Find Purpose in Work: How to Make 2019 YOUR Year
Find Purpose in Work: How to Make 2019 YOUR Year
“Success is liking yourself, liking what you do and liking how you do it.” Maya Angelou
Let’s get real, for many people, getting out of bed is a success story in itself. There’s a reason The Cure sing ‘Friday I’m in Love’. But it doesn’t need to be that way. A synonym of purpose is why. This is the life-energy, the crux, and the single motivator for a purposeful career. A strong company ‘why’ helps staff feel motivated, inspired, part of something bigger than themselves; and satisfies an innate desire of contribution and purpose.
Purpose in Work
The Ikigai (pronounced Ick-ee-guy) is a Japanese concept that means ‘reason for living’. What you have in abundance in one aspect, you might be lacking in another. Once you have balance, you have your Ikigai, or happiness. It can be summed up by the following diagram:
The idea of work life balance is not new, but the idea of finding purpose in your work is more recent. As we satisfy Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs more and more, we no longer desire work purely for survival, but to be full of meaning. In The Why of Work: How Great Leaders Build Abundant Organizations That Win seven principles are identified to build an abundant organisation: (identity, purpose, relationships/teamwork, positive work environment, personalising work, resilience/growth, and delight/civility). In the book, Wendy Ulrich (Psychologist) and David Ulrich (Professor of Business at University of Michigan) quote that:
‘People find meaning when they see a clear connection between what they highly value and what they spend time doing. There is an old fable of the three bricklayers all working on the same wall. Someone asked the bricklayers, “What you are doing?” The first said “I am laying bricks”; the second bricklayer replied, “I am building a wall”; and the third answered, “I am building a great cathedral for God.” The third had a vision of how the daily tasks of laying bricks fit into a broader, more meaningful purpose.’
Now while we cannot all build cathedrals, finding purpose in what we do is essential for enjoying work and also performing to a high standard.
Identify what you want from a role
Climbing the ladder, or a means to an end? Everyone has different aspirations. These may be creative ambitions, family or financial motivations, corporate ambitions or a passion for the work you do. Understanding what your aspirations are and crafting each day to include at least one reference or step towards that can help fulfill a sense of purpose. It could be something as small as doing one personal or professional development activity a day, or identifying how you could contribute to a team.
Identify how you are making a difference
Why does your business exist? Every business serves a purpose, otherwise it wouldn’t receive interest. Once you have identified what the purpose is, you can align your work activities to a greater goal. Remember, not every business is saving the planet, some help realise/enable the ambition of others, some provide an experience, some provide products or services that help people. Talk to your colleagues and find out what other opportunities there may be across your organisation where you could make a difference in a way that makes you feel good. Is there a customer you would really like to work with or a prospect you could introduce to your organisation? Does your organisation offer volunteering opportunities? Training opportunities to enhance your skills? Perhaps there is even something you could be teaching your fellow colleagues. Every employee has unique strengths; as band American Authors song Deep Water goes ‘I can’t find my purpose when I don’t know what my worth is’.
Find purpose in teamwork
Do you have a sense of community within your team? It can be habitual to opt out on social situations or group activities, but the importance of team bonding goes further than drinks or chatter. A positive team is contagious, making work more enjoyable as well as more productive. Take the time to get to know your colleagues around you and across the organisation, as this will lead to stronger collaboration and project work, as well as a better sense of community and enjoyment. You never know whose work life you could be helping to improve, just by getting to know them better.
Find purpose by contributing something new
Is there any way you can make your voice heard and create a difference? Share your ideas with colleagues and look for opportunities to share your knowledge or improve processes. Or perhaps start with a social aspect like lunch-time learning, board games, or social culture development and projects. By changing your company for the better, you are part of the mission.
At Timico, we encourage collaboration, teamwork and knowledge sharing through applications such as Microsoft Teams and Sharepoint. We also understand the importance of giving back and how that relates to a greater sense of fulfillment, which is why we offer 24 hours of paid volunteering work (of the employee’s choice) each year as part of our Timico Team Culture program. We also give employees the opportunity to nominate colleagues for great work and for representing our core values; where each month, winners not only get recognition, but also a lifestyle Red Letter Day voucher as a thank you for their contributions and great work.
As we approach the new year, make the empowered decision to find purpose in your work and think about the little things you could do to make a difference. We already spend a third of our life working, so there’s no better time to bring meaning and enjoyment to what you do, as well as greater success. Wishing you a happy and successful new year!