Close your eyes, sit quietly and ask yourself, “What is my purpose? Why do I do what I do? How do I help others?”
Answering the questions above requires a great sense of self-awareness. Who are you and what are your strengths? How can your strengths help others?
In Noble Purpose by William Damon, purpose is defined as, “A stable and generalized intention to accomplish something both meaningful to the self and of consequence to the world beyond the self.” Damon explains that a noble purpose can be heroic but is more commonly found in the day-to-day fabric of ordinary existence.
Your purpose is your WHY. It is what keeps pulling you forward in life. When we live purposefully, we know what we want to accomplish and why we are taking the steps we are taking.
In The Path to Purpose, William Damon defines the three alternatives in how we may be living: in a disengaged drift without a passion beyond enjoyment, dreaming without a realistic plan, or dabbling without a sustained commitment.
Where are you in your journey for purpose?
Do you go to work simply to get paid? Are you looking at your profession with an idea of growth and promotion? Or, do you feel pulled and committed to work in order to make in difference in the world?
Do you find yourself with a job, a career or a calling?
A study published in The Journal of Research and Personality by Amy Wrzesniewski called “Jobs, Careers, and Callings: People’s Relations to Their Work” found that the three dimensions were represented in various occupations. The study looked at different professions, but when it narrowed the scope to administrative assistants, it found that of 24 participants, nine found it to be a job, seven saw it as a career, and eight felt it was a calling.
It is our disposition that generates how we feel toward our work, and our disposition is under our control. In Authentic Happiness, Martin Seligam says, “Any job can become a calling, and any calling can become a job. A physician who views his work as a Job is simply interested in making a good income and does not have a Calling, while a garbage collector who sees the work as making the world a cleaner, healthier place could have a Calling.”
Start by evaluating your life. Look at your strengths and define how you want and can give back. Make sure to write all of this down. (Writing slows the stream of thoughts and allows you to truly listen to yourself.)
What are my five greatest strengths?
How do I use my strengths in everyday life?
Formulate your purpose and, from there, write down a mission statement for work and allow your mission statement to be flexible over time. Brian Johnson says, “Our purpose is the same, but our missions are many.”
Seligam says, “If you can find a way to use your signature strengths at work often, and also see your work as contributing to the greater good, you have a calling.”
Finding purpose in your everyday life brings about greater joy. Working fulltime is a significant chunk of your life. We aren’t going to argue with the reality that for the vast majority of us, we must work to fulfill our needs. We get ONE life. Don’t just wait for the weekend to LIVE. Use and show off your strengths in your life, enjoy the journey, and live with purpose!
Natalia Foote is the owner of threeR, a company bringing mindfulness, meditation and yoga practices to the workplace. Her mission in life is spreading love and light in the world. When not spending time with her family, you can find Natalia taking and teaching yoga all around Lake Nona.