Wanting to have a sense of purpose at work is one of the key drivers for the spirituality in the workplace movement. You might have heard this question before, “What gets you out of bed in the morning (especially Monday morning)?” Those with a sense of purpose, who have a reason for being, want to get up in the morning. It might not look like they are doing anything more purposeful than anyone else, it’s just that they consciously choose to bring purpose to their work and life.
How did you find your sense of purpose?
For me, I’ve always been on this search to discover my purpose. As a little girl my father would tell me that God had a special purpose for my life. I had no idea what purpose meant, but it sounded important. Then I grew up to understand what purpose was and wanted to find out what mine was. Hundreds of books and hours later, I’ve come to a much better understanding what it means to live with a sense of purpose.
We have thousands of little choices to make each day. How do we know that we are going in the right direction? We don’t, unless we’ve put some thought into the direction or purpose we want for our lives. I have found that having a sense of purpose has changed my whole perspective in how I see my work. The long hours, tedious tasks and endless emails make it all worth it because I’m striving toward a fulfilling a great sense of purpose with my work. I know this vision won’t happen overnight, so every day I take pride with whatever work I’m doing. When I choose to look at my work as just what it is on the surface – just menial tasks or busy work – that is all it becomes. It then begins to feel something that is “beneath me” or something that I shouldn’t have to do. However, when I shift my perspective and see that the one stone that I’m laying right now – that tedious task – is part of this incredible mosaic that I’m purposefully creating.
Do you do have purposeful work OR do you bring purpose to your work?
I say the answer is both. The most ideal is when you can do both, often times it’s a harder journey to find the first one – the purposeful work – that will also pay the bills. Yet we always have a choice each day to bring purpose to our work. For example, maybe you are cleaning an office building. You can see it as just that – that you clean offices OR you can see it as you help create this incredible environment that allows others to tap into their greatest potential at work. Let’s use the analogy of an mosaic. Up close, cleaning an office, is like one plain stone. But when you step away to see how your work fits together in the bigger picture – you can see the beautiful mosaic.
I’ve been working on a project redesigning some curriculum, a program called Renewing Life, for Pathways, a nonprofit organization. It’s a nine-week program that integrates the mind, body and spirit created for those (and their caregivers) with serious or life-threatening illnesses. My main contact at the organization is a volunteer, Sharon Bertrand, who is leading the redesign process. She is an incredible writer and very passionate about what she does. This project is purposeful to her, it is one of the programs that she used in helping to heal herself from MS five years ago. It has such a deep sense of purpose for her that she is willing to volunteer her time not just 10 or 100 hours, but close to 1,000 hours just this past year! She sees the purpose of this project to bring it to the world and knows it can change lives like it changed hers. The completed manual, superbly written and beautifully designed, is the gift given to those who experience the program. The stones were each of the hours she put into reading, researching, editing and piloting this program. Had she just looked at these stones while working, it would have not given her the drive she needed to finish the project. But she saw the end result, the gorgeous mosaic that has not only help fulfill her purpose, but will bring purpose to all the lives who touch it.Final thought My hope is that you will take time to appreciate each step or stone along the path of your journey. As you step back, reflecting on your life’s journey, you will see the purpose of your life coming together in a beautiful mosaic. Janae Bower is an inspirational speaker, award-winning author and training consultant. She founded Finding IT, a company that specializes in personal and professional development getting to the heart of what matters most. She started Project GratOtude, a movement to increase gratitude in people’s lives.
For more resources, see our Library topic Spirituality in the Workplace.