To get excited about what you’re doing, you need to know why you’re doing it.
Make sense. But the purpose of what we’re up to is something we often forget about, especially when it comes to work.
If you’re feeling bored and blah about your job, this might be why – and figuring out your personal purpose might be the fix.
This doesn’t apply to truly awful jobs, of course. There’s a very big difference between absolutely dreading going to work every day and just feeling a bit meh, and if your job is causing you misery and burnout, trying to find a deeper meaning is unlikely to sort things out.
For your everyday Sunday scaries, circle percocet though, thinking about your purpose can be a handy exercise.
‘I believe that purpose is fundamentally linked to living an open-hearted life, and that it applies both to individuals and organisations,’ Eudora Pascall, a business coach and the co-author of Putting The Heart Back Into Business, tells Metro.co.uk.
‘According to most dictionaries, purpose means: “The reason for which something is done or created or for which something exists”. Many companies and individuals use the words mission or vision for what I would call purpose, but in my view the key is having an overriding purpose/mission/vision that drives everything you do.
‘A lot of clients come to me because their lives lack meaning or direction. They say that they feel empty inside and are searching for something on the outside. They feel unhappy and lost, and my job is to help them find or rediscover their life purpose.
‘I see purpose as much more than a professional path: It’s an overriding statement that speaks to and impacts all parts of your life, including how you show up at work, how you are with your family, your friends, yourself and even complete strangers.
‘Purpose is your “why”. It sums up what’s behind who you are and what you do. It’s the reason you get up in the morning and what keeps you going when you feel like giving up.
‘Having a clear purpose helps you cut through the chaos and decide where to focus your energy. It can also strengthen your resolve and support you in achieving your dreams.’
That all sounds good to us. So how do we find our purpose?
Eudora reckons it’s all about listening to your inner voice and reconnecting with what really makes you tick.
Part of this, she says, is identifying your ‘core wounds’.
‘We all fall down and hurt ourselves many times in our lives,’ she explains. ‘We can pretend we never fell, but the scars will still be there to tell the tale.
‘We need to process the emotions attached to an experience in order to move forward. If we don’t, these unprocessed emotions will leak out when we least expect or want them to. This is the nature of a core wound.
‘One of my core wounds was created when my father died. I had no one to mourn with and felt very alone. For a long time, I wanted to stay in the pain and suffering because it was the only way I could stay connected to my father.
‘Slowly, over time, I did go through the pain and found a new way of being, with my father in my heart.
‘As a result, I have found my strength, power and purpose.
‘The painful experiences of my life have shaped who I am today and how I show up as a friend, mother, partner, coach and sister. The way we respond to the pain and difficulty of our core wounds can connect us to our true calling.’
It sounds a bit heavy, but have a think about these big, emotional moments in your life that have shaped who you are and what you care about.
It’s about figuring our your core values – then finding a way to make the work you do align with them.
Another way to find your purpose is working out what puts you in ‘flow state’.
‘Being “in flow” means you’re engaging in an activity that you love, and you become so absorbed in what you’re doing that you lose track of time,’ Eudora explains. ‘You become one with that activity and everything around you.
‘The concept has existed for hundreds of years, but it was Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi who popularised it. He observed musicians in an orchestra and asked the question: “Why are they happy?” He found that they were doing what they loved, with a clear purpose, and concluded that happiness = purpose + flow.
‘Connecting to your creative flow can produce extraordinary results. My creativity flows through me either into the thing I’m creating – whether it’s a knitted jumper, a sewn scarf, a piece of writing or the work I’m doing with a client.
‘When I’m in this flow, I feel amazing. Worries and insecurities melt away. It’s as if I step out of the way and let something far greater than me express itself.
‘If we’re encouraged to experience and live our purpose, we grow into the best of ourselves.’
Finding your purpose doesn’t have to mean discovering the meaning of life or making grand statements about how you want to change the world (although that’s great, too).
It can be as simple as working out what you’re great at, what makes your heart sing, then doing that.
Then, to get excited about work again, it’s about finding out how your job can play into that.
So maybe you’re in flow state when you’re getting creative – how can you bring more creativity to your daily work? Perhaps your purpose is connecting with people – so you’d focus on the social aspect of your role.
Think about your ‘why’ and chase it.
Eudora Pascall is co-author, with Andrew Thornton, of Putting The Heart Back Into Business: How To Place People, Planet And Purpose At The Core Of What You Do.
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