Organizations and businesses talk a lot about purpose these days (although they’re generally bad at living it). But some of the most heartfelt and insightful conversations I’ve had around purpose have been with my clients, especially those past the early stages of their lives and careers.
I believe that the latter half of our lives forces us to reflect on our journey thus far because thats when women generally begin to sense a dearth of meaning. Many factors lead to this unease, but the result is the desire to make necessary changes that are aligned with who we are and what we truly want for our lives. For many of us, that itself is an unknown, given how long we’ve spent running away from ourselves.
We don’t always have to take an inner journey to find ourselves again. Often, spending some time on a few important questions, and allowing the answers to sit with us, expands our perspectives and points us in new and exciting directions. This is not a one time exercise that determines our purpose for decades to come. Our purpose evolves as we move through life. It shifts and changes as we adapt to new circumstances. But it always, always, stays grounded in who we are, and what we want for our lives.
Here then are 3 powerful questions you can ask yourself to find more meaning in whatever work you do:
Why do I do what I do? What problem do I solve and what need does this fulfill? Think of actual people you’ve impacted in a positive way, whether it’s your clients, your children, someone in your community…
How does this purpose align with who I am? What values and life experiences have led to this purpose? What talents and strengths of mine do I get to use everyday?
What changes can I make to live my purpose consistently? The best way to identify what needs change is by thinking of things that don’t make you feel alive (because living your purpose always does). What are you doing that grates on you, that drains you of energy or that you keep procrastinating? Sometimes this means drastic changes such as leaving a job. But way more often, smaller changes can have amazing benefits. Can you drop or perhaps delegate it? If not, can you use your strengths because research shows that using strengths will make you feel joyful and authentic, and lead to enhanced performance.
You owe it to yourself to engage in this reflection every so often. It’ll lead to not only the joy that comes from knowing that you’re impacting others in a positive way, it’ll also release “happiness hormones” that’ll make you feel alive, engaged and creative, rather than drained and even resentful about having to do what you do every day!
Take some time to reflect on the questions. They may lead to meaningful changes in your life.