You might be offended by that question. Yet if you think about it, so many of us are living just that way.
What do I mean? I mean going through your life and career without a purpose. You might be riding the wave of circumstances. Some things were great experiences, others not so much.
You might have built a successful career, but are you feeling fulfilled? Will your legacy matter to anyone?
I meet a lot of professionals who went the route of working for big corporate giants. They made it through 5, 10, 15, or even 20 years then something happens. A merger or a market crash causes the company to downsize. They land on the shortlist of people heading out the door.
As they face the uncertainty of job hunting, they are bewildered, even empty. They don’t know what they want to do.
But how did you let that happen? More importantly, how can you change it now or avoid it entirely?
That Sense of Purpose
It all starts with finding a sense of purpose. As Mark Twain so eloquently wrote:
If you have never figured out the why question, then you have some work to do. The best advice I could ever give you is to figure out your why.
A good friend and fellow Silver Fox Advisor, Monte Pendleton introduced me to his work on finding personal purpose. He calls it the PPP, Personal Purpose Process. Monte allowed me to publish it in my book “STRIVE for Job Search Success”.
The PPP guides you on a journey exploring key areas in your life. It challenges you to evaluate what is important and what is not. More importantly it makes you decide on outcomes you want to create in each of the important areas.
Having this sense of purpose will shape and mold the choices you make. Instead of living the usual life of wage, page, and sage, you could live a more rewarding and purposeful life.
Wage, Page, Sage Stages of Life
The wage, page, and sage version of life goes something like this. Your early years are all about the wage. What can I get paid? Yes, you might be choosing a specialty, but you still focus on getting the best pay for the work you do.
Then you start turning pages. Getting married, having kids, buying a house, etc. You’re flipping the pages of life.
Finally, you reach the sage role. Your years of experience naturally set you up for people to look to you because of your seniority. You can either share it freely or be bitter about life not turning the way you hoped (whatever that was).
Either way, the messages you share will influence those around you; bringing them closer because of your wisdom, or pushing them away because you’ve turned into a curmudgeon.
However, living ‘on purpose’ creates a certain intentionality in the things you do, the choices you make, and the people you hang out with.
Once you decide on a purpose, you won’t settle for less. You won’t take a job just to get a paycheck. Oh sure there may be desperate times due to outside forces, but in the long run, you will stay on course.
You will look for the right fit in a job and the right direction to move you on the journey to fulfill your purpose.
The people you choose to associate with will also change depending on the focus you create. I’m not saying all relationships are bad, but many are less than helpful for keeping you on track. It is easy to get distracted by friendships that don’t encourage you and keep you centered on your chosen path.
Finding your personal purpose is not as hard as some people make it out to be. There are simple yet profound ways you can discover exactly what your were meant to be doing.
If you need help uncovering and discovering your purpose, call a coach. Call me. Stop living your happy accident. Get intentional. Live ‘on purpose.’