“My boss keeps asking me what my Purpose is,” said Jane who’s been an Executive Assistant for five years. “She wants to know what I’d do if I could do any job and wasn’t her EA. I’m grateful she cares, but it’s making me really anxious because I have no idea. What should I do?”
“How would you score yourself between 1-10 with one being totally ‘off Purpose’ and ten being totally ‘on Purpose’ in your current job?” I ask. Almost too scared to respond, she whispers “Three. Is that bad?”. “No. It just is. Perhaps your boss senses you’re not fulfilled and that you have more to offer the world?” I ventured.
“No doubt, but I love it here and I don’t want to leave this company,” Jane states. Now it’s clear to me that Jane’s anxiety stems from not only from feeling ‘off purpose’ but also the thought that she might actually have to leave her job and company to find it.
Here’s the top ten tips I shared with Jane from my own experiences.
- Take it easy and take the heat off yourself. It’s no big deal if you never find it. The big deal is that you might never give it a go.
- Make time for it. Purpose is a practice, just like yoga. Eliminate the time-wasting activities in your week (ie useless meetings, social media, Netflix) and create the space to explore.
- Start by upping your courage factor and generally being more curious. Do regular (daily or weekly) activities of interest to you that will take you outside your comfort zone and scare you.
- Think less about it, do more and feel more. You only find it by acting on it because we learn best by doing it. Over-thinking it, will kill it.
- If you do find it, just know that it will change (maybe many times). Sometimes our Purpose plans get turned upside down in an instant due to circumstances beyond our control. Hold Purpose lovingly yet lightly.
- You can have multiple Purposes. Don’t limit yourself to just one as it might actually just not be the one!
- Treat finding your Purpose as an adventure rather than a journey or destination. Take the seriousness out of it. Have fun with it. Test it. Prototype it.
- Set yourself a challenging project with a vision and timeframe to test it (at least 6-12 months). Be sure to have some worthwhile measures and hurdles to test your resilience.
- It’s most likely not your Purpose if you’d only do it if you’re being paid for it. Your Purpose doesn’t need to make you money.
- Pursue your Purpose at work starting right where you are, right now. Purpose is an inside-out self-leadership job, not something you need to wait for your leaders to permit or mandate.
There are millions of employees across the world just like Jane who desire meaning and Purpose in their work. The tragedy lies not in the fact that Jane might not find her Purpose but that she might just never give it a go and have fun in the process.
Is this you? If so, reach out to me. I can help your company fast-track personal Purpose at work with The Purpose Project Special Offer.