Zach’s Blog

“Don’t Wait:” 3 Practical Ways to Start Discovering Purpose Right Now

How does a serial partier, jailed in six states before age 27, who left great jobs in investment banking and silicon valley turn their life around?


Or, as Brandon Peele, now-Purpose Guide and author of the new book, Planet on Purpose: Your Guide to Genuine Prosperity, Authentic Leadership and A Better World, puts it, “Purpose ended my meandering quest for meaning. The desperate search for purpose ended when I started doing the work to discover my own purpose.”

Peele’s “meandering quest for meaning” and the ill effects it had on his own life are all too common.

In fact research finds just 13 percent of employees in the world indicate that they feel pride or enthusiasm in their work, over half of the world’s workforce would take a lower paying job for more meaning, and meaningfulness and self-realization are ranked as the top values at work on nearly every continent.

People are craving and searching for meaning now like never before. It’s not just another passing trend, it’s a basic human need.

And when that search for purpose is satisfied, scientific findings from the last decade have found that people are…

  • Five times more productive
  • Four times more engaged in their work
  • 64% more fulfilled
  • Likely to live on average seven years longer

“People who connect to their higher purpose have lives and careers that are on fire,” Peele has found in his own work with thousands of people in nearly every industry. “When we discover purpose, we gain clarity, confidence and courage. Those are the elements that drive the benefits of purpose.”

So, how do you stop the meandering quest for meaning, and start truly doing the work to discover purpose?

Based on thousands of hours of purpose guiding, Peele recommends these three ways anyone can start:

1. Learn what purpose is.

There are now over 70,000 books on Amazon about purpose. And its popularity, while indicative of the human search for meaning, has also resulted in confusion about what it is and how to pursue it.

This is why Peele recommends you start familiarizing yourself with the language of purpose by reading evidence-backed books like The Invisible Leader, True Purpose, The Purpose Economy, or his own new book, Planet on Purpose.

Like anything else, when we can start putting language to the idea of purpose, we make it real and tangible. Then, we can pursue it.

2. Ask yourself these three questions.

Uncovering and naming your own need for purpose work can be powerful. Peele recommends asking these three questions:

  • Do I have unrealized creative potential?
  • Is impact, aliveness, and passion missing in my career?
  • Do I have feelings of fraudulence, unworthiness, or lack peace?

Many of these feelings can signal the need to start a purpose discovery journey.

“There is nothing wrong if these are indeed present, it just means that purpose work will yield massive benefits for you and your career. Everyone in the 13% who are engaged in their careers and lives were once in your shoes,” Peele says.

The key is to start building up a picture of where you are and what you’re feeling so you can comfortably name the issues and get to work.

3. Interview three people who are living life in a way you respect.

Finally, we all know and admire people who are engaged in their work, live inspired lives, and do work that brings them joy. Peele recommends you pick three of them and interview them.

Ask them about their own purpose, what it is to them, and how they discovered it. Others’ paths offer invaluable knowledge that can inform our own.

But, as Peele says, “Don’t wait, whatever path of discovery you choose, begin the process today. Seriously, today. You will not regret it.”

The science proves he’s right.

 Zach Mercurio is a purpose and meaningful work consultant, researcher, and bestselling author of “The Invisible Leader: Transform Your Life, Work, and Organization with the Power of Authentic Purpose.” 

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