The Purpose Ladder

10 questions to narrow down your path to creating the change that you wish to make in this world.

It’s not a complete list by any means, but these questions have helped me find my path to walk, uncover my purpose, and to discover what gives me meaning.


1) What do you want to do? 

(What is your craft, your art, your gift, the work you deeply care about?  

Your work can be specific or generic, something common or uncommon, a gifting or a passion, and pretty much anything that you care about more than those around you.

*ps this isn’t about making a living, although that could come, this is about making a difference.)

2) Who do you seek to change? 

(Be as specific as possible. Set boundaries around who it’s for... You can’t change everyone, it's about serving the right people who need the exact solution you provide.)

3) How are you going to make the change happen?  

(Will you create the change that you wish to make with a weekly meeting, a product, a service, a blog, an experience, by leading a group?

....There are no rules.)

4) Do you have the genetic or intangible ability and talent needed to make you remarkable, either today or one-day after years and years of showing up, at the work you wish to do?

(Or, is this something that deep down you know you will likely be mediocre at?  If the answer is mediocre... I don’t mean to be mean, but maybe saving yourself the time and quitting now is the right thing to do.

Or... maybe it's not.

Quitting is important when we quit at the right things.)

5) What is the one interesting problem in the world that you are giving your life to help solve?  

(Not 4 problems, not 3 problems combined into 1, just pick one problem.

Or, another way of phrasing it is what is the one problem that people will seek you out to help them solve?) 

6) Does the work matter? And if so, why?  (Why does it matter to you? Why does it matter to those you seek to serve?)

7) Is it even possible? 

(Has anyone with your resources ever pulled off anything like this?  Who has gone before you?  Is there anyone who is where you wish to be, doing the craft you wish to do, and creating the change you wish to make? List them here. The more people you can find, the clearer the path will be.)

8) Where is the path to get there?  (The answer lies in the story of the person/people you wrote down in answer 7.  If you don't know enough about their stories and the path they took to get to where they are, research it.  [this is one of the most important steps] Then ask yourself what you need to do to get on a similar path... Do you need to go to college, find an internship, continue to build more job experience? Once you know, get on the trail as quickly as possible.) 

9) What is the daily, weekly, and monthly work you are doing in order to grow into the person who can consistently create the change that you wish to make?

(Dreams become real with action, everything else is a fantasy.)

10) Last question - What are you willing to sacrifice as you build your contribution to the world?

(This is not a sprint... are you prepared to show up daily to build your vision for the next 5, 10, and 15 years?  Anyone can show up for a week to three months or even a couple years with a new idea, but are you prepared to show up regularly, with care and generosity, to prove to us that we can trust you with the change you wish to make?

What do you need to give up and commit to in order to form the person you need to be?)


And here's a few last words:

Set your course.  Start small. Be extremely, EXTREMELY patient.  Don't focus on numbers, measurement, or comparison, it doesn't matter.  Be generous with who you are and your gifting.  Work to free yourself from the internal limitations like fear and shame that hold you back from pure self-expression.  And lastly, remember that in the end, all that this comes down to is you being generous with the gift of who you are.  

I hope this helps.