Do you wake up every morning feeling... you're not enough? That you're not... doing enough? Then you fall back into bed, exhausted from wondering what that inadequacy is and if it's worth finding out at all?
That feeling of inadequacy, that void is your sense of purpose. The good news is, you have an urge to find your sense of purpose. The bad news? You can't quite put a finger on what it is.
So what then? So what If you found that sense of purpose?
Well, first off! When you find it, you fill that void in your life. You find your role and responsibility in a huge organisation we all play a part in called, World Inc. Once and when we accept that responsibility of the role given to you (by you), you find meaning that fuels your everyday.
Secondly, at World Inc, you get paid a lump sum. Thereafter you get paid on a periodic basis if you find a value add to a sub organisation (workplace). What's that lump sum you ask? Your life. You were given life. Without a sense of purpose or with a misguided one, we lead a life of zombie-ness. Going through the motion, becoming slackers of World Inc organisation. Getting paid, to do nothing much and after having gotten paid so much.
Let's be fair though, most of us spend the first quarter of our lives, studying and having youthful fun. Most parents, education systems and societies tell us, study hard, find a good job, get married, have kids then die. We were cultivated into filling a void. A void in a huge factory, making our lives part of a repetitive, mundane motion.
But let's skip the mambo jumbo whining about our baby boomer parents, the flawed education system or the societies at large for labelling us by our ethnicities, race, country origin, etc. You know why? Sense of purpose comes from within. You need to sense your purpose, nobody else can tell you what gives meaning to your life and what your sense of purpose is.
Our sense of purpose is driven by pain or pleasure. Essentially, to avoid pain and to gain pleasure. Interestingly, we, humans are designed to a miraculous pendulum swing of strengths and flaws. On one hand, we have the natural ability to learn and seek improvement to gain pleasure or avoid pain but we are equally capable of being stagnant and doing the same thing over and over again if we find ourselves in that sweet spot of manageable pain and some pleasure, that's where life becomes a purposeless motion.
As I've mentioned in my first post, we spend 70% of our time at work. So let's start with how we can find our sense of purpose to fuel ourselves there. You were hired to perform a particular role but I choose not to believe that any sane manager or CEO would deny you creating projects within or outside your department that fuels you and helps the organisation one way or another.
Side note: It's equally important to find your sense of purpose before you think of finding another company or starting out on your own. More crucial for the latter because for starters, you will be all alone.
What gives you meaning at work?
This is a wide topic but let's not be discouraged or paralysed by the magnitude of searching for answers. Let's break it down. Try to answer these questions...
- What was the last thing you did that gave you a sense of achievement? No matter how small or big.
- Was it completing a project that brought about improvement in a certain area?
- Was it not keeping quiet about an unfair treatment of a fellow colleague or being vocal about a point that the team is missing out. Example, focusing on sales but not customer satisfaction
- Forming a community to plan activities for the company to create camaraderie because you know believe great teams don't just work together but have fun together?
- Was it helping a fellow colleague when they are facing difficulties in their work?
- Was it closing that difficult customer who didn't believe in your product but you know they do.
- What was the last thing that made you smile from your heart? We all love something, it's easy to find out what it is because the people and things we love make us smile unknowingly.
- Was it becoming the reason somebody smiles?
- Was it convincing your colleague to understand your perspective?
- Was it opening up your heart and mind to see a colleague's perspective?
- Was it convincing your boss to say 'YES!'?
Sensing your purpose at work and life takes a lot of experiment. Begin with ask yourself questions about what makes you happy and what makes you unhappy. Retrace your steps and recreate scenarios where you feel happiness or sense of achievement. Similarly, things or scenarios that does the opposite, reduce them, avoid them. Slowly, but surely finding meaning in what you do day to day at work or outside. Some day, you will know what your sense of purpose is.
Share your thoughts! Comment below, how you discovered your sense of purpose at work or difficulties you have discovering it. Let's start a discussion and see where it gets us.
Thank your for your time, hope you enjoyed it and start your journey in discovering and when you do, never forgetting your sense of purpose.