“Work is not, primarily, a thing one does to live, but the thing one lives to do.” — Dorothy Sayers
“What do you do?” This question is most commonly asked when you meet someone new.
How does this question make you feel? Your mental, emotional, spiritual and physical reaction to it can be a strong indicator of whether you are in a career that is in line with your core values, gifts and passions or not.
Imagine waking up each morning with a renewed energy and excitement to begin your workday. The hours pass by without notice as you lose yourself in your work. You are “in the flow.”
Work is not simply a “job,” but a connection of your passion with your purpose, creating a sense of life fulfillment.
Finding your passion can be a lifelong journey, and your passions can change in time. Spending time in personal reflection to answer these three questions will give you a framework to better connect with who you are and how to find purpose and meaning.
What are your core values?
Core values define the kind of person you are or want to be, and provide guidance in everyday choices. They provide us with inspiration and meaning, even in the face of challenge or adversity.
Begin by making a list of everything that’s important to you. Ask others for their insight into what they believe is important to you. What values do you most admire in others? As you make your list, be mindful of whether these values are reflected in your daily choices.
In knowing your top three to six core values, you will better know yourself and what is important to you — what you are willing to fight for and what you are willing to give up.
What are you passionate about, and what gifts has God given you?
What activities did you find joy in as a child? What are some of your fondest memories? What do you spend your time and money on?
This list will give you an outline of what you are most interested in and what you enjoy. Be curious about how you can use your passions and gifts to earn a living. You might find others already are successful in career paths you would enjoy, or you might need to seek guidance in how to create a new and unique career path.
How can you connect your passion with a career that will best serve others?
This is where purpose comes in. According to Psychology Today, “studies indicate that opportunities to serve others, whether in civic, private or professional settings, as well as charitable giving, result in a stronger sense of purpose and meaning in life.”
And, people with a sense of purpose are more engaged in their work. As leaders, helping our team find their passions and connect them with service to others is becoming a bigger part of the job.
Shawn Baldwin, senior vice president at Walmart Stores, says “As leaders we have the opportunity to bring people together to do something that is bigger than they are as individuals.”
You might need time to experiment. You might need to be creative in discovering ways to connect what is important to you and what inspires you with how you can serve others.
You might need to learn new skills and practice with patience until you are able to make a career of living your dream. It will take time and commitment, but it will be worth it.
Whether you are just beginning to explore your career options or you feel stuck in a long-term career that leaves you empty and unfulfilled, it’s never too early or late to get in touch with what inspires you. Connecting your passion with your purpose will not only lead to a more successful career, but a more significant one.