A recent survey asked people how inspired they were by the missions of big companies such as Apple and Facebook, nonprofits and even social movements. Although the results were interesting, the most unsettling numbers (and sadly not surprising) came from the percentage of employees that felt aligned to their own company's mission.
Only 42% of Americans said they felt that their employer's values matched their own...and only 14% said they had a strong alignment of values with their employer. Businesses have an amazing opportunity to use this information to create a motivated, loyal and engaged environment, but more importantly, employees should take the time to make sure that their work is aligned with their personal purpose. If it's not, they'll surely be in that 14%.
Finding your purpose can be a major driving force in achieving fulfillment at work. And when I talk about finding your purpose in work, I'm particularly talking about the impact you are making with the work you're doing - the effect you're having on your clients, coworkers or society. The exact things that are setting the specific brands apart in the survey mentioned earlier.
When you're aligned with your purpose, you'll feel that you're doing exactly what you're meant to be doing in the world. You'll feel motivated and energized to tackle the difficult projects and stay engaged and loyal.
Here are a few ways to discover your purpose:
1. Pay attention to the moments when you feel most fulfilled: Why is that moment particularly fulfilling? What is the direct impact that you're having on someone else at that moment? Once you have the answer, you'll be able to be more proactive with creating more of that impact, which means you are in control of your fulfillment or lack thereof.
2. Look to your past: What were some of the core emotional challenges you faced consistently through your childhood or the first part of your life? Is there a particular core emotional challenge that really strikes a nerve with you? Once you identify what that is, that is the core of your purpose. When you help other people with that same challenge that is what creates the never-ending fulfillment that most of us are seeking.
Try using both of these tactics to get to the root of the impact that is most fulfilling to you. Once you see that, then having purpose and fulfillment is something that you can control rather than always feeling that it's fleeting and based on luck. The end goal? To feel that you are having an impact the majority of the time that is personally gratifying to you.