Most of us work a regular job. Somewhere along the way we found something we could do or something that seemed interesting. Someone hired us to do it, and we took the job because we needed the money. While some people left those jobs to pursue a passion, many others looked up thirty years later and realized they never left.
There is, however, a small percentage of people who have found the bigger purpose for their existence and figured out a way to make that their job. If that is you, congratulations. If it is not, don’t feel bad. Most people haven’t. In fact, most people never will.
We all have a bigger purpose for being down here on this earth. When we don’t know what it is, there is a void created that contributes to our dissatisfaction in life, which ties into our dissatisfaction in our work. It simply is not possible to start living for the weekday unless we can bounce out of bed every day knowing we’re doing something to add value while we’re here.
My hope is that you’ve found your bigger purpose and that it ties directly into your job. But if you haven’t found your bigger purpose and you’re working a job for no other reason than to put food on the table, then your “work” in this world must be what you do outside of your job. It must be the commitment you make of providing your time, talent, and treasure to your bigger purpose. I mentioned that point in a speech a while back, and an audience member came up to the stage after the presentation and said, “I already have a job, and you’re telling me in order to be happy I have to go find more work. It just sounds like more work to me.”
He was right, it is more work. However, it’s a different kind of work. When you do work that fulfills a bigger purpose, it should be so fulfilling that it doesn’t feel much like work. Only those who have achieved this can understand, and it is my hope you search out your bigger purpose if you haven’t made that kind of contribution.
We all have a calling. No, we may not cure cancer or negotiate world peace, but we have a bigger purpose. With that in mind, it is critical not to confuse your job or career (i.e., how you make money) and your work (i.e., your purpose for living).
If you don’t know your bigger purpose, here are some things you can do to move in that direction:
Make time for contemplation
Many people are busier now than they’ve ever been. People are raising kids, working a job, taking care of a spouse or parent, and just trying to keep up. If you haven’t figured out your bigger purpose, at some point you must make time for contemplation. The chances of you waking up every day and “finding” extra time are slim. Schedule it and commit to keeping your schedule. Use your time in any way you see fit. Meditate if that is your thing. Pray if you choose. Or at least take a moment to pay attention to what is good, positive, and beautiful as you go about your day.
Depend on a higher power
A study conducted by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life indicated 92 percent of people believe in God or a universal spirit. That’s a good start, but I wonder how many of those people depend on that higher power. I appreciate there are some people who will have a different definition for a higher power, and that’s okay. I am a Christian, and my higher power is God. But my goal here is not getting anyone to follow my beliefs about a higher power. One of the best lessons I’ve learned in my life is that I can’t do it all alone. I must depend on my higher power. My challenges are my own and I must deal with them. However, I believe my higher power wants me to succeed and is willing to help. Whatever your higher power may be, depend on it. It can’t be all about you.
In my book, Living for the Weekday, I introduce readers to a lady named Karen. She is one of the few people who fall in the category of employees who are happy in their work environment. One of the questions I asked her was, “Are you happy?” Her response was simple: “What do you mean by happy?” Before you can be happy at work you must be happy with you, and before you can figure out your bigger purpose, you need to determine what makes you happy. And by the way, I mean real happiness. Not fishing or hunting. Not playing video games or going to the movies. I’m talking “goose bumps down your spine” kind of happy when you do something that you know makes a difference. Find that kind of happy, and you just may have found your purpose.
© 2017 Clint Swindall — Clint is the president & CEO of Verbalocity, Inc., a personal development company with a focus on leadership enhancement. For information about how he can enhance employee engagement in your organization, please visit www.verbalocity.com, or contact him directly firstname.lastname@example.org.