How Focusing on a Purpose Raises Self-Esteem

by | Oct 11, 2020 | Trend

One of my favorite books of all time is Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl. In it, Frankl stresses the importance of pursuing purpose in your life. He writes: 

“What man [or woman or nonbinary person] actually needs is not a tensionless state but rather the striving and struggling for a worthwhile goal, a freely chosen task. What he needs is not the discharge of tension at any cost but the call of a potential meaning waiting to be fulfilled by him.” 

In other words, in order to feel happy, you must make it your mission to pursue meaning in your life. Your self-esteem is directly affected by your pursuit of purpose, which in turn aligns with your pursuit of happiness. 

So how do you use purpose to raise your self-esteem? 

The answer is FOCUS

Like Will Smith here, pick one thing and zoom in on it. Pour your focused energy into that thing. I’ve created an acronym that will help you use FOCUS on your journey to higher self-esteem. 

No matter who you are or what your background is, your usage of resilience has probably increased quite a bit over the past few months. Let’s examine the different types of resilience we use during our lives, using some of the data from the work by researchers at the Resilience Program at Penn University. 


  • What is one thing that you wish to improve, contribute, or learn? (Hint: It’s probably the thing that scares you…)

  • Your self-doubt may try to tell you that your efforts are going to lead to failure. Don’t listen to that doubt. And do it anyway. 

  • When you’re challenging yourself, you’re creating space for purpose to enter your life. 


  • Schedule time on your calendar for your new project, goal, lessons etc. 

  • This new focus should be treated like a work goal with a deadline (prioritize and make the time for it!) 

  • Don’t get caught up too much in perfecting the learning process, make more time for doing. 


  • If you’re struggling, seek out support from friends, family, or a therapist. You don’t have to do this alone. 

  • Share this new challenge with others to help hold yourself accountable. 

  • No one does anything worth doing completely alone. Use your network to propel yourself forward. 


    • What are you already passionate, skilled, or excited about? Expand on it and find a reason to get better at it! 

    • Amplify your focus with resources you have available to you. 

    • Raise your self-esteem by using the strengths you already possess. Remind yourself of that which is already working well within you.


  • Give yourself due dates throughout the journey. (You don’t have to give it an end date if it is something long term or a lifestyle change, but steps are necessary.) 

  • Remind yourself of your purpose throughout the process to reinforce sticking with it. Like Frankl said, meaning is often found when we are struggling and striving. 

  • You can always improve or learn more. Boredom will make you feel stagnant and low. So keep sticking with it and find more creative ways to grow! 

In a time like today when so many people are jobless, depressed, lonely…it comes as no surprise that self-esteem levels are incredibly low. You may think that the way to raise self-esteem is through tangible or at least measurable goals (e.g. the next promotion, the good looking spouse, the 15 pound weight-loss)…But as we all know, many times you get all those things and still find that your self-esteem is low. That’s why it isn’t only about the results. It’s about finding a purpose to focus on. This will elevate your self-esteem and make you a happier being! 


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