Are you feeling the pressure to find a fulfilling job or career as we begin a new year? The New Year blues kick in for many and it’s no coincidence that the first Monday back is one of the busiest job searching days of the year. Yet, a knee-jerk response to being dissatisfied with your job or disillusioned with your career won’t solve the problem in the longer-term. The grass may be greener temporarily, but the reasons for jumping ship are likely to resurface again. That’s leaping without learning. Here’s how to learn to leap with purpose and on purpose.

Developing your purpose

What drives and motivates us is unique to each person. Your starting point is to understand what gets you out of bed in the morning and where you thrive at your best more of the time. You can do that by:

  • Personal reflection on past experiences and personality assessments (what makes me tick)
  • Feedback from other people on how they see and experience you (my impact)
  • Testing yourself through new experiences, and reflecting again (my potential)
  • Identifying your personal values (what matters to me the most)
  • Knowing the type of people and places that best release your energy and commitment (my motivating conditions)
  • Understanding what you are good at and love doing (my strengths and talents)
  • Developing and adopting a growth mindset (my sense of possibility)
  • Shifting your attitude from ‘what can I get?’ to ‘what can I offer?’ (my focus)

These ideas are about developing a purpose. You recognise it when your contribution becomes meaningful to you and that what you do matters. It’s your driving motivation. For example, my purpose is about helping young professionals so they have fulfilling working lives. Helping others, and the satisfaction it brings, lie at the core of meaningful work.

Your will to succeed depends on how heartfelt and compelling your purpose is. Knowing your purpose can emerge from within, from your societal circumstances and from experience. It might be there internally or external factors light the fire.

Look at Malala, the teenager shot by the Taliban. She wears her purpose on her sleeve.

“My goal is not to get Nobel Peace Prize… My goal is to get peace and my goal is to see education of every child.” Malala Yousfzai. 

The benefits of being purpose-driven

A study by McKinsey found that purpose has the greatest impact on motivation. Yes, more than money. Ironically, other research suggests living your purpose can make your better off financially!

When you have a purpose, it energises you, provides focus, creates urgency, maintains momentum and fuels your actions. Consequently, being purpose-driven can

  • Make you feel more certain in an uncertain world
  • Act as a rudder to help navigate the uncharted waters of your career
  • Be an anchor that stops you losing your way in life’s rough seas
  • Reflect what you love being and doing

Helping others to succeed

“The most meaningful way to succeed is to help others to succeed.” Adam Grant

Imperative is a company with a vision of a workforce where the majority of people are purpose-oriented. Check out it’s free self-assessment to get a head start on exploring your purpose as an individual.

Imperative’s CEO, Aaron Hurst, developed a framework of Five Levers of Social Change to power its vision. The principles work well for underpinning a purpose-driven career. Here are ways you can use them to help others succeed, show what you can offer the world, and find a more meaningful career direction. Think of examples where you have done them in the past to show employers.

  1. Changing the rules of the game – Being true to what matters to you and a game changer.
  2. Showing us what is possible – Being results-focused and a leader.
  3. Changing opinions and behaviour – Being influential and a role model.
  4. Making the impossible possible – Being courageous and determined.
  5. Exposing the truth – Being insightful, honest and ethical.

Where would you love to pull these levers if you knew you could? What will you do now? It’s up to you. You can leap without learning or you can learn to leap with purpose!

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