How to Find Purpose In Your Day to Day Work
People tend to define themselves, and be socially defined, by their work. It’s why at social gatherings, talk often turns to inquiries about one’s occupation. The problem arises when we don’t like the definition. When our definition of self begins to feel too one-dimensional,
lacking in significance or we sense we are not living up to our potential, we begin hungering to redefine who we are and what we’ve become.
Discovering your purpose and putting it to work in your work is how you can take back control. The truth is, work does not define you: You define your work and how it serves your higher-order purpose. Stop, reflect and articulate what your higher-order purpose is and how your
work can be recast to serve that end.
When you are operating with a clear purpose, you understand and accept why you are working so hard and spending so many hours away from loved ones, friends and family — you can see and sense the higher-order end your efforts feed into. You know why what you do matters. Purpose integrates who we are with what we do. It’s not about the money; it’s about the meaning. It’s about purpose, not perks.
Even if you can already clearly articulate your own purpose, the idea is to learn the steps on the Path to Purpose for yourself so that you are equipped to help your employees discover and articulate their purpose.Here are a few steps to guide you to the path to purpose:
Step 1. Change the Equation: Disappointment and dissatisfaction often result from a gap between an ideal and reality. Happiness = Reality – Expectations. As disengagement
and resignation settle in, expectations of the role work can play in the fulfillment in one’s life are lowered in an attempt to at least make the happiness quotient less negative.
Rewrite the happiness equation: Happiness = Reality + Expectations. New heights should be set for the happiness quotient. Reality at work should be vastly improved by pursuing purpose and meaning-rich work with vigor. This formula replaces the vicious cycle with a virtuous cycle.
Step 2. Change Your Questions: Once you start asking yourself more introspective life questions, you find that what holds meaning for you may have nothing to do with your long-held beliefs about what constitutes success. Once you start asking these questions, you are on your way to exonerating yourself from one of the greatest self-crimes one can ever commit: leaving purpose buried within.
Step 3. Put the “Me” in Meaning: You have to resist the temptation to compare yourself to others, when answering introspective questions. What you assign significance
to, what truly matters, is highly personal and should not be defined by others’ perceptions.
Step 4. Conduct an inner interview: What are your superpowers — the strengths that you can use, like a superhero, to do good for others? What are your values and beliefs? Staying true to what you believe in is a source of great strength. The same power source can provide clues
about what your purpose might be. What would you do for free? What are you doing when you lose track of time? What do you daydream about? What part of you is not showing up at work? What does the world need more of that you are well suited to serve? What would coworkers
miss if you weren’t there? What would people say you were meant to do?
Step 5. Commit to something greater than yourself: You have to commit to producing good for others as part of your purpose. Committing to something greater than yourself means making sacrifices, forgoing taking credit and setting aside personal gain. The greatest level of
sustained performance over time comes when we strive to reach our personal fullest potential and truly commit to a good greater than ourselves.
Step 6. State your purpose: Writing something down increases compliance, so boil down the purpose you have worked to identify into a crisp sentence or two. This will also sharpen your thinking about what you are committing to. Keep your purpose statement front and center
constantly. What is the verb of your purpose statement? Are you creating, unlocking, bringing, helping, stirring, championing? The choice of verb ensures your purpose statement is inspiring, action oriented and actionable — for you.
A leader can bring a sense of purpose to an organization by ensuring that each and every person understands how his or her work specifically ties to the broader mission. Enabling comprehension of mission can provide a surge of meaning (and performance). A sense of purpose and deep significance can also come when we ask ourselves what the work itself really means, who our work serves and how the work is done