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What Should I Do With My Life? 7 Questions to Help You Find Your Purpose

Asking What should I do with my life? is serious business. It’s about something bigger than you. It’s about your unique contribution in the world and the impact you’ll have on other people’s lives. I strongly believe you were created to fill a unique role, which means you are needed and you have a responsibility to figure out what that role is.

But believe me, I know figuring out what that is can feel intimidating. I remember not being able to sleep at night in my mid-30s because, even though I knew my current career wasn’t for me, I wasn’t clear on what direction to take or what particular work did fit me well.

Over the next several years, though, I began pursuing a new career as a broadcaster, and I managed to get clear on what I was meant to do with my life: using my gift of communication to encourage and equip people to do what they were born to do.

To help you find the same clarity I did, I’m going to share how to discover your purpose and figure out what you should do with your life. Let’s get started!

How to Answer, What Should I Do With My Life?

It’s easy to get overwhelmed by a word like purpose, which is why I like to break it down into three components. Instead of thinking about a question as big as What should I do with my life? I want you to consider the types of careers and roles that would let you . . .

  1. Use your talents (the things you do best)
  2. Perform your passions (work you love)
  3. Accomplish your mission (creating results you care deeply about)

When talent, passion and mission line up, that’s when you’re living on purpose. That framework helped me recognize where to pivot throughout my career so I could ultimately land my dream role here at Ramsey. It’s also what I teach folks every day on The Ken Coleman Show and in my book From Paycheck to Purpose.

Talent Passion Mission Purpose

So, how do you identify your talents, passions and mission? A great place to start is taking my Get Clear Career Assessment, which will give you a customized report on those three areas. You should also dedicate time to digging deep and doing some personal reflection. To help you do that, I’m going to share seven questions you can ask to narrow down your purpose—along with some examples of specific talents, passions and missions from my assessment.

Questions to Find Your Purpose: Talents

Discovering your talents is all about recognizing and owning your natural skills and abilities. For example, if you have the talent of persuasion, that means you’re skilled at influencing people to change their beliefs or take a specific action. People who are gifted at persuasion wow others by leading, selling, advising, marketing and coaching—and those tasks come easily to them.

The following two questions will help you identify your biggest talents.

1. What’s a task or role that comes easily to you?

Everyone has talents—and yes, that includes you. I know for a fact there’s something you don’t even have to try to be good at, because you just are good at it. It just comes naturally. That’s what we’re looking for here.

If something popped into your head as soon as you read this question, write it down! Don’t overthink this and allow doubt to start creeping in. Go with your gut.

2. What do you receive the most compliments for?

Here’s the great news about identifying your talents: Other people will recognize them too. Chances are, if you really think about it, most of the compliments you receive in life center on a few specific abilities you bring to the table.

You deserve to win at work. Our new book and assessment will show you how.

Let’s go back to our example of persuasion. If your friends or coworkers often tell you things like “You’re so persuasive,” or “You could sell anything,” then odds are you have a gift for persuasion, and those statements are likely true. Listen to them! And if you can’t think of any compliments you’ve been given recently, ask a friend directly what they think you do really well.

Getting feedback from people you love and trust (and who will speak truth to you) can be a game changer on your journey to figuring out what you should do with your life. It certainly was for me.

Questions to Find Your Purpose: Passions

It’s not enough to be good at something—I want you to do work you love. The kind that gets you into a state of flow and causes you to lose all sense of time. For example, people like me who have a real passion for performing come alive when they’re doing what they’re good at in front of a crowd. We love the rush that comes from having all the eyes on us and connecting with an audience.

To find your passion, think through these questions.

3. What would you do if money were no object and you were guaranteed not to fail?

This is one of my favorite questions to ask listeners when they call in to The Ken Coleman Show because it gets them to stop using their head and start using their heart. A lot of us are so discouraged by fear and doubt that we start thinking way too much. We focus on practicality instead of passion. But when I ask callers this question, it frees them up to dream like they did when they were growing up. They get to be a kid again.

So, what type of work did you dream about as a kid? Or what’s that job you dream about now when you’re lying in bed at night? Put away all your fear about failing or being embarrassed.

And don’t think about it too hard—just blurt it out!

4. What are you willing to sacrifice for?

Here’s the deal about working in your passion: It won’t make your life totally smooth and free of discomfort. You’ll get to do work you love every day, but it won’t always be easy. You’ll face obstacles and hurdles that will require you to struggle and put your nose to the grindstone.

That’s why answering this question is so important when identifying your passions. Because when something is truly your passion, it won’t just give you high levels of emotion—it will also give you high levels of devotion. You won’t just enjoy the work and have an emotional connection to it—you’ll also be deeply devoted to the work and willing to make sacrifices and get outside of your comfort zone to get the job done.

So, what are you willing to sacrifice for? What would you do all the time if you could—even when it got difficult?

Questions to Find Your Purpose: Mission

The third ingredient to a meaningful calling is determining your mission, the results of your work that matter most to you. For example, a lot of people have a personal mission of service: bringing aid to those in need, comforting others in times of crisis, and helping others succeed. Lending a hand to others fills their heart, gives them energy, and creates a feeling of significance.

This one can be a little harder to grasp, so think through these three questions to help wrap your brain around your professional mission.

5. Who are the people you most want to help?

I bet you’re naturally drawn to wanting to help a specific group of people. Maybe you have a big heart for kids or for folks struggling with money. Just remember that everyone in our world needs help in one way or another.

Helping groups like orphans or the homeless—people who desperately need attention—is highly noble, but you may be drawn to other groups, and that’s totally okay. After all, even doctors, CEOs of big businesses, and pastors need help. (As the son of a pastor, you can trust me on that last one.)

6. What problem or desire of theirs do you want to solve?

You may feel a pull toward helping people address the problems in their lives—anything from medical issues to broken HVAC units. Or you may be more interested in helping the people around you fulfill their desires—like smelling good or planning a trip to Disney. Whichever category you fall into, get specific about the problem or desire you want to address. Don’t be vague.

7. What solution do you get the most excited about?

This question is a lot of fun because most problems and desires can be solved in more than one way. Let’s say you’re drawn to helping young families buy their first home. You could do that by becoming a real estate agent and helping people find a house that fits their budget, serving as a financial coach and guiding folks as they save up for a down payment, or working as a contractor and actually building houses.

Go back to the problem or desire you identified in the last question and list as many possible solutions as you can think of. Then, consider which one you value the most—the one that would give you the biggest emotional response.

Discover What You Were Made to Do With Your Life

Now give yourself a pat on the back because this kind of self-reflection takes some serious courage! Once you’ve gotten more clarity and have a better picture of the work you want to pursue, you can start making connections in the industry you want to be a part of. It will take time and persistence, but I promise that if you work hard and never give up, you’ll eventually find work that’s meaningful to you.


Next Steps

1. Carve out some time to work through these seven questions. If you can, get away for a day or even a weekend to let yourself really dig in. Minimize distractions—this discovery is a process.

2. Take my Get Clear Career Assessment to clarify and verify your top talents, passions and mission.

3. Use the custom report you get from the assessment to explore potential careers and job roles that would let you spend every day fulfilling your purpose.

Take the Assessment

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Ken Coleman

About the author

Ken Coleman

Ken Coleman is a career expert and author of the national bestselling book From Paycheck to Purpose and the #1 national bestseller The Proximity Principle. He hosts The Ken Coleman Show, a nationally syndicated, caller-driven show that helps listeners discover what they were born to do. Ken makes regular appearances on Fox News, and he co-hosts The Ramsey Show, the second-largest talk show in the nation. Through his speaking, broadcasting and syndicated columns, Ken gives people expert career advice, providing strategic steps to grow professionally, land their dream job, and get promoted.  Learn More.

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