Purpose: Why It’s Vital for a Successful Career

Everybody has a light, a purpose, a dream inside of themselves. Some dreams are close to the surface, others are buried inside, pushed down from years of self-doubt, insecurity, fear, or from life just happening. So there you remain, stuck in hesitation so far away from what is possible.

Why is this? One possible reason is the task of finding out what your purpose is. It can be overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be.

Let’s talk about the word “purpose” for a moment. I know for many people this word seems trendy, grandiose, unattainable or too big to grasp. It can be quite stressful; all these people running around putting pressure on themselves to find their purpose. Some feel that finding their purpose means helping thousands of people, or finding the cure for the common cold. If this is how you are feeling, let me take that burden off your shoulders right now.

I choose the word “purpose” to describe my own career journey. The word purpose resonated with me. You can easily exchange the word “purpose” for fulfillment, contentment, happiness, impassioned, gratification, bliss or satisfaction.

When we find and work within our purpose, we are settled, content, fulfilled, centered and confident in the work that we do, as it fits like a glove. It feels natural and intuitive. When you step into your purpose, you will know it.

Alternatively, when we work outside of our purpose, we long for something else. We are restless, distracted, wondering why we are here and what it is we are supposed to be doing. Many people feel “stuck.” Everybody has a bad day here and there, but when these symptoms are chronic, it may be time to take a closer look at your career.

In your role as CEO people may assume that your current job is “it” for you, but your career is a journey. You will hit highs and lows. You will grow, experience different things and evolve, that’s human, that’s life.

Now that I have you thinking, it’s probably a good time to ask: Are you living your purpose? Are you happy leading your organization, are you inspired? Or do you have a bad case of the “Sunday Night Blues”? You can’t believe you have to go back to work on Monday!

As the CEO of your company, you may find yourself doing all of the things that your management team is not managing. If you aren’t purposeful in the way you build out your management team, you may find yourself doing the tasks that nobody else can do or wants to do. This often leads to you being burdened by unfulfilling work.

Or perhaps, the lens that you view your work through needs a bit of polishing. Sometimes it takes a few years for a company to really hone in on its purpose or mission. Once you gain clarity around this mission, it can make the work much more fulfilling and engaging. By tapping into the “why” behind your company, it can create a whole new level of engagement for yourself and your team. For example, I often hear people describe their company by the product or service sell. “We make websites.” While that is probably true, why do you make websites? To help businesses grow. To business owners prosper. If that becomes your mission, then maybe you start providing other related services to fulfill that mission. You and your team must think more creatively about how to fulfill this mission, rather than thinking on Sunday night, “Here comes just another week of making more websites.”

For instance, I’m passionate about my work as a career coach. I have helped many people enhance their career and start living their best work life. I do this because I’ve been there; I was miserable in a job I didn’t like, so I did the work to change that. It’s an incredible feeling to wake up every day and look forward to going to work. You can do the same.

What percent of your day is spent doing work that you enjoy? If it’s less than 80%, it’s time to make some changes.

Why aren’t you spending at least 80% of your day doing work you enjoy? Do you need to delegate? Do you have trouble delegating? Do you not have people you trust to take on the work?

When was the last time you found yourself in flow, completely lost in your work? What were you doing? Are there opportunities for you to do more of that?

Here are a few tips to help get you started:

Tip #1: Surround yourself with people you like.

Tip #2: Optimal fit not only matters for your management team, but also for you. Make sure you are deliberate in the work that you take on, and be sure to delegate the work that your management team should be doing.

Tip #3: Revisit your company’s mission statement. Make sure it answers the question: “Why does your company exist?” and make sure the answer does not involve a product or service. Once you do this, drive your company goals toward making one or two steps forward toward this mission in the next year. Look for opportunities to test whether you are accomplishing this mission by being close to customer feedback about how they feel about your company.

When I started to pay attention to my career and took steps to move it forward, things started to click for me. I would see the world through a different lens, a more open and centered lens. I felt like the universe was in sync with where I was heading and it was my job to understand what the universe was showing me, find the lessons to be learned, grow from them, and take action. I am still doing the work necessary to go even further, as there is more I want to do and more I want to say.

Whether your dreams are at the surface or buried deep, if you do the work, you will discover what is possible for you, move closer to the work you are meant to do and eventually step directly into the light of what will be your purpose either as a CEO or not.

Simply knowing, clearly knowing, who you are, what gifts you have to offer and what you are meant to do will make you stand out and be heard which will lead to you living your best work life.