When You Don’t Know Your Professional Purpose, Read This.
I have always been a firm believer in living life to the fullest but it wasn’t until I became a career consultant and listened to hundreds of college students and professionals that I realized that discovering fulfillment and purpose was what every professional needed before they could feel they were living their life to the fullest.
Discovering your professional purpose is different from setting goals for yourself. Your purpose is your reason. Your why. It is the direction of your career. Purpose influences your goals. So even if you are not a goal setter (or keeper), we are all purpose seekers. Especially for our careers.
I know this because I witness it all the time. It doesn’t matter if I am meeting with a senior in college or a professional with multiple degrees and 20 years of career experience – they all want the same thing. They want to be fulfilled in their career. They don’t have to make $1M annually (though no one would complain), and they don’t necessarily want to be the CEO.
They want to be fulfilled.
They want to know that they are contributing to something.
They want to be validated and recognized by others.
They want to be challenged.
Can you relate?
The truth is that we will go through seasons in our careers where we do not get all of these things or any of these things. And when that happens we begin to question our purpose, our future, our happiness (fulfillment).
That is where I usually enter the conversation with my clients. We are working on their resume or just having a coaching session. They share these fears or frustrations. I listen and then help them by asking questions until they verbalize their short term and long term purpose. Realizing those purposes makes them ...
1. Change their perspective
2. Push through the hard seasons
3. Recognize and be thankful during the fulfilled seasons
I want YOU to be able to verbalize these 2 types of professional purpose to get through the tough days and seasons and make you thankful for the opportunities you do have.
SHORT TERM PROFESSIONAL PURPOSES:
Short term purposes are the reason why you are completing your current degree or serving in a specific position at a company. You know you will not be in school forever. You know you will not be in the same position your whole career. The reason you are in school is to get a degree you want to enter the career path you want. The reason you are in your current position is to gain experience, knowledge, training, respect, confidence.
Our short term purposes make us realize we are working toward something.
They remind us that life and careers are full of seasons. And this too shall pass.
They help us see the value in "paying your dues" for something more later.
They help us from quitting when it gets hard.
LONG TERM PROFESSIONAL PURPOSES:
Long term purposes are different. They are the big picture. They are the thing we want to be proud of at the end of our careers. They are the deeper, bigger reasons behind the big decisions we make in our careers.
Our long term purposes can help make hard decisions to leave a job, start a new business, leave our field to raise a family. They are influential in that they help us realign to what is really important.
I left a job early in my career because I realized my purpose (my why) was rooted in helping others in their career and business. But what I was spending my days doing was far from that. I didn’t quit immediately. I finished what I started and left on good terms. Because I stayed until the right time, I gained skills, experience, and connections. There was a purpose for that job and I am very thankful for it.
Maybe you have been working for years and you haven’t thought about your short term or long term purpose. Maybe you have been focused on working to pay the bills. There is nothing wrong with needing to take a job to pay the bills or support your family. But I encourage you to find purpose in what you are doing. Every job, large or small has a purpose (or else it wouldn’t exist). You have to decide what that purpose is for YOU and how you are going to allow it to lead to more in your life. I believe there is always more.
SO WHAT SHOULD YOU DO?
Ask yourself, “what is my short term purpose for the season I am in now?”
Then ask yourself “what is my long term purpose for my career?” Outside of the money, fame, and positions, what is the reason for what I do?
Once you write your short and long term purposes down, ask yourself:
“Do I need to change my perspective on my current situation?
“Do I need to push myself through this hard season?”
“Do I need to recognize and be thankful during this fulfilled season?
And lastly, ask yourself “Who can I share this with?”
Purpose is truly realized with others.
Others provide perspective, motivation, and accountability.
Don’t do your career alone. You weren’t to.
PERSONAL BRANDING FOR PROFESSIONALS ONLINE COURSE
If you are looking to discover who you are as a professional or looking for a new job, take my online course – Personal Branding for Professionals. I will walk you step by step through skills discovery, resume writing (with templates), cover letter writing, and a strong LinkedIn profile.