“I can't just leave my job and family to follow my dream!” My client was in tears. Her heart craved purpose but she felt trapped and defeated.
She's not alone. Most of us yearn to make a difference. It's part of our human nature. We're social animals so we're wired to want to support our tribe and do our part to impact the greater good.
Living on purpose means that you're intentional in actively making a unique impact on others' lives.
When Josh and I got married 4 years ago, my wedding dress was super low cut in back. I tried every expensive lingerie store I could think of and couldn't find the right bra. Then just a few days before the wedding, I went to Victoria's Secret and the sales associate gently took my hand and showed me the perfect product. I jumped up and down, hugging her. That day, she lived a greater purpose: Me feeling great on my wedding day.
My dear friend Bonnie passed away of breast cancer last year. She and I were once at a retreat where we shared our deepest body shame. With tears streaming down her face, she slowly took off her shirt and showed me her flat chest where her breasts had once been. A lump filled my throat as I told her how beautiful she is. She shared how she once spent a day shopping for pretty bras and panties and how it made her feel like a beautiful woman.
Fast forward, I was recently facilitating Victoria's Secret executives in a half-day workshop on Flourishing. I shared Bonnie's story and the room fell silent. “What's your purpose?” I asked them. “Not your sales goals or manufacturing goals. From the highest, most elevated place, what do you want your customers to think of you? How do you want them to feel when in your store or wearing your products?”
“Beautiful,” one person whispered.
“Inspired.” said another.
They continued to paint a gorgeous, heartfelt, powerful and meaningful vision. They imagined how women's lives can be forever changed through their work. They dreamt bigger and more expansively than ever before. My heart soared with inspiration and excitement.
Afterwards, someone came up to me in tears saying, “I have a teenage daughter, so this really hit home.” Living on purpose at work can make a difference at home too. We talked about how the team can make a huge difference for girls and women globally, just by thinking of purpose every day at work.
You can too. Ask yourself and your team:
- What's our bigger mission here?
- How do we make a difference in the lives of others?
- How can I make a difference right here and now?
According to Gallup, only 30% of the U.S. workforce is actively engaged and excited about their work, but when we work with purpose, that changes. According to a 2016 LinkedIn survey, employees who are purpose-focused outperform their colleagues on almost every metric.
Put simply, with purpose, you'll be more successful and enjoy your work more. With purpose, you'll enjoy your life more.
This doesn't mean that you give up on your other dreams. On the contrary – purpose in one area of life leads to purpose in every area of life.If you have a dream of writing your memoir, someone needs to hear your story. If you secretly yearn to paint, then your unique vision is meant to be shared. If you wish you could go back to school to teach, then one day you need to. We only get this one life to fulfill our deepest dreams.
And in the meantime, while you create a plan toward your heart desires, you can begin living on purpose right here, right now, right where you are. It's not either/or. It's both/and. And you can begin today.
In fact, living on purpose NOW is the fastest route to living on purpose in life. So how will you live on purpose today? Post in the comments below!