Working With Purpose
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Working with purpose can be achieved in even the most mundane of everyday tasks by having a clear image of what is most important to us. When we have clarity on the various facets of the big picture we wish to create in our lives, we begin to see how everything we do can contribute to this higher vision.
If you want to feel that you are working with purpose, rather than just going through the motions of your days, here are some questions to ask yourself:
What are my goals?
If you don’t have clearly defined goals for yourself in the major areas of your life, everything can feel quite aimless and purposeless. Career goals don’t necessarily need to include specific job titles. Many fulfilling careers take a very winding path, but you do need a clear picture of what you want various aspects of your career to look like.
Goals such as
- working from home,
- travelling as a part of your career,
- making a certain level of income from working only 3 days a week,
- spending most of your working hours interacting with people, and
- making a difference in the lives of others through the work you do
can give you a very strong sense of direction without narrowing the path that your career may take.
Personal goals can also provide an enhanced feeling of working with purpose. If one of your goals is to raise happy and healthy children, keeping this goal at the forefront of your mind can give seemingly dull activities a sense of greater purpose. If you are not just cooking endless, largely unappreciated meals, but focusing on the fact that you are providing nourishment and energy for your family, this task becomes more important and purposeful.
Activities in themselves are neither meaningful nor meaningless. They only carry the meaning and importance that we give to them. Our actions can go from being humdrum to purposeful simply by changing the way we think of them. There is a Zen proverb that says, “Before enlightenment - chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment - chop wood, carry water.” The activities do not need to change for us to feel powerful and that we are working with purpose. Often it is simply our mindset that needs adjusting. Even the simplest chores can take on significance when we have a higher purpose in mind.
What are my values?
Values and goals differ in the sense that goals usually include external results, whereas values are the basic beliefs, ideals, and qualities that are important to us. Values determine to a large degree how we see ourselves, or sometimes, how we want to see ourselves. In this sense, our values can form a very strong basis for goals that may not have a specific, concrete outcome.
If two of your most important values are competence and caring, then living these values as part of your everyday life can provide a solid goal. This goal can be attained by working with purpose to express your values in whatever place you find yourself. In the simplest of tasks, there is ample opportunity to improve, build, and demonstrate competence and caring. In developing and enhancing your ability to practice your highest values in your daily life, you will discover a sense of living more powerfully, authentically, and purposefully.
Who am I?
Having a clear image of yourself, as the person you truly want to be, allows you to make choices aligned with allowing this true, best self to become actualized. Seeing yourself, let’s say, as a competent, caring, and intelligent person who brings enthusiasm and humor to whatever you undertake can also make a big difference to working with purpose. In whatever tasks you are undertaking, there is always an opportunity to let more of your true self to shine through, and this can greatly enhance a sense of meaning in your days.
What am I learning now?
Another way of working with purpose is to focus on the learning that can always be found in any experience. Sometimes there are big lessons to be learned, and sometimes there are simply little refreshers or pop quizzes. When you think there is nothing you can learn from a situation, look deeper. Perhaps it could be a review class on staying centered and focusing your breathing, or appreciation of the good and beauty around you. When there are always lessons to be learned, and growth to be achieved, no activity can be meaningless.
In conclusion, keep your focus on your dreams and goals, expressing your values, developing into the person you truly want to be, and embracing life’s lessons, and working with purpose will become as natural as breathing!
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