Most people don't know their purpose. Is it valuable? Many don't even think about it. Or, at times, it's condescendingly viewed as a "feel good" perk--nice to have but not essential to the good life.

In reality, though, discovering your purpose in life can be one of the absolute keys to happiness and fulfillment. Purpose can be so motivating and energizing, it becomes a powerful tool for navigating our career decisions and living successfully.

When I talk about identifying your purpose with your work, it's specifically associated with the impact you are making with the work that you are doing. The effect you have on your clients, colleagues, customers or society. That impact should create a heart centered click within you and give you the sense that you are doing what you are meant to be doing in the world.

Here is why it matters:

1.You will experience endless motivation and energy at work

Dan Pink, author of Drive, says that motivation comes from having autonomy, mastery and purpose. Tying your work to a personal mission will generate a well of energy that can keep you going in both the good and challenging times.

2.You become an opportunity magnet

Knowing our purpose and sharing it succinctly with others makes it easier for you to connect with the right people at the right time. Sallie Krawcheck, Chair of Ellevate Network and Ellevate Asset Management (once CEO to Merrill Lynch and Smith Barney) says, "Networking is the No. 1 unwritten rule of success in business." Our own clarity of purpose insures that others recognize it easily and match us to the right 'network' of people and places. Also, when we're fulfilled in our purpose and know what we do best, we're happier. People are drawn to others who are inspired and happy--and that connects us to opportunities.

3. Getting your dream job is easier 

If we know our purpose, then we know what kind of work is most fulfilling. For example, my purpose is helping others create work that motivates and inspires them. What this tells me is any job where I am helping people improve their work lives will be fulfilling. I've built my own business around my purpose, but there are plenty of companies where my purpose would be a great fit too--those whose mission statements focus on people and on keeping their employees happy. If you know your purpose lies is in saving the earth, finding new opportunities for struggling business owners, or helping disenfranchised people lead healthier lives, you can more easily find the job that helps you fulfill it.

Most of us have had profound moments in our lives. They are clues to defining our purpose. If we can, in some way, help someone else with a challenge we have intimate experience with, we can begin to understand what brings us the most happiness and joy.

Purpose is something that can be hard to see--and yet, its usually right under our noses. Make figuring it out a priority. Then watch how knowing your purpose will dramatically increase your joy and success.

Published on: Feb 24, 2015