The key to happiness at workBy Megan Dalla-Camina | Dec 20, 12 07:47 AM
Forget the what it's about the why
We most often focus on the ‘what’ of work. What we have to get done, what our boss needs next, what we need to do for our team to help them succeed. But we don’t often stop to think about why we do things, or why we are even in our job to begin with.
Most of us want to build a career that we absolutely love – work that you cannot wait to get to every day; that you leap out of bed for, filled with anticipation and excitement for all that your day will bring. But how do you find that spark? A really important part is finding your purposeful path.
So, where are you?
So, let’s start with where you are. How do you currently view your work? Do you view it as a job, something you have to front up to every day to pay the bills? Where is your focus? Is it on acquiring skills, gaining power and self-esteem, and crawling your way up the ladder? When you are feeling most alive in your work, what are you doing? When you feel useful, who are you helping? What work could you do that you would never want to stop, that you would never quit talking about, and that you would do without earning a single cent? Answer those questions and you will get a glimpse (or a massive big lightning bolt message) of what your purpose is. Getting real about this is really important, so you have a real view of where you are, not a skewed picture of how you would like your world to look. Look at where you are first, and then you can build a picture of where you want to be.
Choose your own path
You don’t need to be Oprah to have a purpose. And it doesn’t need to be grand. It just needs to be you. Authentically you. When you are on purpose, you are on your own path. But getting your feet on the right path can sometimes be harder than you think. When we are tied up in our busy-ness – working hard to make money, pay the bills, or get ahead – we can so easily get lost on a road that looks nothing like what we thought it would, and doesn’t lead to where we thought it would either. You know it doesn’t feel quite right. You know it’s not tapping into your passion, you know you aren’t using your strengths, or working in a way that is aligned to your values, and it’s just not lighting your fire as it could be.
But when you don’t listen to that thing we call intuition – your gut, your inner knowing – it is really easy to just keep going, push the discomfort down (way, way down) and ignore the fact that you are not on purpose. That you are walking on someone else’s path. That you are not being authentic to who you are, and what you really truly want to be doing with your career (and, oh yes, that small thing called your life).
Getting Practical - Finding your purpose
So what do we do about it? For a practical approach to finding your purpose, check out the chapters on passion, strengths and purpose in Getting Real About Having It All. But in the meantime, be still for a few moments and think about this. What did you want to do with your life, before you were told what to do or before life and practicality took over? If you can get quiet enough and think back to who you were then, and what you dreamt about, you may tap into something that was purposeful for you.
Or just ask yourself this question: Is this moving me further down my purposeful path? If you can answer a big ‘yes’ (or even a hell yeah), you are on purpose, so keep going. If your answer is ‘no’, then look at your motivation for what you are doing. When you are working on purpose, you have a burning desire to do what you do. If you’re not feeling that fire, it’s time for a rethink.
Staying the course
Once you find your purpose, you need to stay the course. You have to find your success on your own terms. Stay true to your plan. You can look around at people who are doing amazing things and get disheartened that someone else has done it first, said it first, made it first or written it first. It doesn’t matter. You have your own path to walk on. It is your career, and you have a unique purpose to fulfill. Don’t get swayed by looking at what others are doing, and compare yourself to their progress. The only path that matters is the one you are on. Stay true.
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Megan Dalla-Camina is a strategist, speaker, author and coach passionate about creating positive change. Through her journey from crazy sick workaholic to thriving wellness warrior, she loves helping women create the career and life they love, and live it well. With Masters degrees in both Business and Wellness (Positive Psychology) she gets the science of thriving as well as the practical application. Megan was recently named one of the ‘Hot 40’ in Australia’s Prevention magazine. Her first book, Getting Real About Having It All, is out now through Hay House.