Today, what is your purpose?
Every evening, when I see my children after school I asked them the same type of questions, in no particular order: “What was the best part of the day?”, “Who made you laugh?”, “Who did something kind?” and “What did you do to help others?”
And just recently; my son (almost 8) asked me, “Mom, what was the best part of your day?” “What did you do to help someone?” So, I gave it a moment’s thought and responded.
Well Bud, actually – the best part of my day was before a meeting started when I was listening to another woman talk about her Mom. My co-worker was explaining a need for time off because her mom was sick and she wanted to be by her side and help take care of her. I could relate to the woman because Grammie was sick last year and I knew how important time was to show love and support to someone in need. I shared empathy with the woman by realizing what she was going through was not easy and that she was in a place where she could use support. So, at that time I think I also helped her…I told her some of the best advice I received when I was taking care of my mom was to understand emotions are going to come, be gentle with yourself, be ok where you are, and take things one day at a time. My co-worker looked me in the eyes and smiled… touched my arm and said thank you. That reassured me, my compassion & empathy was helpful.
After sharing that time with my Son, I realized further – the two minute conversation with my co-worker before our meeting started had nothing to do with my ‘job’. It had nothing to do with the reason I wake up and go to work but when I was asked; it was the best part of my day. So, I pondered the scenario further… Why? Why was that the best part of my day?
It did not take me long to realize the answer to that question… because it was Real. It was not superficial and it did not lack meaning. It was authentic, honest, kind, and human – totally based from the heart. It made me feel my purpose for the day was to go to work and help support someone else.
What is purpose?
Purpose – as I would define it is something you achieve when you give beyond yourself, when you do something for someone else – that is not just about you and improves the greater good.
Of course you could come up with numerous definitions for purpose but I feel in 2017 we have birthed a new generation and slowly evolved as a society that is more and more in touch with their need for purpose. Asking, “what is my purpose” and “how do I achieve purpose”? After all, companies around the globe are struggling to find the magic key which attracts and retains top talent because millennials are searching for purpose.
Your personality, your likes and dislikes, and your authentic self are all factors required to finding your purpose. Being authentically you means being truthful and honest with yourself first and foremost and then demonstrating what makes you spark, what makes you fully-alive, and what you cannot live without. In short:
- Start with Self-awareness: be able to reflect upon your thoughts, how you feel and how you act.
- Recognize your strengths and what you value: what comes natural, what are you best at?
- Apply your strengths and values to whatever it is you ‘do’.
- Consider your ‘job’, Relationships, and the way you perceive your life
Where is your focus?
Each evening I deliberately ask my children the same type of questions for many reasons. They are all focused on optimism, gratitude, or service. The questions reveal great things about the day but more importantly emphasize behaviors of an excellent human being. When you repeatedly focus on things to be happy about, thankful for or ways to be of service; you train your brain to look for more of the same.
Happiness is developed by realizing the best of any situation.
“What was the best part of your day?”
Laughter is the easiest way to break down barriers, and make light-hearted connections.
“Who made you laugh?”
Showing empathy, compassion, or kindness builds a trusting environment
And a world we would prefer to live in.
“Who did something kind?”
Beyond showing up or completing the tasks –
What did you do to help others?
Today, what was your purpose?