What is your work?

This week Vistage speaker Ken Tucker asked my groups this question: What is your work? Further, how does your work serve your purpose? And, what is the link between your personality and purpose?

Oh wow! What is my purpose? Just the thought of addressing that question is scary. We tend to go deep on questions like this when we are at a crisis moment in our lives.

For me, it was when I decided to sell the family business I had been running. I knew I was unhappy, but wasn’t sure that how I felt mattered. I couldn’t figure out how to make the strategic plan I had set years before come to fruition. My team was average to good. My best leader dropped dead of a heart attack. And, my Vistage group challenged me to go deep into myself and find my passion. It took about 6 months to get through all the layers of “shoulds”,  of upbringing, of playing it safe to figure it out. And, from there to determine that the work I wanted to do could happen through Vistage.

It is scary to do the deep work required to connect our job, our career, our work to our purpose. In my CEO group, almost everyone said that the place they spent their time was their work. They were deeply connected with their purpose at work. On the other hand, for their direct reports what they did was their career. It makes sense, doesn’t it? The owner is the owner. The owner set the directions. It is the owner’s goals and objectives to reach the owner’s plan that the owner set. Even for the CEO’s that weren’t owners, the mindset was the same.

So, for all the non-owners, there must be a connection made between their purpose and their job or career.

Millennials have been saying this for a few years now. Connect me with my purpose and I will stay. Our challenge is to connect their personality and their purpose (probably not clear to them so much either) to our work.

How would we do that? First, get clear on yourself. What is your purpose? My guess is that there is a hunger inside all of us to find our purpose. If you need help, Ken Tucker has a great book Intentional Difference that can guide you through a deep dive. Also, Simon’s Sinek’s book Start with Why explains why you should want to find your why.  If you feel resistant or have never thought of this before today, sit with it. It is both scary and exciting. If you are willing, jump in.



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image courtesy of cuisine&health.com