I have spent a lot of time recently thinking about what my purpose is.
I am going through a huge transition because ill health is making me totally rethink my life. I have had to start getting very clear on what is possible and what is not. What I want to do, and what I don’t. Who I really am and what makes me, me!
It has struck me that this is not something we do as individuals enough.
We do it at work with our teams, or in our businesses, to be clear about what the team is there for. We do it to write mission statements, corporate plans and strategies.
But, we don’t do it ourselves and we don’t help individuals do this for themselves.
As a result we have people working in roles that don’t fulfil them, don’t bring out the best in them, and, in some cases simply do not suit them. Working in jobs which are in no way connected to their true skills, their values and beliefs. They have no passion for role because it doesn’t chime with them even in part.
I have seen it myself so many times – working in a role that doesn’t suit you makes you ill. It may take time but ultimately if you are in role that you are unsuited to, you will be unhappy, frustrated, often angry, certainly full of negativity.
That is no good for anyone.
Even in the most mundane of jobs you need something that you can feel good about. OK, so expecting to feel passionate about every aspect of your job might be pushing it. But, there has to be something that you love, that gives you satisfaction and which fits with your purpose at that time.
If we don’t know what our purpose is we won’t recognise the parts of the job that do fit. We won’t explore our own possibilities.
Imagine all the untapped potential there must be in the world!
These will be good people, full of great skills and abilities. They will have talents that even they might be unaware of.
What we should be doing is understanding our own purpose. Do you even stop to consider what your purpose is?
It won’t necessarily be the same things throughout your life. It’s not like everyone has some grand calling that they can identify when they are at school and it is their lifelong passion.
Most of us stumble through life taking opportunities as they come up, or pursuing something which we later decide to move away from. That’s fine too, so long as we are not unhappy.
And, lets be honest, most of us have to prioritise money for food and bills over fulfilling our life long dreams.
But, surely we can do both – at least to some extent.
Surely, if we helped individuals, at school, college, and in organisations, to identify their purpose, we could tap into more of their potential?
Roles could be better tailored around the individuals skills. There could be greater acceptance that human beings are not all destined to do well academically. There could be greater recognition that some people are perfectly happy doing their job and doing it well but don’t aspire to do anything else.
Looking back my purpose has always centred around helping people. When I was a receptionist I took great pride in making people feel welcomed, comfortable and important. When I was a Customer Service Officer, I loved making sure that my customers felt that I had done all I could to help them – even the ones who started out angry! As a leader I have always wanted to help those around me by sharing my knowledge and my experiences.
I didn’t recognise this until very recently. It’s only now that I am starting to centre my life around the things that are most important to me. Only in the last 12 months have I come to understand how I can take my purpose in any direction I want.
I wish someone had sat me down 30 years ago and helped me understand my purpose. I have a feeling I would have accomplished even more.