What is Purpose?
Purpose is a sense of meaning in what you do. People feel that their job has purpose when it makes a difference in people’s lives, and they find the work meaningful .
But Purpose goes beyond your job description – sometimes it can be found in surprising places.
What Are The Benefits Of Having A Sense Of Purpose?
Purpose drives engagement , which leads to loyalty and performance (and fun!)
Your life will have more focus, with a clearer understanding of why you are doing what you are doing and whether or not it matters to you. You’ll have increased motivation, with less wasted time and effort. You’ll get better results from your efforts because you’re working on something that means something to you. Your moods will be more stable and your outlook will be brighter because you’re working on something that has deeper meaning to you.
You’ll also have the rare privilege of being able to help others find or rediscover their own sense of purpose. Feeling a sense of purpose in life is one of the most fulfilling things for people (even for “workaholics”). And as far as I know, it’s the only thing that is really worth doing.
What Are Some Examples?
Some examples from my own experience: If you enjoy leading your team but don’t feel like they are engaged with your efforts, maybe there’s a way to find some new ways of motivating them. Would it be fun for them to work on ways to improve the lives of your customers?
If you enjoy developing your team but find that things aren’t moving as quickly as they could, maybe there’s a way of communicating your vision more clearly and inspiring them.
If you like providing great customer service but feel like your efforts are not having much impact, maybe there’s a way of getting more honest feedback in from them. (And if it isn’t actually about the what you’re doing in its current form, how can that be addressed?)
How Can You Bring More Purpose To Your Work?
We live in an age where more and more aspects of work and life are being defined by technology . In particular, we can now easily connect with one another globally using modern technologies such as phones, computers, social media applications (such as Skype), even video games!
As a result: The definition of “work” is changing – employees are moving away from simple 9-5 jobs toward more flexible schedules. Your coworkers might be scattered around the world instead of just in the next office. People are starting businesses and freelancing more than ever before.
You might be thinking, “Is this relevant for me?” The answer is YES! Most of these changes apply even if you work at a traditional company where the way things get done hasn’t changed much. Regardless of your job role or industry, there will always be opportunities to find or make more purpose in what you do. I’m not aware of any companies that have banned finding purpose in your work…
But not everything is better. In many ways we’ve taken a big step backwards from earlier times: thanks to technology, people can chat online all day long but they aren’t as likely to get together with coworkers after work; people can work from home and get more done, but they don’t have the same sense of accountability to be productive. Some people even feel that with all these new opportunities for online connection, it’s become harder to make real-life connections in their company or community!
The result is that some people are feeling disconnected . In many ways you can see this as a lack of purpose since we’re coming up with less ways to connect meaningfully in our work off hours. I personally think lack of purpose (and subsequent disconnection) is the root cause behind many things wrong with society today.
If you feel valued and appreciated at work, you are more likely to be happy with your life and your choices. I think that’s important. In fact, it seems like the most fulfilling things for people (even for “workaholics”). And as far as I know, it’s the only thing that is really worth doing.
The crisis of disengagement:
The more disconnected we become from one another, the more the negative consequences of that disengagement can hurt us. For example, this might happen to you and your team: You find out that morale is low after you ask around for feedback; or somebody quits and nobody cares enough to try and help them find a new job. Or maybe there’s no communication between employees on different teams…!
These are all signs that people simply aren’t as engaged in their work as they could be. From what I’ve seen in my career it often stems from feeling like whatever I’m doing isn’t important or meaningful . In other words – if it feels like everything going on is just some game where nothing really counts, then why should I get out of bed in the morning?
It’s hard to see people disengaging and not feel helpless. You might have tried some things but they haven’t changed anything or you just don’t know what else to do… Maybe it feels like you can never “fix” this problem; that there’s no way to re-engage your team again. Your options seem limited. But I’m here to tell you that: It is possible for people to reconnect with their work if they feel like it has a purpose! There are ways to solve this problem, and many other workplace problems too…. even if morale is really low right now, or you think nothing will ever change…. All it takes is a bit of creativity and a willingness to try something new !
Sometimes people on your team just need a reminder of why they’re there – because when people feel like their purpose is clear, they’ll be much more engaged. For example, you might have seen that it’s easy to be creative if you have an idea of what problems you want to solve at the end! If there are some things you’d like your team to accomplish as a group, this will also help give people a sense of purpose. See the class “How To Develop A Shared Vision” for more about this…. It’s important that everyone know where we’re going with our work so that others can join in and keep us accountable . (like with any kind of goal)
The magic of the mundane:
It can be hard to find purpose in a job, but if you do it will make your work much more meaningful . And then what happens is pretty magical – as you take one step at a time towards making your purpose, day by day , it will feel more fun !
It’s not easy to figure out the best way to get there; maybe you’ve tried something already or don’t know where to start…. But that’s why I’m here to give you some ideas on how to do things differently. You’ll learn a few different approaches, techniques and tools for finding purpose, hope, and happiness in your work.
Disengagement is a real issue in many workplaces today, and there are ways to help your people reconnect – if only they knew how ! It’s possible for people to start feeling more connected with their work again; you might be surprised at what happens when you re-engage your team…! You can help your employees feel like their purpose has meaning , and give them a sense of hope by connecting their work more clearly with the rest of their lives .
Here’s what I know for sure: You are not alone if you’re having problems with purpose at work ! Your sense of meaning will be affected when people don’t feel like they understand why they do things, so it’s important to get the whole group thinking about this…. We need to help our teams discover their sense of purpose by keeping them interested – because without enthusiasm and engagement , it can be hard to stay motivated. It’s really important to remember that this process is never-ending . There will always be new things to learn about our work and the people we work with .
It’s a process that never ends; if you don’t keep learning, you’ll be stuck in old ways of doing things. This is why it’s important to connect your life and your work on purpose: because it can help you stay enthusiastic about what you do…!
I’ve found all kinds of different ideas come together when you try to find meaning in your work – so let me make one thing clear: I’m not saying you have to do anything differently than you already are . You don’t need any fancy tools or new processes , you just need to be able to talk about this stuff… And if that helps open some more doors for you, then great ! But we’re going to look at ways to get engaged – even if things already feel okay now – because it always helps people learn better when they can connect with why they’re doing things….
The main thing we’re going to try to do is give you a new way of thinking about things – so if nothing else, I hope this class will open your eyes to ideas you might not have considered before, and that it’ll get you talking about these ideas with other people at work .
Purpose in a transactional world
We’ve all heard it said that – if you’re not growing, you’re dying . Well the same holds true for our purpose at work: If people don’t feel like they’re learning and growing , then they’ll start thinking about why they do things. Your employees might think about what your business stands for, or how their life is connected to your organization’s goals… And when people have a chance to ask these questions, some of them will start wondering why they bother doing any of this stuff at all.
I’m going to try to give you some ideas for making sure everyone on your team feels like their growth matters every day…. The key principle I want you to keep in mind is this idea of human energy: I think people do their best work when they feel like they’re constantly learning and growing from the experiences they have in life.
We all need a source of energy to keep doing our work – no matter how hard we try, there will always be times when it gets hard to stay focused… But as long as things are still fun , your employees can get through those difficult periods without much trouble. And if they’ve got sources of motivation and energy from outside of work, it might even help them do better at work!
The problem comes when things seem stale or meaningless… That’s when you’ll start noticing your employees downshifting into neutral . And that’s not good for anyone…. So let me show you some ways to keep your workplace from feeling stale or pointless… And how you can help people see that your business means something .
Remember – I’m not saying everyone needs to do this stuff ! If it’s working for you , then why change? But if you feel like you could use some new ideas, then let me show you what I’ve learned…. These are a few simple things I think any manager or leader can do to keep their team engaged with the work they’re doing.
10 tips and ideas to help you find meaning and purpose in your work
- Focus on helping people, not making money. If you focus on the money, your business will never be about anything else.
- Stop worrying about what other businesses are doing; it’s too late anyway! You can’t copy another person or company’s idea and make it work because circumstances are different in every location, community, and market segment – no two businesses have exactly the same context. And even if you somehow managed to clone someone else’s business idea word-for-word (which could land you in jail), chances are someone else is thinking of doing the exact same thing. There’s no such thing as a new idea, just like there’s no such thing as an original song! The world has 6 billion people in it – someone will always be working on a similar concept to you at around the same time.
- Focus on doing what you love, not making money. This is one of my favorite quotes from Marcus Aurelius: “The person who loves practice without theory is like the miller who gets produce without sowing.” Everything we do should have some kind of meaning behind it. If your work doesn’t bring value to someone else or make this world better in some small way, then why are you even doing it? Even if something brings in big bucks now, what do you think will happen if you decide to stop doing it? You’re just going to end up starting new stuff that doesn’t mean much of anything – and that’s not sustainable. Or, maybe one day you’ll want to try something else but because your company is all about making money, it won’t be able to let go.
- Don’t copy other people; make your own style. What makes Michael Jordan so great? Could he have been the same athlete if he was born in another country with a completely different culture, or raised by parents who did things in a different way? Of course not! Sure, there are some universal principles for success in life and business – honesty, integrity, hard work etc… But as far as your business is concerned, you have to make it all up from scratch.
- Your dream job doesn’t exist yet – so go create it! Do something people don’t see value in that needs doing anyway and then turn it into a real business. But don’t expect someone else to hand you a check for creating this new thing; work hard at growing your own dream company. Here’s an interesting article on how to start an online business from scratch: The Easiest Way To Start An Online Business
- Don’t pay attention to the latest marketing trends or what’s working for other companies right now; just ask yourself who you’re trying to serve and what they need, then get busy meeting their needs! Trying to keep up with what’s hot and new in marketing is like chasing the latest fad diet; it’s a waste of time and energy.
- Don’t give up your day job! Yes, I’ve made my living as an entrepreneur for years but right now my main focus is on writing while I work on growing my blog into something bigger through guest posting, creating content upgrades etc… (and hopefully one day making this a full time business). If you’re counting on the income from your own company then don’t quit until you can afford to – that way you won’t have any regrets later when things aren’t going as planned. But if you hate working at someone else’s company, take action immediately so that even if you fail, you’ll have nothing to regret.
- Don’t be afraid to take risks – if the worst-case scenario happens then just revert back to what you’re doing today. Or if something really does go wrong remember that this just means it’s time for a pivot; don’t let it get you down!
- Do everything yourself! If your company is going to grow into something big and sustainable, then take complete control by handling all the different functions involved in running a business yourself instead of outsourcing them as soon as possible. That way when problems arise on your side business (which they will), no one else can blame themselves or make excuses: you’ve had ultimate responsibility from day one and therefore the ability to fix any problems in a timely manner.
- Don’t give up – it’s not over until you say it is! Like I said before, if your company fails then just work hard to make sure the next one succeeds… that way even if you fail twice, at least you tried and won’t have any regrets. There is amazing power in not giving up no matter what happens and always coming back for more… so don’t be shy about charging ahead towards reaching your ultimate goal of financial freedom!
I can tell you this from personal experience… No matter how much money I’ve made or how “successful” my company is, the most important thing to me is still writing and making a difference in people’s lives – and if one day that means having to quit my business so I can focus 100% of my time and energy on that, well then so be it! Maybe those “dream jobs” are out there right now but you just have to keep going until you find them. And sometimes things don’t turn out like we expect (whether we’re talking about our careers or our relationships) but it doesn’t mean they didn’t work out for the best – all we need is to be patient and keep working towards our goal.
Perhaps there isn’t a “perfect” job or place for you in this world – at least not right now. But you can always create your own perfect situation by taking total responsibility for finding the perfect career, location, partner etc… so go make it happen!
So whatever you do, don’t let the pain get in the way of your dream. And if it does, then keep working until you’ve found a way to make things easier on yourself – it’s called “hard work” for a reason!
I’ll leave you with one final thought:
We all have our own personal, unique dreams and no two people are going to experience the exact same situation in their lives… but we also all share similar problems along the way. So my advice is not only based on my own experiences or what I think others will face in the future; instead it comes from looking at life as an artist (whether that means painting or writing) because ultimately what’s true for one creator will be true for all creators.
So go create something amazing today and always remember: Your talent is God given; your discipline must come from you!