How To Find Your Personal Process for Success



“Be bold enough to live life on your terms, and never, ever apologize for it. Go against the grain, refuse to conform, take the road less traveled instead of the well-beaten path.” — Mandy Hale

This is a follow up post to my previous post, Living Your Process.   I’ve had enough folks ask me how to map out their success process that I’ll share some more prescriptive guidance.

It’s a work in progress, but it’s enough to share for now.

The big idea with living your process is that it helps you make the most of what you’ve got.  It’s about living with passion and playing to your strengths.  It’s also about living your values whether it’s at work or at play.

It’s about knowing what fulfills you and what sparks you each day.  It’s about living from the inside out and leading yourself first.

When you know your purpose, live your values, and play to your strengths, you can deal with life’s curve balls more effectively.  You also set yourself up for success by getting more chances at bat and improving your chances of succeeding in any situation.

The Map of Your Personal Process for Success

The map below is a bird’s-eye view of mapping out YOUR process.

These are the core components that are the backbone for living your process:

  • Purpose
  • Why
  • How
  • Values
  • Strengths
  • Self-Awareness
  • Metaphors
  • Personal Success Patterns
  • Tagline / Motto

Each of the nodes are opportunities for you to flesh out.  In other words, you can think of this as the tree and the branches and you add the leaves.  For example, you would add your purpose, your why, your how, your values, your strengths, your tagline, your metaphors, and your personal success patterns.  That’s YOUR map.  While the sum is more than the parts, an incomplete map is better than none. It’s OK to incrementally figure yourself out.  The more you know, the more you grow.

Why Find Your Process

Here’s some of the key benefits:

  • Success by design.  Rather than luck into success, you’ll know your personal combination for results.  This is the ultimate key to skilled living.  If you know where you’re headed, it’s easier to find your way through the maze of life.
  • Living your purpose.  When you’re living your purpose, every day has meaning.  If you know what you want, you can find the meaning in the things you do.  If you’ don’t feel you’re on your path, you can get on it.  Most importantly, If you get knocked off your horse, it’s easier to get back on.
  • Living your values.  When you live your values, you enjoy more moments in life, a moment at a time.  When you know your values, you can make better choices about who to hang with and what situations to avoid.  Living your values is what makes you feel good.
  • Playing to your strengths.  When you play to your strengths, you’ll improve your energy.  You’ll get stronger every day instead of weaker.  You’ll play at what you do.  You might even whistle while you work.
  • Improved results.  You’ll improve your results.  A little self-knowledge goes a long way.  You’ll be a better, stronger, faster you for whatever you want.

The simplest reason for finding your process is it helps you get your groove on and find your mojo.  If you feel like you’re in a slump, this may be just the map you need.  Make it a project and have fun with it.

How To Find Your Process

Here’s a summary of the key steps:

  • Step 1. Find Your Purpose
  • Step 2. Find Your Why
  • Step 3. Find Your How
  • Step 4. Find Your Values
  • Step 5. Find Your Strengths

If you get stuck, move on to the next item.  It’s iterative and incremental.  To keep moving forward, simply ask yourself what you know, don’t know and need to know next.  Also, thinking on paper helps more than trying to just do it in your head.  Write stuff down so you can play around with it.

Step 1. Find Your Purpose

In this step, you figure out why you’re here.  Simply ask yourself the following question:

  • What’s my purpose in life?

Keep asking yourself until something sticks.  You should have an emotional reaction and it should *feel* right.  It doesn’t have to be perfect.  It doesn’t have to be what you expect.  It just needs to be good enough for now.  If it sounds corny when you say it, then change the words until it works for you.


  • I’m the explorer who paves the path for others.
  • I’m the mentor who helps people live more, laugh more, learn more, love more.
  • I’m the coach who helps make others great.
  • I’m the writer who helps people write their life story.
  • I’m the developer who transforms the world.
  • I’m the musician who makes people feel alive.
  • I’m the poet who makes people think.
  • I’m the researcher who finds the truth.
  • I’m the bridge builder who connects people.
  • I’m the mother who leaves my world a better place than I found it.


  • You have a one-liner way to say your purpose?
  • Your purpose resonates for you?
  • Your purpose is compelling?

Step 2. Find Your Why

In this step you find your Why.  This is about narrowing down on your motivation and key drivers.  Figuring out why you do what you do, helps reinforce your purpose.   It’s the why behind your purpose.  To find your why, ask yourself the following question:

  • Why do you do what you do?

If you can’t distinguish your purpose and your why, it’s fine to consolidate for now.  The key is to know your purpose and know why you care.  If you know why you care, you’ll find it easier to drive your day from your passion as well as find creative ways to bake it into everything you do.


  • Make others great.
  • Share the world’s best patterns and practices for work and life.
  • Lift others up.
  • Change the world.


  • Does it resonate?
  • Does it motivate you?

Additional Resources

Step 3. Find Your How

This really is your core approach or pattern for how you tackle things in life.  The better handle you get on your approach, the more you can leverage it time and again.   Think of it as your personal recipe for results.  The simplest way to find your approach is to examine the highlights in your life where you were at your best and think about your approach in those scenarios.


  1. Get a new perspective.
  2. Create a framework.
  3. Add the exponential.
  4. See results.
  5. Measure satisfaction.


  • You can write your approach down as a small set of steps?
  • When you think through your steps, they resonate?
  • It’s a pattern you’ve used to get results throughout your life?

Additional Resources

Step 4. Find Your Values

In this step you find your top 5 values.   Choose five values that matter the most to you:








Economic Security


Family Happiness





Inner Harmony





Personal Development









Chances are you’ll like a lot of the values.

The key is to narrow it down to the five that are the most vital for you.
The more you can narrow down, the more focus you have on your real priorities in life.
The more you live your values in your day to day, the better you feel.
  • Are they truly YOUR values? 
  • Are they a means or an end?

If one value is simply to accomplish another, then look to the value you want to accomplish.  If you want economic security because you think it leads to freedom, then freedom is the one you value most.  This is important because there’s multiple ways to accomplish a goal and flexibility is key.  Know what you want, but be flexible in your approach.

Additional Resources

Step 5. Find Your Strengths

In this step, you identify your top 5 strengths.  To do so, ask yourself:

  • What are you really good at?
  • What comes naturally for you?
  • What activities make you feel great?


  • Making people smile.
  • Reading a room.
  • Arranging information in new ways.
  • Stepping back and seeing the big picture.
  • Helping people get new perspective on things.
  • Connecting the right people together to solve problems.
  • Taking on big challenges that have a lot of ambiguity.
  • Making order out of chaos.
  • Helping people find their best talents.
  • Focusing on a problem until
  • Coming up with new ideas.
  • Turning ideas into results.


  • You have a list of 5 of your key strengths?
  • Your list of strengths resonates?
  • Your list of strengths makes you feel strong?
  • Your list of strengths show your unique value?

Additional Resources

Tag Line / Motto

Your tag line or motto should be something that reminds you what you do and you find compelling.  It should be easy to say.  Here’s some examples:

  • Crack the nut on human potential.
  • Stand on the shoulders of giants.
  • Make others great.
  • Make the most of what you’ve got.
  • Exponential results for the underdog.

Make it something punchy and precise.


Metaphors can be a simple way to empower yourself.  Choose the metaphors that work for you.  You can find a metaphor for yourself and for life.  Here’s some examples:

  • Metaphors for you:  I’m a lover, I’m a fighter, I’m a healer, I’m a lion, I’m a bull, I’m a warrior, I’m a truth seeker, I’m a mentor, … etc.
  • Metaphors for life:   Life’s a game, life’s a dance, life’s a tragedy, life’s an adventure, life’s a comedy, … etc.

Personal Success Patterns

You have patterns that work for you and patterns that don’t.  All you have to do is flip back through your past experiences and pay attention to what worked and what didn’t.  Look to patterns for thinking, feeling, and doing.  One way to start is to think of your best patterns that have worked for you for:

  • Eating
  • Sleeping
  • Working out
  • Feeling good
  • Dealing with stress

Another way to find your patterns is to find the patterns that don’t work for you and contrast them with patterns that have either worked for you or that might work for you.  It’s easy to find some patterns you may have forgotten about for a long time.


Know thyself.  There’s several lenses you can use to get better perspective on yourself.  Here’s some of the keys:

The more lenses you have the easier it gets to use the right tool for the job and to make sense of things.  A large part of life is making sense of the world.  Remember though, it’s not THE world, it’s YOUR world.  Your world is all the people you know, things you do, experiences you have, and everything else you come across throughout your life.  You’re the ultimate meaning maker for your world, so make the most of what you’ve got.


Map out your process and lead the life you want to live.  You can do it one moment at a time.

It’s living your process that will keep you going and help you make the most of each and every situation.   It’s your personal recipe for results.

Your map is a living document and you can add to it and refine it over your life time.  It will be one of your best tools as you chart your life.

Sail on and soar on, upward bound and forward looking.

Find a way forward.  You always do.  Now you have a better lens for unleashing your best.

You Might Also Like

Living Your Process

Why Do You Do What You Do?

How To Figure Out What You Really Want

Rituals for Results


  1. JD,

    This is the site I have been looking for a long time.
    They are so much value here.
    Thank you for the great jobs you have done.


  2. One of the most comprehensive guides I’ve ever come across for finding your purpose and designing your life around it. Thank you.

  3. Wow, do musicians make people feel alive? That’s cool, I never thought of it that way before.

    I make people feel alive, I make people feel alive! Yay!

    Now to attack those dishes – perchance to whistle as I work.

  4. At first I thought this was about finding your writing process, which only means I think way too much about writing. This is a great exercise; I can imagine psychologists using it because it reminds me of several exercises that I had to do in a psychology course I took in college.

  5. This post is bookmarked and stumbled! This process reminds me of what I am working on to build my brand. I’m working with a marketing coach who is taking me through very similar exercises.

  6. @ Michael

    Thank you. Be sure to test drive the Getting Started on the sidebar to help you find some useful paths through the blog.

    @ Vered

    Thank you. I’m a fan of life by design. It helps give more people a fighting chance 🙂

    @ Positively Present

    Thank you. I think enumerating steps and checkpoints really helps turn insight into action.

    @ Jannie

    It’s great to be a musician. You can write the songs that make the whole world sing.

    @ Melissa

    I actually should write about finding your writing process at some point. I think there’s lots of great patterns and practices to draw from.

    @ Daphne

    Thank you. It took me a few tries to get the sequence right, but I think it’s pretty repeatable now.

    @ Stacey

    Thank you. It sounds like you’re on your path and your values will serve you well.

  7. I like your approach. I think everyone needs to go at these steps in the order it is most comfortable for them, as people may know some of these things already. So if someone knows their values, they can expand upon them and the reasons why and how they could use them, which could ultimately lead them to their purpose.

    ~ Kristi

  8. @ Kikolani

    Thank you. I agree. It’s like unfolding or incrementally rendering a map.

  9. Hi JD

    Wonderful post!

    Two things struck me – in a “light bulb” way:
    The “chain” of values (I might at that your example hit the nail on the head)
    Personal success patters: the concept has always thrown me into a state of “I don’t know”, but your simple examples have cleared the way.

    Why don’t you write a book on this topic?

    Thank you,

  10. @ Juliet

    Thank you. I think a book would be great. I’m still exploring the topic, but meanwhile I’m wrapping up another book. I’ll start sharing some nuggets from my other book soon.

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