfort can lead to a lack of fulfillment. To achieve true fulfillment, we must keep growing. When we fall into the trap of comfortability, we stop ourselves from growing. Instead of looking for more, we sit where we are.

The truth is that only two things prevent you from answering the question, “What is my purpose?”

  • Fear. Fear is one of the biggest obstacles to finding your purpose. The fear of failure, rejection and the fear of not being enough. Fear holds us back and keeps us from fulfilling our deepest human needs. To find your purpose, you have to move past fear. Part of overcoming fear is reframing our obstacles from something that holds us back to something that can inspire us to seek growth, success and fulfillment.
  • Limiting beliefs. Limiting beliefs, or the stories we tell ourselves about who we are, are simply another form of fear. Limiting beliefs can either hold us back or propel us forward toward fulfillment. Limiting beliefs – like believing we’re not good enough or don’t deserve to be happy – leads to fear of failure and self-sabotage. Believing in our unlimited possibilities gives us the confidence to find our purpose. As Tony says, “We can change our lives. We can dohave and be exactly what we wish.” Believe that and purpose will follow.
Knowing Your Purpose and Why It Matters

Science shows that finding your purpose is linked to positive health behaviors. It can even help you live longer. One study found that participants without a strong sense of meaning in their lives were more than twice as likely to die early compared to those who had a clear purpose in life. Having a sense of purpose also reduces the incidence of heart diseases like heart attacks and stroke. These results were universal, even when controlled for income, race, gender and education level.

Achieving goals may not help you find purpose in life, but knowing your purpose can help you achieve your goals. When you truly know your purpose, you’ll experience a sense of clarity like never before, connecting your goals to your ultimate fulfillment. You’ll feel passionate, driven and laser-focused. You’ll stop battling with the past and the future and start living in the present – and that’s the greatest gift you can give yourself.

13 steps to discovering your life purpose

Knowing your purpose in life has many benefits – but how can you figure it out? The road to happiness and a life of meaning comes from combining the science of achievement with the art of fulfillment. Mastering the balance of these two will help you to succeed in finding your purpose.

  1. Understand where you are now

The questions “What is my purpose in life?” and “How can I be happy?” both have the same answer because you can never be truly happy unless you find a purpose that makes you feel alive inside.

So, the first step is to know where you currently are in life. What’s important to you in life? What are your current beliefs? Which of those beliefs are limiting you? Which ones are empowering beliefs? What’s something that means a lot to you? Once you get a sense of where you are on your journey, your purpose will become more clear.

  1. Focus on purpose-driven goals rather than short-term goals

Where focus goes, energy flows. If you focus only on achieving short-term goals, you will only get short-term results when it comes to fulfillment – and never learn how to find your purpose. Your goals must always be aligned with your purpose. If they’re not, they won’t be meaningful and you’ll only feel a fleeting sense of accomplishment. You won’t be able to see that life is happening for you instead of to you.

When you set a goal, always start with why, not how. Why do you want to achieve it? How does this relate back to your ultimate life purpose? Use a journal or a system like Tony’sRapid Planning Method to ensure you always keep your purpose top of mind.

  1. Cultivate an abundance mindset

When we stop growing, we start feeling pain, fear and anxiety. That fear might show up as envy as we look at what everyone else has that we don’t. Questions like, “What is my purpose in life?” degrade into a mindset where we start coveting status, material goods and power. But without an empowering purpose, all those things will ultimately leave you feeling empty.

The solution? Develop an abundance mindset. An abundance mindset is when you will see beauty and goodness all around you. When you focus on what you do have, fear disappears and abundance appears. You’ll stop living in fear and feel more joy and gratitude. With this new perspective, you won’t question how to find your purpose as often because when you direct focus towards gratitude, you’ll find true joy and fulfillment.

  1. Give to something bigger than yourself.

Humans were created to live in a community. Giving and contributing are two of our deepest human needs because we thrive off living and working together. In our quest to unlock an extraordinary life that others dream of, we cannot ignore that real growth only occurs when we look beyond ourselves. To grow, we must give to something bigger than our own wants and desires.

From the beginning, humans have worked together to brave the elements and break down barriers to find success and fulfillment. That’s how we’ve evolved as a species and thrived in a world full of dangerous obstacles. Take a look at some of the most successful people you know. Whether it’s a club, a community or a strong sense of philanthropy, they all probably contribute to something more than themselves.

“Tony creates a perfect environment for bringing an idea to life, from your head to sketchbook to reality.” — Joe Gebbia Co-Founder and Chief Product Officer of Airbnb
  1. Throw out your blueprint

Do you feel like you’re just living a script of your life? That’s because we all have a blueprint – a set of beliefs about how life works – that comes from our friends, family, parents and society. It might say you’ll have this invigorating feeling if you achieve a certain thing. But an extraordinary life is a life on your terms, where you decide how you want to live.

So, what’s going to truly fulfill you on your own terms? Tony’s mom wanted him to be a truck driver. He decided to follow his passion instead. He decided to find his purpose, leading him to an extraordinary life. That happens when you dare to throw out your blueprint and choose what you want.

  1. Think about what brings you joy

Now that you’ve shaken off the expectations of others, it’s time to make a new blueprint. Look back at your life and identify when you felt the most joy. Was it when you were connecting with your partner? Making a successful presentation at work? Creating art or helping others? When you discover what brings you joy, you usually discover where your passions lie.

Your skills are connected to that sense of joy, so examine those skills, too: Can you pick up a pencil and sketch a lifelike portrait? Do your friends tell you that you’re a great listener? When you look closely at the activities or skills that come naturally and bring you joy, you’ll likely find passions you can turn into a profitable career.

  1. Find your gift

Who are you in your core? What are your real gifts that are going to fulfill you? We all have different gifts of labor we can give. But there’s one primary drive that we tend to return to and makes us feel fulfilled. These gifts tend to fall into one of three patterns. You could have the gift of being an artist, an entrepreneur or a manager. Knowing which one you are can help you answer the question, “What is my purpose?”

Artists don’t have to use sketchbooks. Instead, channel your love of creativity into creating something else like computer code, interior designs or connections between people. Managers and leaders who have a gift of managing people and processes often love working with people and processes, while entrepreneurs are big thinkers and risk-takers, which fulfills their need for growth and risk and pairs it with economic success.

Sometimes, it can take thinking outside of the box and applying our gifts in ways we don’t think of at first before we find true fulfillment, growth and happiness. Take our quiz to discover your gift and let it guide you to success and fulfillment.

  1. Write your story

Writing helps us organize our thoughts – and discover new perspectives we may have never realized. It’s proven to help us reach goals, improve memory and decrease stress, which are essential when learning how to find your purpose.

Putting your life in writing can reveal hidden meanings by giving you a different perspective on life. Start with this exercise: What strengths do you have that helped you get through tough times? How have you helped others? And how have other people helped you? Write it all down and you’ll begin to see patterns that will help you find your purpose.

  1. Visualize your future

Everything in your external world once started in your internal world. It began as a thought, a feeling or something you imagined. So, when you’re asking, “What is my purpose in life?” answer it by visualizing what an ideal life would look like for you. How are you helping others? How do you fit into making the world a better place? What steps are you taking to move the needle forward? Creating a life vision statement involves identifying what life would look like if everyone lived to their fullest potential. This will help you develop a roadmap to guide you in the proper direction.

Then, use visualization techniques to bring this vision to life in your mind. Picture it in as much detail as you can. Hear the sounds and smell the smells of your extraordinary life. Or, use Tony’s 10-minute priming exercise, which combines elements of gratitude, visualization and meditation.

  1. Discover your true needs

When asking themselves, “What is my purpose in life?” some people don’t know where to start. If you fall into this category, it helps to examine the Six Human Needs. Your top need – certainty, significance, variety, love/connection, growth or contribution – affects every decision you make.

A lack of awareness of your own needs can leave you with a false sense of purpose. This might be why you can’t reach the top of the career ladder or find the “perfect” partner. It can also explain why you can be in the best shape of your life but still not feel happy. That’s exactly what chef Marcela Valladolid discovered at one of Tony’s Unleash the Power Within events. She had reached the top of her field but realized she needed to give back to fulfill her innermost needs. That was her true purpose.

  1. Take time for yourself

“What is my purpose?” is a profound question; it takes time and reflection. When you run from one commitment to another, you never have time to sit quietly and reconnect with yourself. Make sure you schedule enough personal time to reduce the noise and demands of the outer world and focus on what you want.

When you feel depleted searching for meaning, take a deep breath and center yourself. Take time for self-care, whether that’s a spa day or reading a book in the park. It’s by looking within that you’re able to identify your values – the beliefs you hold most dear as a guiding force in life. You won’t understand how to find your purpose without first stepping back and relaxing.

“It is not what we get. But who we become, what we contribute… that gives meaning to our lives.” — Tony Robbins.
  1. Practice self-compassion

Part of finding your purpose is accepting your limitations. Instead of getting frustrated with yourself, give yourself a break. Get to know yourself bit by bit, taking the role of observer. As you practice self-compassion while building self-awareness, you can find the meaning you seek.

Self-compassion means being patient with yourself. Feeling lost in life can be a very disorienting feeling. You may feel frustrated, but be gentle with yourself. Everyone who has ever asked themselves, “What is my purpose?” began from a place of uncertainty. Their hesitancy was what prompted them to dig deep and find greater meaning.

  1. Build your community

Finding your purpose in life is often about discovering where you fit in. When we meet our “people,” we feel like we are home: relaxed, at ease and able to be our true selves. Your community can often help you discover how to find your purpose or live it once you’ve found it.

To find your community, follow your passions. Join a volunteer group. Take a class to develop a skill you enjoy. Seek out support online. Find others who enjoy the same music, books or plays. TV host and lifestyle expert Michelle Sorro found her community at Tony’s Unleash the Power Within events. The saying “You are who your friends are” is true – and when you find the right community, it’s a good thing.

Putting your purpose into action

Learning how to find your purpose isn’t the end of the journey. Fulfillment is when you continue is when you continue growing and transforming your purpose into action to create an extraordinary life. It’s a moving target. You have to continue trying, failing and growing all throughout your time on Earth.

The first step toward success and fulfillment is to set compelling goals. Take your life vision statement – that ultimate vision of what you want your life to be – and break it down into smaller goals you can achieve in one, three and five years.

Once you have those goals set, break them down even further using a SMART goal strategy. Make sure every goal connects back to your purpose in life. Then, hold yourself accountable for achieving your goals.

As you achieve even the smallest goals, you will start a cycle of success. You will get addicted to growth. You’ll continue to improve each and every day as you work and push toward something bigger and better than what fulfilled you the day before.

And before you know it, you won’t just ask, “What is my purpose?” You’ll live the extraordinary life you’ve always dreamed of because you put in the work and push yourself harder each day. You’ll be living your purpose every day.

  • Change your story

    Master Tony’s proven strategies to create endless momentum and change the trajectory of your life.

    View upcoming events
  • Become the best version of yourself

    Connect with like-minded individuals and start living the life of your dreams.

    View all programs