Finding meaning and purpose

You may go about your days quite happily, leading others in the work that needs to be done. You move from this to that, get things done, interact and connect. And things are pretty good, but you sense there is more.

There is nothing like the deep personal satisfaction you get when you know exactly what you are on earth for. I live this satisfaction daily and I want you to have that too.

Fifteen years ago, I had the glorious and frightening opportunity of being “laid off” after an acquisition of the company I worked at for a long time. Glorious, because I chose to see it as an opportunity to do something that mattered to me and to others. Frightening because I had no idea where I would find that in the relatively small town I live in. And after all, I still needed to make a living.

I don’t know exactly what the forces were that brought me this calling, but my longing to make a difference in the lives of others, combined with an extensive background in the corporate environment helped me to choose the right thing. And it’s allowed me to make a difference every day of my life in my work for 15 years.

Yes, I was pushed into the situation of redefining what I was meant to do. But you don’t have to be in a similar situation in order to figure out what you’re here for. You can still find meaning and purpose in the work you’re currently doing if you spend some time in reflection thinking about these questions:

When have I been in the flow? You’ve likely experienced times when you are so absorbed in your work that time passes, phones ring, and people coming by your office startle you, you’ve been in the flow. That experience may offer you some clues about what you are here for. What were you doing when that happened? Is that something that you would like more of in your life and work?

What meaning does that flow experience have for you? That flow experience most likely means something to you. This isn’t easy, but if you spend some time reflecting, you might find that it’s important and that it has something special to tell you. This can be the beginning of reorganizing your life and work around something that is more pleasurable than what you’ve experienced in the past – and it may not necessarily mean leaving your current situation behind.

Now what? Whatever that meaningful experience is, you may want to spend some time thinking about how you can get more of it. This may require small actions to make room, or larger ones to reorganize your life. If you are enthusiastic and inspired by it, you will follow through. Taking on whatever resources you need to make it happen can put you back in the flow, with things feeling easier than they ever have.

You may now be able to create a personal, one-sentence statement of what you are here for. That makes it easy to remember anytime, but especially when things get tough (and they will at some point). I wish you joy in your new discovery.

I am a former executive in a Fortune 100 company. I have owned and operated an executive coaching firm since 2003 called Aspire Collaborative Services LLC. We partner with great leaders to help them become even greater at developing, improving, and sustaining relationships with the people who are essential to their success. This blog is for leaders and those who help them to be more intentional about relationships at work. My top personal values include respect for others, kindness, compassion, collaboration and gratitude. I work very hard at practicing my values daily and when I don’t succeed, I practice some more. I am married with two wonderful daughters and two spoiled pugs.