Finding Your Career Purpose
A hot topic in today’s professional landscape is finding a job that aligns with your passions, purpose and values. Covid gave people the space to reflect on what was really important to them and how much their real lives had deviated from their dream lives. So, if you want to find a job that acts as an extension of your most authentic self, you need to start with understanding who you are.
Building self-awareness is a long burn. It requires lots of deep reflection, some uncomfortable truths and also some hard lessons learned. Most of my work today centers around mind-body practices which help professionals find meaning, purpose and emotional fulfillment in their lives. With that in mind, if you learn how to create meaning from your life’s experiences and know how to listen to your intuition, then you can learn to orient yourself towards a life that matches those desires.
To help make this easier, there are a couple of tools I often recommend to clients. First, is the Ikigai tool.
The above is focused on helping you find your purpose. As you can see, a profession can be defined as a mix of what you are good at and what you can be paid for. However, this criterion (which is standard for most professionals today) is incomplete. Consider also, what you love AND what the world needs is key to moving the needle of your life in the right direction. So, some questions you can ask yourself are:
What do I really enjoy doing?
Which activities are natural extensions of me?
What are the skills that I am proficient in and also enjoy using?
Which of those skills am I best able to help others with?
What is the global economy demanding right now?
Is there something new I can learn that can serve a niche or a need?
What kind of work have I done in the past that has really energized me?
What people do I want to serve and work with?
This list of questions is not comprehensive, but they are important to consider. It is going to take time, but it’s a crucial step towards crafting a rewarding career. When you get to try on new clothes, the goal is to see if the clothes fit you, not the other way around. It should be the same with a purpose-driven job hunt. You should be intentional about where you are applying, what kinds of teams you want to work with, and if the company’s vision and mission align with your personal purpose. The below elements should be clear in your mind BEFORE you go job hunting.
Your preferred kinds of people to work with:
Your favorite working conditions:
What I can do and love to do (your favorite transferable skills):
Your goal, purpose, or mission in life:
Your favorite fields of interest or knowledge areas:
The level of responsibility you’d like:
Your preferred salary range:
What kind of purpose or mission does the company have:
Your preferred places to live:
Your preferred geographical factors:
One way to help you find the above answers is through informational interviewing. This is a candidate’s willingness to contact and reach out to current staff members of prospective employers and inquire what it’s like to work there. Get curious about how they feel, what management is like, and what the most challenging and exciting things are about being employed there. Also, websites like Glassdoor are useful for seeing employee reviews of workplaces and getting an idea of what goes on behind the brand.
The other major impediment to taking steps in the right direction towards creating a better career for people is their inability to move past their fear. I have news for everyone. FEAR is always going to be present. Learning to accept this feeling and move ahead with our dreams is SO important. All we need to do is take the first step! The key to really moving past your fear, really shattering limiting beliefs and really building yourself and your business is ACTION. This seems so obvious, so let me explain useful tips that help.
Start! There will never be a perfect time or place. Procrastination, analysis paralysis, etc. just lowers our odds of succeeding. Set yourself up for success by taking the first step. Nothing we do will ever go as planned, and it’s the experience we get from actually doing that helps guide us in new directions and teaches us our major lessons. You won’t land on the right job immediately, but you can think, plan, and move towards that target. No need to overthink it, pace yourself and move bit-by-bit. If you see the job hunt as a massive undertaking, it is not likely to inspire you. Just take it task by task and focus on small milestones.
Volunteer. This is a tremendous opportunity to get involved in activities that give you a sense of purpose. Find areas where your skills can contribute meaningfully and you can make a difference. This will give you an emotional and experiential understanding of what is important to you and what it’s like to engage in meaningful activities.
Go back to your roots. Believe it or not, when we were younger, we had a better idea of what we really enjoyed than now. So many years of teaching, limiting beliefs, and being told what to do crushed our dreams and imbued us with fear. We masked it by making ‘practical’ and ‘secure’ decisions. This doesn’t need to be the case anymore. I am not proposing you drop all comfort and security, but you can intentionally align your life by taking small daily actions towards a life that is more suitable for you. I know dozens of professionals who started a side job or side hustle and after 1-2 years, this became their full-time occupation and income. All the while, they didn’t have to sacrifice the security and stability of their long-time jobs.
People who have a strong sense of purpose know what it feels like. Almost everything they do has clarity, energy, and meaning behind it. There is intrinsic confidence and surety that life is working for them and not against them. There is an internal drive that keeps them going, almost no matter what, and can help produce extraordinary results.
This, in my experience, has led to tremendous transformations personally and professionally. With that in mind, don’t expect too much. Slow and steady and win this race and, as you move in the direction your intuition tells you, slowly but surely you will create more meaning in your life and purpose will emerge.
For more insight on professional and self-development, career coaching, career development, career purpose, career transition check out my website at https://www.repurpose-you.com/