How Your Purpose Shapes the Value of Your Work
Most of us strive to live a life of purpose. But within the day-to-day hustle of life, it’s all too easy to lose sight of what truly drives us. This can, in turn, affect not just our relationships and our lifestyles, but also our professional lives.
Take time to reflect.
Most people don’t have the time to reflect on existence and meaning, nor is our society engineered to encourage the type of introspection that leads us to our life’s purpose. Instead, we’re constantly pressed to put in extra time, go the extra mile, and take one for the team.
At first glance, these actions may seem to hold great value in the workplace. But according to one study, the intensity of one’s work, rather than the number of hours one puts in each day, is a better metric for value, productivity, and job satisfaction.
In other words…work for the sake of work doesn’t add much value to our lives, nor does it add much value to an organization.
Therefore, understanding your purpose is inevitably the best way to add value to your work and live a more meaningful professional life. But how do you accomplish this?
Here are a few insights.
Identify your Most Valuable Assets.
If you want to work with purpose…
Often, adding value through purpose begins with finding opportunities in others. This may come from you jumping on the chance to act as a mentor, helping someone with a task they are struggling with, or making a contribution to a discussion or project.
You must first identify your most valuable assets before you can leverage them in team and interdepartmental relationships. However, this is not always an easy task. Understandably, many people have trouble accepting compliments, much less identifying the best qualities within themselves.
…you’ll have to identify your strengths, first
Often, your assets can be identified by the qualities of your personality based on past experiences. Accordingly, these will have emerged throughout your personal life, in academic settings, and also in your professional life.
Are you gifted at conflict resolution and finding a compromise? Maybe you’ve always found that you like taking charge. Or, perhaps you work best when others delegate tasks to you.
Whatever your most valuable assets, if you wish to improve upon them, consider honing your empathy, communication, and emotional intelligence. Each of these represents a growing area of soft skills that brings value to the workplace through enhanced relationships.
Do the work you enjoy.
Of course, your own goals, hopes, and dreams also shape your purpose. Without these, it may prove difficult to find meaning in your work. Ask yourself the following questions to make sure you’re always striving towards work that you enjoy.
What brings your life meaning?
What do you want out of a career?
How can you combine these to enhance your personal satisfaction?
Then, after you’ve asked yourself these questions, the following activity will help you match your most valuable assets to your professional goals.
How to Identify and Use Your Assets
- Write it Down – Keep a notepad with you. Write down your professional strengths and character assets as they emerge naturally throughout the day. Consider keeping a journal to help you reflect on your day before bed. If you’re still having trouble, ask someone you trust to share what they think are your best qualities.
- Leverage Your Assets – Once you’ve identified the assets you bring to the table, find ways to choose work that highlights your skills. Then, gain mastery over those skills. Communicate their value to your colleagues through your actions and continue working towards those goals and dreams.
- Celebrate Achievement – Don’t be afraid to verbally recognize your own accomplishments and appreciate the accomplishments of others. Genuine, kind-hearted support from others remains one of the most effective tools for motivation and for further understanding one’s purpose.
Lead with Purpose
Even as a leader, micromanaging other people’s work detrimentally harms both their value and your own; not to mention counterproductivity. You do not need to know how everyone else’s job works. Rather, you just need to understand the intersections for exchanging the greatest value, and how you can support your team.
If you want to best support others, learn about your coworkers’ skillsets and how you can converge them to optimize value contribution (even if you’re not an expert on those subjects). Particularly, identify how others like to contribute value and learn how everyone’s value works together to optimize success in your organization.
Always remember, your work should be a vehicle for achieving your goals. It is not a destination.
As you consider your contributions each day, never lose sight of your own individual purpose.