Finding Purpose from the Ashes of Trauma

“I’m telling you the honest-truth when I say this. Just what we talked through last week has changed me in a powerful way!”

The husband and wife whose story I’ve been sharing returned with even more enthusiasm about finding their purpose.

The wife responded, “It really has changed him. It’s like he’s more present, and just more intentional and purposeful.”

She continued: “Not certain it’s changed me, but what it has changed is how I’m thinking about myself and about my life. It’s like things just seem better and … hopeful!”

Beaming, her husband validated her: “It’s like she’s come to life again! And I am loving it!”

Finding something that you wake up looking forward to doing, to being is worth every ounce of our surrender and determination. There’s NOTHING that’ll change life … like finding and living our purpose.

It was interesting to witness and enjoy their interaction. Particularly since I often hear the words “coming to life” or “coming back to life” when people begin searching for their purpose.

When we have experienced any kind of trauma, anything representing purpose becomes deeply buried inside of us. These  traumatic moments forced us to replace our authenticity with temporary survival desires that keep us cycling and searching.  

But your truth, my truthm our truth waits to be awakened and untangled in us. Your patience and hard work will be more than worth it … so STAY the course with me!

It’s one of the reasons that I use the concept of the “Champion” in all of us. It’s actually that ‘Champion’ in us that’s filled with awe and wonder.

And that wounded awe and wonder was originally meant to give you/me/us-purpose.

Trauma of any sort buries the wonder/adventure beneath the rubble of the trauma, pain, shame, wounding … clouding any sense of purpose. 

Resurrecting the Champion in us is really about recovering that part of us that’s been lost. And has a purpose that’s unique to just us, giving us a great opportunity to contribute to the world around us.

As I shared that with the couple, the husband responded, with great tenderness.

“If someone could’ve just spoken to me about my trauma that way, I think I would’ve been much more inclined, and definitely more motivated, to do something about it.”

I could see determination in him … to recapture his wonder and awe about life. And to find his purpose

I could see his wife garnering the courage to believe that she could ‘actually have’ a life that mattered. One that contributed to others in a significant and meaningful way. 

The same is true for you, my friend. You can recapture the Champion within.

Hanging …

(From my AA recovery friend … “When you begin to build a future without the one thing that you’re convinced makes you more funny, more transparent, more intuitive, more likeable … it’s overwhelming and keeps you at denial. It’s a main trigger for giving up sobriety and drinking again. BUT … you learn to just focus 24 hours at a time by living moment to moment.  That’s how you develop hope and begin to see that staying present is what creates the power, truthful intuition, and wisdom for real change. It’s by changing the present that changes the future. And the natural continuous outflow of change … is purpose! 24 hours at a time!”)

You do have a purpose! One that will do something meaningful for others.

The husband said with no reluctance, “At this point I would do the chicken dance or let you hypnotize me if that’s what it took to find my purpose.”

We all laughed, as I continued: “Finding purpose is not an event. It’s a journey. But I can get you started on the journey, and then it’ll take on a life of its own.”

I love what Dr. Chris Mosunic says about the journey of finding our purpose:

“Purpose is the invisible compass that guides us through life, leading us to fulfillment and meaning. A strong sense of purpose can motivate us to reach our potential and zero in on our unique destiny. So, finding our individual purpose is something we can all benefit from.

Discovering your purpose doesn’t have to be an intimidating process. Sometimes, the journey to discovering our true calling is sprinkled with laughter, inspiration, and unexpected detours.”

That’s why it’s a good and smart thing to ‘fast’ from your habits. Tune into life uncluttered by TV, iPhones, etc. Take time to hear and see by simply observing life. Let the quiet speak.

1. Take some time to get into a purposeful state.

“Now that sounds like some sort of yoga pose or something?” the husband responded. “But I’m willing … just tell me what to do.”

“It’s a combination of things. And not things that we do often enough. Let’s talk about the 3 components involved, and why it’s important,” I responded.

Here are the 3 things I shared with them that help us get into a 

purposeful state:

  • Take some time away from ‘life’. Ideally, it would be great to take a vacation. But even just taking an hour or two, turning off cell phones, social media, the radio, sports, TV, or ANYTHING other than some quiet moments.

We are so connected, so distracted, so over stimulated with input … we rarely allow our body, minds, and spirits to just take in a deep breath and relax!

Professor Gloria Marks of UC Irvine noted that in 2004, the average person switched between tasks every 2.5 minutes. In 2012, it was every 75 seconds, and in 2022, it was every 45 seconds.

She commented: “People have gradually spent more and more time using technology, and technology makes it difficult to focus because it provides infinite external distractions. Smartphones give us access to screens all the time, and things like text messages and e-mails draw us out of our current task.”

You won’t find your purpose switching between tasks every 45 seconds!

  • Turn off everything, other than some soothing music (instrumental only) during your moments of focusing on purpose.

Research from the University of Kansas reveals:

“In healthy adults, research has shown that listening to relaxing music reduces feelings of anxiety, as well as the physical symptoms that accompany anxiety, including elevated blood pressure and heart rate and nervous system arousal. It also reduces cortisol, a hormone that stimulates alertness AND stress, according to numerous studies.

Research further shows how music can be effective in relieving the symptoms of depression and other mood disorders. It can improve both depression and sleep in people with post-traumatic stress disorder, according to recent research.”

You can go to YouTube and find hundreds of hours of relaxing music. Here is one of the ones I like:

During this time, you can go on a relaxing walk, optimally in nature. And think about purpose. What it would be like to find and live your purpose? How it would make your life better? Positive thoughts only.

(I want to pause and humbly ask … do you believe I know of what I share? Do you want to change your life? I’ve given myself and my gifts … my entire life, knowing that what I’m called to share, over time, WILL change your life! IF … you jump in the deep end and do it!)

          Even beginning with 15-minute increments could make a world of      difference.

In my Power of Purpose workshops, I set up these moments through the course of a long day. At the end of the moments, I ask for “words” or “short phrases” of how that felt.

Whether in Japan, Australia, or Mobile, Alabama, the answers are always the same:






(For more info on the Power of Purpose, and a special discount to my readers, click here:

Hopefully you will feel the same as you begin to set up some moments to be in a purposeful state.

2. Begin to write answers to questions that will help you in your journey of finding your purpose.

To get my couple started, I asked them to just share with one another answers to a few questions.

I began with the wife.

“Tell your husband what some of your gifts and talents are. Don’t be shy. Just share them. Even if they seem small, like: ‘I’m thoughtful’.”

She took in a deep breath and began slowly.  

“Well … OK … I am thoughtful. I am organized. I am always learning and growing …” She paused.

We waited, watching her scan her brain.

“Oh! Well, I am a great writer. When I get inspired to write, I write well. And I am a great listener …” She was finally in the groove and went on.

It might be the same for you. But whether you are sharing them with someone, or just writing them down … keep going.

Also, what keeps pulling at your heart? Don’t guess it. Write it. You’re going to learn even more about what you gave up to survive.

Then I turned to the husband and asked him to do the same. It was a priceless moment because he was overwhelmed with emotion listening to her.

Then he began.

“I was a good athlete at one time. I can motivate people … but maybe not myself!”

We laughed and he continued.

“Once I make my mind up, I’m determined. Very determined. I have a creative way of seeing things. I am articulate when interested in something. I have a heart to help others.”

I noticed his wife looking at him with great admiration when he concluded.

I told them, “I love doing this with couples, because it just has a powerful way of drawing people closer together!”

They both agreed.

I had made notes, so I gave them each a copy of the notes.

For homework, I gave them two assignments.

The first was to continue what I had just done with them, answering the questions to one another. But the one listening would make the notes for the other.

The best answers are always in response to the greatest questions. Often, the questions themselves become answers. Because without asking the right question there’s never a right answer.

Here are the follow up questions I gave them to answer:

  • What things in life bring you the greatest joy?
  • What is it about those things that brings you such great joy?
  • What things in life are most fulfilling to you?
  • What is it about those things that make them fulfilling?

The second piece of their homework is in point #3 below.

I hope you’ll do the same exercise.

Don’t rush it.

Reach deep.

Where our true essence resides.

It’s in that ‘know’er-well’ that we begin to hear in ourselves, echo our truth back to us. It’s as Jesus said, “In our innermost self … there’s living water” a deep living source of hope and meaning.

There’s truth where there’s been only a desert and a void for this gnawing longing to find life. 

Write them on your own, or even better, if you have a spouse, or a good friend … do it out loud together, with the listener taking notes.

3. Gather insight from trusted people in your life.

I shared with my couple, and want to share with you, that often others who know us and spend time around us have more insight about us than we do about ourselves.

Recently, I was working with my Mastermind Coach, and he asked me what I was best known for.

I must have had a dumb founded look on my face because he responded: “I’m serious! What are you most known for?”

I drew a blank.

He asked me to ask at least 3 people who knew me well to answer the question about me.

Immediately I laughed … and told him that’s exactly what I do when I’m helping people find their purpose. I ask them to get insight from others to learn more about themselves.

(From my AA recovery friend … “I went through an IOP (an intensive outpatient program). My toughest assignment was to write a letter to my grown children sharing the damage that I realized my drinking had done to their lives and then a week later they read their letters about what it was like for them growing up. At first I was upset but soon realized that if I was to truly get well and begin recovery, I had to let go of trying to change or control their feelings aboue me. I had to accept they had total freedom to decide their feelings about me and what they saw growing up and grant them total unjudgmental freedom to say so!”)

I didn’t resist the exercise at all, and was surprised what I heard from the 3 people I asked what they thought I was best known for:

  • Helping people no one else could help.
  • Never giving up on people.
  • Seeing the good in even the unlovable.

I instructed my couple, and I’d like for you to do the same. Find some trusted people, at least 5, and ask them for their help.

If you’re married or in a relationship (and it’s healthy and supportive) start with them.

Tell them you’re working on finding your purpose, and answering these questions would help you.

I began with the couple and asked them to do the first one with me.

The question: “What do you see as my top three gifts?”

I began with the wife this time, asking her husband the question: “What do you see as my top 3 gifts?”

With a big smile, he immediately began.

“Just three?! Well … I’d say that you’re a great encourager, you’re a great communicator orally and in writing, and you have a way of looking at things from every angle, then choosing the best one, the one that issues the most grace.”

Then he asked her the question.

She eagerly responded.

“Oh, that’s easy! You can rally any group of people to do anything, you always know the next steps to take to make anything better, and you have a way of making people believe in themselves.”

I gave them the rest of the question, and I hope you will do the same exercise with 5 trusted people in your life.

The other 4 questions to ask them:

  • What are my top 3 strengths?
  • What are my top 3 growth edges? (Areas that if I grew in, would make me even more prepared to live with purpose).
  • What 3 things that you’ve seen me do … make me seem to come to life?
  • What things in life seem to lead me to fulfillment?

It’s a vulnerable thing to do. But finding your purpose is vulnerable. Once you find it, the vulnerability turns to value in your life and in your future.


I hope you’ll take some time to get in a purposeful state.

Answer some purposeful questions and invite some trusted others to participate in your journey.

Henry David Thoreau said:

“Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them.”

The first time I heard that, it felt like I’d been punched in my gut. I was nowhere near going to my grave, but I did feel like my life was one of quiet desperation.

I knew there were “songs” within me.

Things I wanted to do, to contribute to the world.

But how?

I remember the first time I heard the concept of “purpose.” I KNEW it was the answer to my life of quiet desperation … and I KNEW it was how I would discover the “song” (gifts, purpose) in my heart and leave a legacy.

I hope and pray you will end any whispers of quiet desperation by finding your purpose. The world needs you, my friend!

As the ancient proverb declares … “Iron Sharpens iron and so one person sharpens another.”

Creating a razor’s edge takes detailed focus and preciseness.

If what you hear about yourself from others, doesn’t sting a little, point you towards true north, or confirm and sharpen your focus on what you fear to face … keep asking and wait till you do hear it … it’s is time!

As Robert Greene says in his book, Mastery:

“Your uniqueness is a scientific fact. Every one of us is unique; our exact genetic makeup has never happened before or will never be repeated. They (our genes) experience an inner calling that tends to dominate their thoughts and dreams. They find their way to a career path or life in which this inclination can flourish.”

You uniquely have gifts and talents that can come from no one else.

Your purpose will make a difference in the lives of others.