I saw a TedX talk the other day. The speaker said he could help you find your life purpose in five minutes. Sounded great because the topic of my upcoming book is all about finding and living in your significance. I was disappointed by the end of the speech though, because I didn’t agree with his technique.

He maintains that to find your purpose, you simply ask yourself where your expertise lies and how you could use it to help others. I agree that making a difference in people’s lives is an important aspect of living in your significance. But just because you know how to do something well doesn’t mean that you were created to do it.

I will use a very crude analogy to explain. Have you ever used a butter knife as a makeshift screwdriver? It works, at least part of the time. Most of time, maybe. But it wasn’t created for that purpose. Using it as a screwdriver is haphazard at times and could damage the butter knife. It’s much more efficient to use a screwdriver. It fits better and it is easier to turn.

It’s a crude analogy because butter knives and screwdrivers are inanimate objects. They don’t have hearts like you and I. So how do we know what we were created to do? The answer is simple, although at times not easy to determine. The answer lies in your heart. What is it that makes your heart sing? What is that thing you do that you would happily do whether or not you were paid?

Sometimes this can be difficult to sort out, because you have impostors hiding in your heart. These are relics and echoes of things you’ve been told or ways that you’ve behaved in the past in order to please someone else. Your heart has been fooled or tricked into thinking it wants something that it doesn’t.

For example, you may have been told that you should seek education in a major that will guarantee you employment with high pay or prestige. You took that advice to heart; now it is 15 years later and you’ve been thinking all along that high pay and prestige were your dream, but you’re not happy.

Or, you were told that your dreams of becoming a performer were foolish so you took the “solid” route and became a corporate executive.

Maybe your parents lived out their dreams of being a sports star through you, when your heart was actually leading you in a different direction.

God made you. He wants you to be who you really are because he had a great reason to make you that way. He has a purpose that the two of you can accomplish together. He wants to co-create with you. How does that make you feel? Find your purpose – it may take more than five minutes.  Or you may already know it. It’s your heart song.

Written by Tina Gasperson


Jim Grey

Thank you for this. I was fortunate to have found things that made my heart sing when I was a teenager — several, in fact. My problem was choosing which one to pursue. I was fortunate that one of them (making software) was plenty lucrative.

And in my 40s I’ve found more things that make my heart sing that I could not have imagined in my teens, namely writing and photography.

And now I’m hoping to help my sons find what makes their hearts sing. By “help” I mean get out of their way and not pressure them to achieve things that aren’t inherently meaningful to them. This plays against my natural script, as I’m a little type A, but I would rather they be doing things that make them happy yet struggle sometimes to pay the bills, than always have money but be miserable.


It’s so difficult as parents not to put our wishes onto our kids. I think it’s legitimate to a certain extent, imparting our values and ideals to our kids. But the line on that is blurry.

Bill Leon

I got a lot of other stuff, but I got very little advice or guidance growing up… Your piece here reminded me of my Pop’s ‘near’ final words to me ——- ‘don’t get stuck in something your whole life just because you’re good at it’… Delayed but meaningful words then, and damn near critical now…


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