How to Find Purpose in Your Work & Life

Posted on December 13, 2018 by in Business | 7 comments

How to Find Purpose in Your Work & Life

When people talk about having a purpose in your professional or personal life, they often sound like a self-help book. However, having a purpose in your work and life can help you become more motivated and push you to go above and beyond. In this article, we’ll talk about why we need goals to drive us and go over a few tips to help you find a purpose.

Let’s get into it!

Why We Need ‘Goals’ to Drive Us

When we talk about ‘finding your purpose’, we’re referring to an overarching goal that drives you. This can be anything, such as reaching the top of your company or even raising a family. Whatever your goal may be, the idea is that having something to aim for will help you put your best foot forward day after day. For example, finding your purpose can help you:

  • Feel more motivated since you’re working towards a concrete goal.
  • Gain a sense of meaning and fulfillment.
  • Have more energy, especially if your purpose is something you’re passionate about.

If you’re anything like us, you’ve probably gone through periods of your life when you felt aimless and didn’t know what to do with yourself. For a lot of people, that happens because they don’t know what career path they want to follow, as careers often give us purpose. However, this naturally only applies if you’re passionate about your field. Your passions and purpose may lie somewhere different entirely.

Regardless, if you don’t have a purpose it can be hard to get out of bed each morning and get through the day. If you feel like you’re floundering, it may be time to sit down and consider what you want your purpose to be or if the goals you’re pursuing at the moment are right for you.

4 Tips for Finding Your Purpose

Sitting down and thinking about what you want to achieve with your life can seem easy in theory. However, if it were that simple, everyone would be much happier. With that in mind, let’s try to approach the question methodically.

1. Make a List of Everything You’re Passionate About

Most of us have plenty of passions, whether it’s a love of music, movies, comic books, or even crunching numbers. These are a great starting point when it comes to finding your purpose.

For example, if there’s nothing in life that makes you feel as good as running. You might task yourself with becoming a faster or more persevering runner. That doesn’t mean you have to challenge Usain Bolt either. It could just be that you want to improve your skills for your own sake.

Working with something you already care about is important as chances are you’ll burn out if your heart isn’t in it. With that in mind, take a little time to make a list of all the things you’re passionate about.

Once you have a list, you need to ask yourself three questions:

  1. Is there something here I enjoy above everything else?
  2. Is this something I can pursue and find meaning in?
  3. How would I go about pursuing this passion?

Regarding the last point, let’s look at an example. Imagine that you’re a fan of comic books, but you don’t feel a passion for writing or drawing. You could still pursue this in other ways, such as collecting rare issues, or even seeking out a job in publishing or comic book sales. There is usually some way you can turn a hobby or passion into something purposeful, whether it’s on a personal or professional level.

2. Find Ways to Devote Your Time to That Purpose

You may know exactly what you want from life, but that doesn’t mean you’re automatically going to be proactive in pursuing it. In other words, many of us simply don’t make enough time for it because of other commitments or even just due making to excuses.

If you’re lucky enough to have found meaning in your personal or work life, it’s also important that you act on it. For example, if your goal is to make it to the top of the corporate ladder, then you’ll probably need to put in more time and effort than anyone else in your office.

Finding ways to devote time to your purpose will vary depending on what it is. However, there are some skills you can practice that will make finding that time simple, including these two:

  1. Saying no when it counts so that you can make better use of your time.
  2. Exercising self-discipline so you can be more productive.

You’d be surprised at how many people have a hard time putting those two skills into action, both in and out of the workplace. If you can master them, then fulfilling your goals should become much more straightforward.

3. Connect With Like-Minded People

If you’re passionate about pursuing music as a hobby or a career, you probably wouldn’t want to surround yourself exclusively with people that hate a good tune. The same goes for any other passion you wish to pursue. If you’re going to be in the right headspace to achieve what you want, it often helps to connect with other people that share the same goals.

If we’re talking about pursuing a passion out of the office, your best bet is to look for local groups that focus on what you want to do. You’d be surprised at how easy it is to find that type of community for pretty much any hobby you have, even if it’s incredibly niche. Regardless of the subject matter, there’s always likely to be an online community where you can meet people with the same interests.

As for connecting with like-minded people within the office, it can be a bit tougher. You may simply want to get to know your co-workers as this can help you create stronger personal and professional connection. You could even end up finding that some share your goals, at which point you can work together, by holding each other accountable if you’re not making progress. This can be just the boost you need!

4. Keep Your Mind Open to New Interests

When you were little, your purpose in life might have been to collect every single Pokémon. However, as we grow, our purpose and goals shift, as our priorities usually evolve.

For example, for a lot of ‘grown-ups’, our primary purpose is to take care of our families. However, that doesn’t mean that you can only have a single purpose or goal in life. What’s more important, you need to keep your mind open to new interests, even as you grow older.

In fact, you might discover a passion you didn’t know you had until much later in life. When that happens, it’s easy to ignore it because you think you’ve lost the opportunity to pursue it, but this doesn’t have to be the case.

Sure, it might be impossible to become a world-class athlete unless you’re still young. However, you can still find other ways to follow that passion. In most cases, all you have to do is devote time to it, and that can be enough to live a fulfilling life.

Conclusion

For a lot of people, their purpose in life is to pursue something they’re passionate about. Maybe you want to climb to the top of the corporate ladder, raise a happy family, or write the next big American novel. All of those are commendable purposes, and if you can figure out what yours is, you’ll be one step closer to a more fulfilling life.

As for how to find purpose in your work and life, here are four tips to set you on the right path:

  1. Make a list of everything you’re passionate about.
  2. Find ways to devote your time to that purpose.
  3. Look for other people that share your goals.
  4. Keep your mind open to new interests.

Have you ever had doubts about what your purpose in work or life is? Share your stories with us in the comments section below!

Article thumbnail image by Stock_VectorSale / shutterstock.com

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7 Comments

  1. Nice article, Finding your purpose isn’t something that can be done in a few days, weeks or month. It can be a lifelong journey, and it can only be done one step at a time.

    You also might find that your purpose changes over time. Perhaps, you liked working with animals in your youth but now you want to join forces with a cause who fights human trafficking. You can definitely have more than one purpose, too.

    We spend a lot of time at work. The average person spends 90,000 hours at work in their lifetime, yet if you believe the majority of the research out there only 33% of workers are engaged. That means a full two-thirds of the workforce has the opportunity to be more motivated, more empowered and more satisfied every day, and that is entirely believable.

    purpose can be a matter of life and death.

    As Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl wrote in Man’s Search for Meaning, “Life is never made unbearable by circumstances, but only by lack of meaning and purpose.” Purpose is something we do or something we create — not something we buy, inherit or achieve.

    Purpose could be any direction in which we’re heading with some degree of intention.

    It’s a far-reaching, steady goal, something personally meaningful and self-transcending that, ideally, shows up in our lives every day.

    • This is a great comment! Another way to look at it is that happiness and circumstance are transitional life elements, while meaning and purpose are the immutable aspects of what drives us to dream, explore, and ultimately, succeed.

      • Well, done, both of you and thanks. -Patty

  2. Thank you for adding these “soft skill” topics to the blog. I find them very refreshing and useful to blend with the technical information.

  3. A blog post like this is always interesting and adds value to the platform of ET and also personal lives! Thanks for sharing John.

    • No problem, Jack – glad you enjoyed it!

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