Your Path to Purpose

03/19/2015 09:08 am ET | Updated May 19, 2015

I wondered this week if I would rather live or die.

I had a beast of a case of the flu, and it took me down. It's been so long since I had so much as a sniffle, no one around me knew how to act.

I warned my kids before I arrived home from a trip to L.A. that I wasn't feeling well, but I don't think they expected me to actually look sick. Michael, my youngest, looked at me with the most serious eyes, held my hand, and said... "Mom, tell me the truth; do you have Ebola?" As sick as I felt, it took everything in me not to burst into laughter.

Then he said, "I'm putting you to bed." And he took me upstairs, and tucked me in, and kissed my forehead before leaving the room. It really was adorable.

I knew I had a free pass. No one would expect much of me, but it was truly hard for me to shut down.

I knew I had to, and I did... mostly. But here's the deal: I love what I do, and my sense of purpose runs through my veins in such a way that I can't stop doing what I do no matter how hard I try. I'm totally committed to achieving my vision. Nothing can derail me. Not even the flu.

As I lay in bed -- trying not to work, but occasionally cheating -- I thought about how grateful I am that I found my purpose, because I know for so many it's a challenge. I started to think back, and wonder:

How do you find your purpose?

Identifying a life purpose is a struggle almost every adult goes through. Finding the answer isn't an easy road, but it may be one of the most important discoveries you'll ever make in your lifetime.

To find your purpose, you first have to ask yourself these questions:

1) Everything that's worthwhile in life involves a cost. So in your quest to find your purpose, you have to ask yourself this question straight up: How much struggle and sacrifice are you willing to tolerate? Are you willing to handle failure and rejection, and endure hard work and a long wait before you are able to have balance in your life? Also, ask yourself: What unpleasant experiences are you able to handle? Are you able to fall on your face over and over again until you get it right? Decide this, because at some point you will be faced with this decision: Do I keep going?

2) Will you allow social or professional pressures to squeeze the passion out of you? What if no one in your life quite understands your vision, validates it, or rewards it with money? Will you still show up and do what you are put on this earth to do? Will you have blind faith?

3) Are you willing to embarrass yourself and be totally vulnerable? Here's a fact: When great things unfold, by their very nature they are unique and unconventional. Therefore, to achieve them, we must go against herd mentality -- and this is some scary stuff. I've puked my fair share over this, but let me say this to you with love:

Get. Over. It.

When you do your best, and you give something every bit of your creativity and power, then who gives a fig what others think or say about you? Embrace embarrassment. Push past it. Feeling foolish and even afraid is part of the deal, my friend. The more something scares you, the more meaningful it is. Fear is a big "tell" that you are on your path to purpose.

4) Here is something critical to understand: Passion is the result of action, not the cause of it. Finding your passion is a trial-and-error process. Are you willing to hit the trail and find it?

Ask yourself: If someone stuck a gun to your head and said you had to be out of the house all day doing something you love -- anything you want -- what would it be? Would you write something, invent something, take a class, dance, travel, learn to sail?

Also, think deeply about this: What vision is bigger than yourself? For me, it's transforming people from overweight and ill to slim and healthy. For you, it may be starting your own business, creating works of art, or becoming a world-class chef. To find out, you need to get out of your head and into your heart.

5) Life's short, and we are here to do something magnificent. So ask yourself: What do you want your legacy to be? What do you have to say in life? Work backwards. Thinking about death may have a touch of freak to it, but it actually has value because it forces us to think of what's important to us.

Your purpose in life is bigger than any single goal -- it's your reason for being on the planet. You may have more than one purpose, and your purpose may evolve over time, but it's basically your reason for existence. So it's worth discovering.

I promise you -- it's out there.

- Dr. Kellyann