This is a question that can be asked by a client at any stage of their life. They may have come to you saying that they have a good job, happy relationship with their partner and family, a supportive circle of friends; in short all the good things in life but they are still feeling that there is something missing; something that’s creating a doubt about all that they are doing in their life at present. They may be feeling that there is some as yet unknown aspect of themselves that they would like to identify and use in their life.

Alternatively, your client may be in a situation where no matter what job or activity they have tried in their life, it isn’t working out for them and they are looking for the answer to this very frustrating situation.

In general, I would approach this situation with the client by asking them if they’d be willing to create a life purpose statement; a statement that is a start and not necessarily the final statement that would be created after a time spent thinking about aspect of themselves and what they’d like to see in the world.

To begin, provide your client with 6 pieces of plain paper and a few pens and then ask them to do the following: “On the first piece of paper, list as many of your positive attributes as you can. This includes abilities, skills and traits that you know to be true about you and also those which a partner, family and/or friends have said to you as well”. Encourage your client to not limit what they put on the list; encourage them to put down as many as they can think of; encourage them to be truthful and honest about themselves.

On the second piece of paper, ask your client to write down all the ways that they express themselves in the world; all the activities that they do like painting, gardening, reading, whatever they do on a day to day basis, that’s what they write down.

On the third piece of paper ask your client to list all the ways they would like to see the world, the qualities that they would like to see the entire world express as commonly held values. Once again remind them to write down as many as they can think of, to not limit the qualities that they’d like to see in the world.

Now ask your client to look at each of the lists on each of the pieces of paper and circle the three personal qualities, expressions and world qualities that “speak” to them the strongest and deepest. This will mean that your client has 3 items indicated on each page. Remember to remind them that this is the start and that the lists can be amended at any time to reflect a more accurate sense of what’s important in their life right now.

On a sheet that you have prepared with the following words, ask your client to complete using their lists of words.

The first sentence starts with: My life’s purpose is to express and apply my…. Ask your client to write in their three most important positive abilities, traits and skills.

It continues with: through… .Ask your client here to write in the three best ways that you express yourself in the world.

It ends with: to bring forth in the world….Ask your client to list here those three qualities that you’d like to see expressed throughout the entire world.

The final step is to ask your client to read out their life purpose statement to hear how it sounds to them. You could then ask your client how it feels to them and if they want to make any amendments to it.

If they’re happy with it as it is, ask that they take all that they’ve written with them and review it often before their next session with you. You could ask them to consider one more question in a suitable quiet place with no time pressure and that question is: Why would you like to see this statement of yours come true?

Encourage them to write down any thoughts or ideas that come to them when they think about this question. You could suggest that they do this a number of times between now and the next time you meet.

Then at the next session you could your client: Has your statement changed in any way from what you wrote in the previous session? If the answer’s yes ask: What has changed for you? What did you find out when you asked the question: Why would you like to see this? Check with your client to see if there’s any further information about what they’ve discovered about themselves as a result of this activity

Now with your support, your client is ready to bring into being a life goal or vision for themselves and then decide on the practical steps needed to bring this vision into reality.