Every year, I like to find a different way of celebrating my favorite day: my birthday. Since I am turning 32 next month (I know…awww…), I’ve decided to share 32 revelations I have had during the course of my life about everything from life in general to business. Think of it as daily inspiration for you and therapy for me. It is a challenge for me, because I don’t think I have ever published a post everyday in the entire existence of The Aristocracy of HR. Plus, I recognize that while I am fairly generous in sharing on social media and here, I have only just scraped the surface on sharing who I am when I’m not pontificating how HR and Business can do better. Let’s use the month of March to get to know one another better. I hope at the end of the month, you walk away with something you can use in your own life or business.
Day 2 of 31- Purpose
I spoke yesterday about my mantra of not spending energy or time on people, situations, or prospects that don’t serve my purpose. I find the concept of purpose an interesting and elusive idea. When we are young, people ask us what we want to be when we grow up and we give an answer based on two possible premises: either we answer based on what we see modeled in others in our family or we answer based on the things we like at that point in our lives. As we get older, there is both this familial and societal push for us to settle in on a vocation that allows us to support ourselves financially. This societal push is perplexing because, we are essentially forced to make a decision about the trajectory of our lives at 17 or 18 years of age never being privy to the one thing that makes all the difference in being successful and enjoying your life: purpose.
In my opinion, this lack of emphasis on living with purpose has caused several generations to meander about the workforce from job to job; and in some cases career to career with no guiding principles for how they can cultivate a meaningful contribution to humanity. No wonder there are plentiful stories of unproductive and disengaged workforces. There’s no surprise that people are sailing through life in a stupor. I know people right now who are 50+ years of age -and are finally discovering the ingredients for living a purposeful life. That’s a long time to have lived, worked and expended energy on people, situations, and activities that don’t connect to the essence of who you are. We all need a focus or an objective in life and work.
Have you ever observed a family member or friend who is getting on in age? Among many things that contribute to their occasional bouts of lashing out and irritability is: losing a sense of purpose. The idea that they are no longer viable or able to be of service is often the result of their mental and physical undoing. The same holds true for people in general- we all just want to be a part of something.
I think we should expose children to the concept of having a purpose for their life. The focus doesn’t have to be linear or based on societal pressures, but it should connect to the things that are at the core of who they are. In the least abstract way, I try to explain to my kids that there is great power in doing what you really love. I understand as a parent that “what they love” maybe fleeting at this stage, but at least they are focusing on what they love in whatever moment they are in. I try to model it through my work so they don’t see me as a product of indecision, but someone who is intentional about the work I do and the life I live. My hope is that this focus evolves as they get older and they start to connect-the-dots in doing the things they are good at and have a passion for.
It isn’t enough to make a ton of money. There has to be something uniquely pleasurable and interesting about the work that we do. The intersection of having money and uniquely pleasurable work is bliss. It may sound crazy, but I have recently dedicated myself to seeking out only the initiatives, causes and work that cause my heart to race. It’s just a happier existence for me and it could be for you.
Czarina’s Lesson: Nobody should care more about how your story gets written, but you. Make sure you are in the driver seat of your life.