Illustration by Jessica Hagy.

“Whether you’re a leader doing the hard work of articulating a purpose for your organization, or you’re an individual ready to live a more directed life,” says Keith Yamashita. “The first step in living your purpose is distilling it.”

Once you find your purpose, it acts as a comfort and a compass for every decision—big and small—that you make about how to spend your time.

Kicking off our brand-new 99U book Make Your Mark with a bang, Yamashita dives right into the key questions you should be asking to uncover your purpose.

To define your personal purpose, start with these questions:

  • How will the world be better off thanks to you having been on this earth?
  • What are your unique gifts and superpowers?
  • Who have you been when you’ve been at your best?
  • Who must you fearlessly become?

At the intersection of these four questions lies your personal purpose. The questions are deceptively simple, and you might be tempted to rush through them. To really do the task justice—and to do yourself justice—you have to peel away the layers of your self-conception. You have to get beyond that image you’ve made for yourself that you so strongly defend. And you have to get at what is actually true. The tension among your answers reveals as much as the commonalities. Lean into it. This process may take days. It may obsess your thinking for weeks. For some, it takes years to unfold. There is no magical timeline. Move at your own pace.

You can find Keith’s complete essay—and 20 more insights from creative leaders—in our new book on building a creative business with impact: Make Your Mark.

Bonus: Use promo code “MAKEURMARK” to get 20% off pre-orders through Nov 17th, 2014.

Get “Make Your Mark” now –>

  • Jess

    I would love to see some example answers for these questions. They are easy to answer on a surface level, but some inspiration for exposure would be interesting!

    • tim ANDERSON

      just got paid $6784 working off my laptop this month. And if you think that’s cool, my divorced friend has twin toddlers and made over $9k her first month. It feels so good making so much money when other people have to work for so much less.

      This is what I do,,,,,,,,,,,,, job-storm.cₒm

    • http://www.realmoneylife.com Real Money

      Jess, we are going to discuss go through these questions in a group at the Real Money community platform. You are welcome to join us. It will take a little bit of time before it is set up, but we can grant you your wish! 🙂
      Alan Steinborn realmoneylife.com

    • Sasha

      You can read the whole chapter on it in the book!

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