Community//

3 Steps to Discovering More Meaning in Your Life

Finding meaning can be one of the most challenging things we do, but don't worry, I have a framework for that

Discovering purpose can be daunting
Photo by Jukan Tateisi on Unsplash

Studies show again and again that discovering meaning in life is essential to our overall well being. Our basic human nature drives us to seek ways to connect to something greater than ourselves. But finding meaning can be incredibly difficult for many people, especially those that lack strong religious beliefs. 

We hear people saying things like “follow your passions,” “know your why,” “focus on what is most essential,” but what does that even mean? And further, how the heck are we supposed to do that? Many get stuck in the fear of it all. Better to do nothing, than wade through uncertain waters, right? Wrong.

Discovering your purpose is a journey. And every step you take that gets you closer to your truth is a step towards a better life.

The good news is that meaning, or purpose in life, can be found in many different places, there is no single definition for everybody. This is why I created the Purpose Framework. 

Introducing The Purpose Framework

created by Ways & Meaning

The Purpose Framework was created to guide you through the process of discovering more meaning in your life. It includes five areas of your life to evaluate, broken down into three steps. 

  1. Know yourself: uncover your true identity
  2. Go higher: get intentional about your core values and your highest belief
  3. Go deeper: link what you believe with what you do by understanding what matters most and how your current focus dictates your behavior

For some, your purpose might be all of these things, or one, or just a few. You get to decide what creates meaning in your life, and no one else. 

Step 1: Know yourself

Although this framework is hierarchical, in that the elements above help to guide those below it, that’s not how it was designed to be completed. Instead, we start in the middle by getting to the heart of your most authentic identity. 

Start by asking yourself these two important questions:

  1. Who am I? What traits define your personality, your strengths, your story? What characteristics make you, uniquely you?
  2. What do I do? This might be your paid work, or non-paid work (hello fellow parents!), or volunteer work or passion project. It’s where you’re able to apply your natural gifts to something greater than yourself.

Step 2: Go higher

Keeping in mind your true self, now think about what values are most important to you. Which are essential to who you are? Your most essential values are those that make you, you. Without them, you are not your true self. 

Then, consider your highest belief about the meaning of life itself. If you’re religious, this is most likely your beliefs about God. But don’t worry, you don’t need religion to answer this question. Here are a few other places to seek wisdom:

  • Philosophy
  • Psychology
  • Evolutionary science
  • Astronomy and physics
  • Art and music
  • A cause or idea that is most meaningful to you
  • Those that know you best
  • A therapist, counselor or coach

Step 3: Go deeper

Everything up to this point in the framework is things that should remain relatively static in your life. They may change as you gain clarity and awareness of them, but they are and always should be mostly the same.

The bottom half of the framework, on the other hand, changes with the seasons of life. You can think of what matters most as your current strategic objective. For me, this is the overall wellbeing of myself and my family. I have two young kids, and like many parents, they are my universe. Right now, my focus is on them. But I also know I can’t be the best parent, unless I first take care of myself.

Once you know what matters most to you can figure out how to align that with what you do everyday. Your current focus and habits are at the bottom of the framework but they may be what is most essential. Just as Arianna reminds us daily, we are what we do. If you want to find more meaning in your life, you need to ensure that your habits are aligned with what you believe.

Keep going

Hopefully this quick overview of The Purpose Framework showed you how you can do this on your own. But if you need a bit of help, I have a course for that. Find Your Way is an online course designed to guide you through the process of better knowing yourself and what matters most.

It goes through The Purpose Framework in detail, helping you to find more meaning and joy in your life. Ultimately this will help you find your own unique path to the good life. Curious to learn more? Click here to start your free 7-day trial today

The Thrive Global Community welcomes voices from many spheres. We publish pieces written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Learn more or join us as a community member!
Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

You might also like...

Illustration by Julia Yoon for Thrive Global
Work-Life Integration//

The Thrive Guide to Rediscovering Your Purpose at Work

by Jen Fisher
Community//

The Call to Meaning

by Dr Chantal Breytenbach, PhD
Community//

Living a Life Inspired by Purpose

by Joseph Rodarick Law

Sign up for the Thrive Global newsletter

Will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.

Thrive Global
People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- MARCUS AURELIUS

We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.