A Practical Approach to Purpose

A Practical Approach to Purpose

What drives you to work hard in your current job? Is it the people you work with? Is it the paycheck? Or is it a passion for what you do and how you do it, knowing you are living out your purpose?

In my most recent blog, I wrote about identifying your purpose in life and how this purpose can be lived in a variety of jobs you might have. Today, I want to take a practical approach to answer the following question: how do you evaluate your current vocation and create a path to live out your purpose? This approach is not about changing jobs, even though that sometimes may be needed. Rather, this question centers around identifying opportunities to integrate your purpose within your current job.  

I want to break this down into three simple lists. The first “list” is a job description or position summary. Think of the basic requirements of your job and what you do on a daily basis. Take, for example, the following sample job requirements for a barista: “The barista will greet customers, answer their questions, take orders and accept payments, and prepare and serve food and drinks. You will also maintain a clean and well-stocked workspace and dining area, update displays, and continuously expand your knowledge of food and beverage quality controls, preparation methods, and presentation.”

This short description highlights the basics of what a barista can expect to do from day to day. If no job description has been given to you, come up with one yourself! Consider the following questions: What are the daily functions of my job? What are my essential responsibilities? How would my coworkers describe what I do? What is the ultimate goal of my position?  Who am I serving in my role and who am I supporting? 

Once you have a list or description like the one above, you can begin to evaluate the second “list,” which consists of the skills, education, and abilities needed to do the job. For example, a barista might need a high school diploma, experience in customer service, the ability to learn quickly, and good communication skills. Think about your own job; the level of education you need, the specific skills required, and abilities necessary to thrive. Think of the skills and talents that you bring to the table. Make a list of these things next to your job description.

The final list consists of the things that inspire you. What are your passions in life? What is your purpose? What are the things that interest you most? What are the things that will help you do your job with meaning? 

The last step in all of this is to compare and contrast these three lists. In other words, how do you connect these parts? Let’s assume the points of connection will not be obvious. For example, someone serving in the barista role might also have a passion for helping the homeless population. They could speak to their supervisor about donating the food left at the end of the day to a shelter. In this simple action, they are connecting the work they do everyday to a cause they care about.  

How do your passions fit into the parts of your current role? I think you will find that all jobs are nuanced enough to encompass a large range of passions and interests if one simply takes the time to work through this or a similar process.  Oftentimes, a coach, mentor, or peer can help you evaluate these elements more effectively.  In an ideal world, one’s employer will champion this cause, however, there is no substitute to becoming more intentional about it yourself.

Are you ready to use your job to live out your purpose?  

Yasser Youssef is the president of The Budd Group, one of the leading facility service companies in the country, a North Carolina-based company that provides facility support services in the Southeast. Throughout his career, Youssef has met leaders from all backgrounds, and believes leadership is for everyone. Over the past few years, he has developed an affinity for writing and contributing thought leadership, and is often asked to speak to businesses throughout the country about authentic leadership.

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