by Laura Garnett
When was the last time you were suddenly overcome by a sense of immense gratitude for how much you loved your job? Or the last time you had a moment when you felt like you couldn't imagine doing anything else? Or a time when your work was giving you so much joy that it almost felt like a dream?
Based on the results of the Deloitte Shift’s Index survey, which showed that 80 percent of Americans are unhappy with their jobs, odds are you are not experiencing the above scenario. Most likely the cause is a lack of connection to your purpose. When someone is purpose-driven, they become resilient beyond measure. In an extreme example of this, Nelson Mandela was able to survive 27 years in prison because he was unshakably clear on his purpose. Clarity of purpose provides endless amounts of fulfillment and can create superhuman results and impact in your work.
Unfortunately, connecting with our purpose is not taught in schools. Our educational system has not been organized to help individuals find work that provides them with a sense of purpose. Some people are lucky enough to naturally tap into their purpose at a young age and hone it effortlessly over time.
But for the rest of us, finding our purpose can feel like an endless maze that has no end. Which is why so many people are settling for work without purpose, or letting their paychecks make up for their lack of fulfillment. They've resigned themselves to the idea that work that makes their heart sing just doesn't seem to be in the cards they have been dealt.
My work is all about changing this. Having a sense of purpose at work should be our birthright. It’s core to our human needs, and fortunately it’s also something that is readily there for the taking. My professional obsession is determining how to access this powerful resource, both for myself and for others. The good news is that I have discovered that it’s actually easier to connect than we think.
The access points to your purpose lie in your unique story and your psychology. These elements explain why what brings a sense of purpose to one person is not the same as what brings a sense of purpose to someone else. Your purpose is likely linked to a core challenge that you have faced and have had to conquer in your life. Purpose is grounded in an intimate knowledge of, and ability to relate to, another person’s struggles. That internal connection comes from something that you yourself have experienced. Then when you witness another person going through this same kind of experience, you feel a heart-centered click that can’t be manufactured.
There are countless success stories rooted in this idea. Howard Schultz, the owner of Starbucks, made it his mission to provide benefits to his employees, because in his own life he’d seen his parents working minimum wage jobs without benefits. Providing security and a kind of second home for people was part of his purpose, and this was very clearly connected to the poverty he experienced in his own childhood.
This is why, when you are hiring, you want your employees to have a personal connection with the mission of your company. If that is present, then you’re getting someone’s heart and soul invested, which results in nothing less than peak performance. You tap into a limitless wellspring of drive and motivation. Howard Schultz is not going to get bored with his purpose, he is going to continue to innovate new ways to further it. The narrow focus of a clear purpose connects you, ironically, to an endlessly expanding creative outpouring of strategies to actualize it over time.
For many of us, purpose is the missing link in our search for fulfillment and success. Thankfully, as you can see above, uncovering this link for yourself is simpler than we might imagine. So I invite you to make a commitment to uncover your purpose, and the next step from there will be to get support in translating that into a career strategy in your current or future roles. As a result you will find yourself experiencing greatly expanded success and joy, guaranteed.
Laura Garnett is a Talent Strategist and Leadership Activator. Her Zone of Genius is being able to see the underlying patterns within people that is indicative of their Zone of Genius. She then connects them to their personal brand and career strategies that are right for them. Her mission is to help everyone know their Zone of Genius and use that as a driving force for their career decisions. When you have clarity, focus and passion, anything is possible. Laura brings years of experience as a high-level corporate executive for companies such as Google, American Express and Capital One as well as her own personal time “in the trenches” as a solo entrepreneur who’s created her own dream job. You can follow Laura on Facebook, LinkedIn, or on Twitter @garnettl.