What’s the first question exchanged when we meet someone new?

You guessed it:

“So… What do you do?”

In our culture, what you do for a living is inextricably tied to society’s perception of your worth.

A stable job with a good salary is highly regarded, but we often look less lovingly upon the self-trained artist or entrepreneur who gives blood, sweat, and tears to make their vision possible.

Why is this? Is the number on your paycheck the true meaning of success?

Instead of focusing on money or power, let’s focus on what’s fundamental: happiness and a sense of purpose.

These two elements drive us to do more than status or material gain.

People don’t succeed by migrating to a particular industry or job. They thrive by getting curious about answering questions about who they really are and doing work they truly love. In doing so, they unleash unthinkable creative and productive energy. To truly be happy, our work must have meaning.

This is not a new idea. For decades, psychologists have known that humans are more motivated by personally meaningful goals than by external rewards such as money or status.

Put simply: When you love what you do, it shows. You’re lit up by your passion, you put in extra effort, you’re a source of great ideas. Others envy your confidence.

Remember that 95 percent of the time finding oneself doesn’t happen in one major epiphany.

Clarity comes in fits and spurts. Passion evolves.

All of us are born with innate strengths and aptitudes. Nurture your interests and have patience when finding ways to exercise passion for something — even if you don’t see a way to make money from it yet. Be persistent and remain open to the possibilities.

The first step is to explore your whims — those little sparks of interest you’re not sure what to make of yet. To figure out what you find meaningful and inspiring in your life, it can help to harness the power of provocative inquiry.

Most of us go through life on auto-pilot, never questioning our assumptions, exploring our likes and dislikes, or spending time getting honest about what we really want.

The 14 questions in this workbook are specifically designed to provoke creative thinking, help you get in touch with the roots of your personal preferences and natural drives, and to help you gain the clarity you need to get unstuck and move forward.

Click here to Get the Powerful Questions Workbook

Originally published at melodywilding.com on May 18, 2015.

Originally published at medium.com