I’d like to ask you a personal question, seeing that we’re such intimate friends and all.
What’s your Life Purpose?
To be precise….
- What’s your ‘job’ in the biggest sense of the word, at 50,000 feet?
- What did God put you here, in this lifetime, to accomplish? … and are you getting it done?
- What is so compelling to you that you can’t do anything but that thing?
That ‘thing,’ your life purpose, is the message and the mission of your life. It is literally what drives your success. If you don’t know what it is, and you don’t align your work and career with it, then you’re missing out on one of the greatest not-so-secret secret in the world.
I ask you these questions, because if you don’t know the answers,
if you have never fully contemplated the difference you make
and the impact you have,
then you will never be as deeply and richly engaged
in your life and in your work as you’re capable of being.
Steve Jobs, Oprah Winfrey, Bill Gates…. these are but a few of many famous people you know who’ve had an irrevocable positive impact on the world. A lot of them have actually talked publicly about their life purpose in the context of their goals, failures, and accomplishments. They may not use these specific words but their message is the same – They can’t NOT do this thing. They HAVE to. They can’t HELP themselves.
The same is true for you.
Over the past 20+ years, I’ve worked with thousands of people. Almost every single one of them who has the desire, and is given the tools, is able to identify his/her life purpose.
Like Oprah they just know, in their gut, that there’s a big “WHY” behind every meaningful they do. It’s instinctual, it’s pervasive, and it’s visceral. When I question people like you, I’m told, “I don’t want to sound egotistical, but I just know I was born to do something great— to have an impact, to make a difference.” It’s true!
And do you know what most people say when they finally pinpoint their life purpose? “Well, I knew that!” or “Everyone knows that about me!” That’s why I call it the not-so-secret secret.
Think of your #life purpose as your own personal operating system: It is unique to you and it is functionally deep-wired into your DNA. This is why you’ll often hear people say, “I was made to do this!” That’s because they were, in every sense of the word.
When you deliberately and strategically align your work with your life purpose, it will take on a much deeper meaning for you and the result will be stratospheric engagement. Think of a race horse running full out on the track, doing its best to be its best. Think of everyone you know who’s been identified by their organization as high potential. That could be you, on purpose.
The other side of the equation is this one: I have never met an adult who loved his/her work, and was off-purpose.
The reason people love their work is because it’s a spiritual, mental, emotional and physical match for, and expression of their life purpose.
Those who are on purpose in their work and in their life, naturally lead and are the most positively impactful #leaders.
Now before I share The 4 Terrific Things That Happen When You Take God to Work, I’m going to clarify this ‘God’ thing to make sure that you and I are a similar page, speaking a similar language.
I also want to elaborate a bit on the intricate relationship between God, your life purpose and your career.
Like politics and money, talking about religion in general, (or about the one you’ve chosen, in particular), is a tricky thing. Tricky as in, inadvisable by most. You could say that it’s spring loaded because very few people are neutral on the subject of God.
Spirituality, on the other hand, is an easier sell.
Spirituality is like religion, minus the serrated edges. It seems to be easier for us to talk about, and less challenging for our listeners to hear. When we reference spirituality we don’t automatically polarize people, nor do we create the divisiveness ever-present in the dialogue about religion.
Calling oneself spiritual is a bit less of a commitment than identifying as a Christian or Jew or……
So why did I choose to reference God in this article? Because that’s the word that works best for me; I invite you to insert the one that works best for you.
In their 2014 study, Pew Research Center concluded that “Americans may be getting less religious, but feelings of spirituality are on the rise.” They discovered that 89% of Americans believe in God, 9% do not believe in God and the remaining 2% don’t know if they believe in God.
Despite the stunning numbers in the God column, over the years I’ve been repeatedly advised to never put God and work in the same sentence when I work with corporate clients. In fact, the counsel I’ve received has been that I should absolutely avoid the words ‘God’ or ‘spirituality’ in every work environment.
That is such BS!
Living into one’s life purpose and #spiritual beliefs is a bold, straight line to a serious and productive results-oriented conversation about what my clients really want to do with their careers.
When I do bring up spirituality in a work environment, the reaction I inevitably get from my clients, audiences and training participants is relief; they go out of their way to let me know how great it feels that someone (me) is finally talking about this in the context of work.
If you don’t express your life purpose at work where you spend most of your waking hours, what then? Most people will work about 90,000 hours in their lifetime. Why would you relegate those 90,000 hours to the appetizer portion of your life, when it deserves to be the main dish?
The only reason for confusing this priority is that you either don’t know what your life purpose is (in which case you’ll meander through your career), or you don’t know how to find or create work that syncs seamlessly with it. Both are figureoutable.
Here’s what it sounds like in a coaching conversation:
“I’m a software engineer for XYZ company, but what I really want to do is create a start-up devoted to ABC”.
Go ahead, try this yourself: “Right now my job is __________, but what I’d really love to do one day is __________.
(If what you’re doing is not a match to your life purpose, do not panic. In a short while I’m going to offer a Free WebClass on how to bridge that gap).
The most intimate and sacred thing about you are your spiritual beliefs— they are literally at the core of who you are, and who you are impacts everything you do.
You can’t leave your spirituality at home when you go to work any more than you can leave your eyes at the employee door and pick them up at the end of the day. There’s nothing more fundamental to your values, nature and heart than your spirituality. And your life purpose is at the center of it; it’s like the tick tock in the clock.
Here are the 4 terrific things
that happen when you take God to work:
#1 YOU INCREASE YOUR IMPACT: One of the strongest motivators of human behavior is the need to make a difference. When your work is consistent with your life purpose, when it’s an extension of who you and the difference you came here to make, your impact will increase in every area of your life.
Yes, you’re capable of making an impact in a variety of ways, but your superpower impact is the one that comes from your purpose. Increasing your impact will earn you the reputation of being a valuable asset to your organization. All of the above increases your happiness, satisfaction, and overall life fulfillment.
#2 YOU ELEVATE YOUR ENGAGEMENT: Engagement is the metric for how much skin we have in the game, how invested we are, and the depth and sustainability of that allegiance. When we are deeply engaged in our work it feels like we’re playing, because we’d do it regardless of whether we got paid for it or not.
Remember the part about “We can’t NOT do it?” When you’re working out of your purpose you’ll be one of the highly engaged 30% of Americans, as measured by the Gallup Organization, who can’t wait to get to work, who contribute fully and who help those around them to become leaders, as well. High Five!
#3 YOU BECOME CONTAGIOUS: In a good way. What research has repeatedly concluded is that emotions are contagious. Here are some of the facts– We get visual cues from the people around us and, unconsciously, we mimic them. We mimic the happy cues and we mimic the ‘blec’ cues too. Some emotions are more contagious than others; negative emotions are far stronger than positive ones. Some people are more susceptible to emotions than others.
The boss has a greater emotional impact on us than anyone else in the office. People who are on purpose, full out engaged and happy, are like emotional booster shots for everyone else in the company. This applies to clients and customers, as well. Those who hang around purposeful, happy people think to themselves, “I want whatever she’s got.” And even if they’re not conscious of this dynamic, they’ll still walk out the door at 6:00 feeling enthusiastic, fulfilled and grateful for the day.
#4 YOUR PASSION CONVERTS TO PROFIT: Passion is a by-product of being on purpose. When you’re on purpose, you’re more engaged. When you’re more engaged, you’re more productive: You pay more attention to the quality and quantity of your work. The aforementioned results in a more valuable employee who contributes to people and profit. From a leadership perspective, engagement results in connection and connection is the key to retention.
Now that you have the scoop on life purpose, God and work, you get to make a choice. I just love choices, don’t you?
If you’re on purpose already, bravo! Now it’s your turn to send the elevator down and help those around you get on purpose so they, too, can be at the head of the leadership line.
If you’re not on purpose, and you know it, there’s no need to worry. You just need to get into action.Take your current job and look for opportunities to tweak your job description so that you can be on purpose. If your job is incongruent with your life purpose, it may be time to make a course correction. NOTE: Not knowing you, I would not suggest you leave your job until you have another one lined up, no matter how off-purpose your current position. I’ll leave the ‘whys’ for another article.
So what’s your life purpose? How does that play out in your life? Have you ever had a job that was off-purpose? How did you know? What did you do? Please comment below and I’ll personally respond! Thanks!
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