You Don’t Need to Look for Your Purpose, You Need to Grab It By The Balls!!!


Photo Credit:  Michael

I thought I had to search for it too.  And so I did.

For five years.

I’ve gotta find it. I’ve gotta find it, I told myself. And the more desperately I searched, the more it seemed to elude me.


You can be like me and waste the next five years (or 10 or 20) looking for your passion and purpose.

You can chase two or three different career opportunities, dissatisfied that none brings you the happiness and fulfillment that’s missing.


You can buck up and realize that your purpose is right in front of you.

Every. Single. Day.

It stares you in the face, jumping up and down screaming, “pick me, pick me!”

Purpose is Not Something You Find. It is Something You Value.

Quit wishing you could sing like Beyoncé or electrify a crowd like Ellen. You can’t. You are you and that’s okay!

Your purpose is exactly what you say it is–nothing more, nothing less.

You neglect your real purpose today when you wish of what your purpose could–or should, or might–be in the future.

Return to this moment. Claim the passion of your presence in the now and live on purpose.

That’s the first step.

Are You Willing to Fail?

This weekend, I had a discussion with a friend of mine who’s a researcher at the University near my home. This is what he said about spending hours upon hours for days, weeks, months and years in the lab.

“In research, we fail. A lot!  It’s not fun and you don’t always feel happy. I would say 99% of the things we try don’t work.”

That’s how it is with life, too. But you’re looking for a magic pill that doesn’t exist.

It is Normal to Be Afraid

But here’s the thing. You aren’t normal!  You just think you are (and so you act that way).

You say, “Okay, I’m going to ‘play big.'”

But your “big” is still too small for what you are capable of achieving, and so you end up frustrated because you’re chasing a passion that isn’t worthy of you.

You must go for the thing that keeps you up at night (and driven all day).

You gotta reach for the dream that makes you nearly pee yourself in fear. The one that scares the shit outta you when you say it out loud.

Yeah, that one–the vision you’re most afraid to hold is the one you must cling to!

If you’re still hoping you’ll beat the odds and become an overnight success, I gotta tell you the truth. There is no such thing and the idea is complete bullshit!

It All Comes Down To This…

Are you willing to look like a fool in the world and still follow your soul? Are you willing to go even further and bigger when you think you’re already out on the edge and your fear is snapping at your heels? Are you willing to fail? Most of the time?

Your purpose is whatever the hell you say it is.

You don’t need to find your purpose. You need to have the courage to live it!

The Question Is…Will You?

So say, “It is so!”  Decide that you are willing to pay the price.  Work like hell to make it happen.

Then when they ask how you became an overnight success, you can smile and tell them that there is no such thing.

About Steve

Hi, I'm Steve Rice and my goal is to transform simple philosophical truths into practical fuel to revolutionize your life. It's not about self-help, it's about self-reliance. I show you how. Connect with me on Facebook or follow me on Twitter and let me know how I can help you.

  • Oh so very yes!

    If you can’t stop doing something, and thinking about it when you can’t do it, that’s your passion. And yes, you’ll fall down, repeatedly, but its what happens after the falling down that really counts.

    • Steve

      Thanks for your comment, Kathryn. I appreciate you sharing it on Twitter, too! I agree…passion drives us, but you are right…it’s whether we get up after falling down that counts. More importantly, it’s if we are willing to risk the potential of falling down. So many of us are terrified to fall. But we must if we are going to create real meaning in our lives.

  • Melissa

    “You don’t need to find your purpose. You need to have the courage to live it!”

    I guess living that purpose is the hardest part. Like what a mentor told me, if I had hesitations on doing something, I should simply stop thinking and proceed with what I am supposed to do.

    • Steve

      Hi, Melissa! Yep, living it is the hardest part because it requires facing our fears…at least for me. The advice of your mentor is really great! The only thing that helps to dispel our fears is to take action in the face of them. So glad that you stopped and shared this great nugget of advice.

      Have you “found” your purpose, or are you still working it out as you go along? Do you have a singular driving passion in life or do you find that you can bring passion to whatever it is you’re focused on at the moment? Just kinda curious how this all plays out for other people.

  • Oh Man, Steve! You know I LOVED this right?!

    You’re absolutely right! Our purpose is closer than we could ever imagine. It’s right there in our grasp!

    I remember when George Lucas was on Oprah’s Master Class and share, “If you wake up a 7am, and set out to do something, and go to the kitchen to get something to eat; and realize that it’s now 7pm. That’s your passion. That’s your purpose.”

    We don’t always get a brick thrown to the head, with the angelic choir in the background, saying, “You’re to do this…” It comes subtle, but noticeable. Paying attention to that inner voice helps, but we have to know what lights us up; and I’d tell anyone, do that thing that you would do for hours on in, for free. That will tell you if you’re passionate about it or not. FOR SURE! 😀

    Great message, mate! I really enjoyed the read. Thanks for the inspiration! 🙂

    • Steve

      Thanks, Deeone! You’re always so energetic and encouraging regarding my work. I appreciate it tons.

      I, too, remember that Lucas story, now that you remind me of it. He’s absolutely right. Sadly, most of us don’t live in that place, do we?

      I love the image of the angelic choir. But that’s honestly what I was expecting years ago. I expected that I would have this overwhelming sense of calling that would tell me what my one great purpose was to be. I didn’t realize that it is a subtle unfolding.

      I don’t know about you, but I always felt like I would “miss” my purpose if I messed up. So I was afraid to do much of anything with any sort of real commitment, because I didn’t wanna eff it up. Have you experienced anything like that as you have been pursuing a life of greater purpose? Is it just me? LOL.

      • Oh no, it’s not just you, my friend. I’m constantly over analyzing and questioning every little thing. I tell myself that it’s because I don’t want to mess anything up or cause my goal to go all awry in the process; but I’m learning that it’s a protection mechanism that we’ve created to protect us from feeling the sting of failure.

        I think we need to relinquish that fear of the sting, and instead run towards it. However, that’s easier said than done, isn’t it? 😀 If we can manage to do that though, and just enjoy the journey, never giving up, or giving in; we’re bound to land where we desire to be. At the very least, we’ll land in the vicinity of it. :))

        • Steve

          Ugh! I can so relate! I’m so glad I’m not alone. LOL. I know what you mean about the protection mechanism. I’m really doing some intense internal work on this very topic when it comes to my message and my business. I’ll be sharing all the lesson I’m learning here once I get a little perspective and objectivity.

          You’re right about easier said than done! Especially if you’ve spent most of your life protecting yourself and running away from the “sting”. It’s hard to change old habit patterns.

          It really is what you identified…persistence and perseverance.

  • i have mixed emotions about what you said here. Part of me says yes because everyone else is agreeing with you but part of me says i don’t agree with you but maybe i’ve misunderstood what you said here.
    So are you saying we should stop striving to find our purpose. Or that just looking for our purpose is not enough. or are you saying something else?
    The way that i understand finding purpose is having a dream a desire that you think will give your life more meaning and happiness and hopefully enjoying the process along the way. If singing like Beyonce is something you want to do than i think you SHOULD stive for it and do it. Yes you may fail but you won’t know until you try. trying to achieve that goal is as you said “living it”..

    so i ask you, are we saying the same thing or do you disagree with my approach and thinking?

    • Steve


      Please never agree with me because everyone else is! 🙂 That would make for boring conversation, and I love the exchanges you and I have on this site.

      Perhaps my meaning was a bit muddled. What I meant to convey is that the search for “purpose” (which seems to be a popular buzz phrase) is irrelevant because purpose is not something that can be lost.

      It’s like a car. When you buy it, it is clear what the purpose is. You don’t have to read the owner’s manual or ask a friend. Even if you don’t know how to drive or your can’t drive it for some reason, you still know it’s purpose.

      In my opinion, our lives are the same way. The purpose (function) is clear. For each of us, it is to live fulfilled. The challenge comes in finding meaning. Each person must decide what a “fulfilled” life looks like to them. Each of us must determine to imbue our days with meaning. But this is done in each moment–in the present.

      The passion that lies within us can serve as our guide to living “on purpose”. Often, we go seeking purpose, but it is only a matter of living focused on the purpose, not uncovering it.

      I agree with your premise, so I think we’re saying mostly the same thing. We all need a vision (or a dream) for our lives. And I agree that it is the process that allows us to feel more fulfilled (or not).

      The point I was making about Ellen and Beyonce is that we often look to someone (our idols) outside of ourselves and think that their purpose or mission should be ours. This is merely a metaphor for staying true to one’s self and following intuition.

      Hope that clarifies rather than obscures the point I was trying to make. I’m really glad you piped up, because I’m sure there are others who may have misunderstood my meaning as well.

  • I had the hardest time with this Steve and I’ll tell you why.

    I’ve never been passionate or excited about one single thing in my entire life. Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t lead a boring life but like some people know what they wanted to be at a young age, I didn’t. Some people had hobbies that they absolutely love, I didn’t. Some people had talents they wanted to make into careers, I didn’t. Some people wanted to do certain things, I didn’t.

    So when I read the book a long time ago, Your Life’s Purpose, I still didn’t know what it was. It wasn’t until I worked with a spiritual life coach several years ago that she helped me understand that it was more about what I really enjoyed doing and what I couldn’t live without in my life. Little did I know that it was all just about helping others. I didn’t see that as a passion because it was just always a given in my life. Now I’m able to apply that to my business which is why I love what I do.

    So that’s my take on this. I’m sure others may see this the same way I did. Either way, doing what you love every day is your purpose.


    • Steve

      I so appreciate the insight you bring to any discussion, Adrienne. Your light is warm and bright. 🙂 Your spirit and message is an inspiration to me although it would seem we’re in disparate niches.

      I’m with you…I have lots of interests…not just one. In Barbara Sher’s book, I think she calls us “scanners”.

      I think that’s what my coach was getting to…passion drives purpose. The meaning is what we give it.

      It’s amazing how it fits once you recognize that. Once I realized my purpose is “to give hope” then all the other parts seemed to fit. Because I seem to do that naturally. It’s just asking the question, “how can I do more?” and “how can I reach more people?”

  • Ruby

    Very well said! Fear but don’t let it ruin your pace. Life gets you along the way but always believe that with every trial, comes great opportunities and advantages in the end.

  • Hey Steve! I guess hard work is the key to success. If someone is looking for that magical pill for something to happen automaticallythen its quite like walking on water bare footed and not getting wet. I guess your friend is right about the fact that he fails so many times in the lab.but if you think out of the box then you can come to the conclusion that failure is the stepping stone to success.

    • Steve

      Hi, Sunil…welcome to the site.

      You’re absolutely right…once we recognize that our purpose lies in front of us, it just takes work. Lots of people don’t want to admit that, or they are afraid to commit to it.

      I love your comment: “Failure is the stepping stone of success”! This is 100% the right idea that my friend was sharing. The more you fail, the more you succeed!

  • I think also people fail to realize that purpose often exists only when you give life or something purpose.

    For example, you may feel like your life is purposeless – but as soon as you adopt a mission, a task, a greater story (Save starving kids, create a business that changes lives, be the best father possible, etc.) you’ll start to feel like life has meaning.

    I think it’s the rare individual that has “always known” what their purpose was.

    • Steve

      BINGO, Alexander! You hit the nail on the head. It is such a powerful realization to recognize that we–each of us–give our life meaning. We decide. One of my fave books is Viktor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Ultimate Meaning. This was the first place that I was taught this way of thinking and it transformed me.

      So many of us emulate the few “always-known’s” and don’t realize that each of us is called to create meaning out of randomness. thanks for swinging by and chiming in!

  • The willingness to take a risk and fail is so very important. I am a big fan of that. If you don’t put yourself out there what chance do you have to really succeed.

    • Steve

      That’s a big lesson that I’ve struggled with in the past, Jack! You are right about putting yourself out there. It’s amazing to me how few people are willing to do it. I was even more surprised at how challenging it has been for me to put myself “out there”…but your are right. Without exposure, risk and a certain “ballsy-ness” there isn’t much hope of success.

      thx for stopping by. Hope I get to catch you on Lori’s call tomorrow if u can make it.

  • This post is spot on. You can’t waste time looking for your passion or purpose. Your purpose is whatever you say it is. Just go for it.

    I think that can be a hard thing for some people to recognize and go for. Putting it off can just be a way of making excuses for not pursuing the thing that keeps you up at night and gives you purpose.

    • Steve

      Hi, Steve! Thanks for stopping by the site. I agree with you 100% (from my own experience)…I used procrastination (disguised as the need to research and plan) as a way to stall and put off the decision-making and action-taking because I was afraid.

      Great insight. I appreciate you sharing it here. Now I’m off to check out your site! 🙂

  • Great post, Steve!

    I used to analyze, assess, research, consider- basically obsess- over every small decision in life. I’m sure its no surprise to you that this behavior made me suspicious, wary, and unhappy! Life its in lived every day, and living the life I want isn’t something that happens to me, its something I do. Being purposeful is a choice I make every day. I don’t have to have all the answers or know how life will work out in advance.

    Have a grateful day!


    • Steve

      wow…I can so relate to your experience, Chrysta! They call it “analysis paralysis” and I have certainly been there for sure! There’s great relief in realizing that I don’t have to have all the answers (as you point out). thanks for sharing your experience.

  • Rick

    I agree with you. There is a need to act, for doing so is better than doing nothing at all.

  • Steve,
    I so agree. I tend to think of purpose as a path that I choose. Also, purpose may be different than career. My life purpose, for example, is to be a musician. Yet, my career is writer, life coach, psychic, etc. Sometimes, the day job takes a while to catch up with your purpose. It’s all good. I also see success as a journey, not a destination. And, there’s definitely no such thing as overnight success.

    • Steve

      Hi, Lisa!

      So glad ur back bloggin a bit. How’s the book coming? I know it’s such a long process. 🙂 I can’t wait to read it.

      You’re so right about this being a journey…sometimes we get so wrapped up in achieving that we forget presence. It’s about consistency.

      • Thanks so much. Yes, getting back into swing. Sent manuscript in early March. Thanks for asking and for the support 🙂 xo

        I suck at the journey bit at times, I’ll admit. Heehee! I want to be “there” now–talk about not in the moment or trusting…so un-spiritual 🙂

        • Steve

          YAY! Congrats on getting it all ready and sent off. Do you have a tentative pub date?

          I totally get ya about the journey. I’m the same way. Probably why I chose to come back and have such an interest in it this life. Makes me study it, apply it, teach it! 🙂

          • Hey, thanks! I know you relate 🙂 I appreciate the support. It’s going to drop on November 26, 2012.

            Ooh, yes, study, learn, apply, teach…all the same, very much so 🙂

            • Steve

              Will be quick to grab a copy. If you get some you can sell directly, I wanna buy from u so I can get it signed.

              (BTW…had some really interesting intuitive “hits”–for lack of a better word–happen to me today…have never had it that strongly. Might hit you up sometime to get your perspective on it. Gonna talk to Sherrie too. Was pretty intense for me. But at least I kinda knew what was happening.)

  • Aww, thanks, Steve. I will probably have some deals with freebies for people depending on number of copies ordered for pre-sales. I also will sell some directly too at some point. Absolutely happy to sign 🙂

    Oh, yes, feel free to hit me up for some insights. Not that I’m an expert or anything, but can nudge you in direction that is right for you about interpreting.

  • Monica@Terani Evening Dresses

    I agree, It’s not about looking for your purpose and passion, it’s about taking risk for opportunities and living your present life contentedly. Don’t be afraid of failure, it’s always part of success 🙂