Everyone is engaged in their work on day one, ready to tackle all the amazing things they’re going to achieve together. However, after months and years in a role we can lose sight of why we cared about that work in the first place – our purpose at work, which tends to burn away as we get bogged down in processes and politics. The good news is that if we can uncover deeper purpose in our work, then we can rekindle our engagement and reach our potential. In this article, I explain how you can rediscover your purpose at work.
To reconnect with what matters, we need to ask ourselves who we are and what matters. A great way to answer these questions is through journaling. When you start thinking about what matters most in your life, you’ll find that it relates in some way back to how you think and how you live. When connecting on a deeper level with our journal entries, we can see where changes need to be made.
It’s easy to think that other people are just a little bit more engaged in their jobs than we are, but it turns out that disengagement is actually pretty pervasive. Survey data indicate that roughly half of employees report being not engaged or actively disengaged from their work. Only one-third report being engaged. Our own research has also found that many managers fail to cultivate an environment where meaningful work happens naturally. In fact, only about 20% of employees say they have access to opportunities for learning and development on a daily basis. And less than 10% say they get positive feedback on a regular basis. The good news is that there are things you can do to create a culture of engagement in your organization. These include making sure everyone understands how their work fits into larger organizational goals, encouraging autonomy and collaboration, creating opportunities for growth and skill building, providing clear performance expectations, connecting with others who share similar values and helping employees understand how their contributions impact others outside of the organization.
To identify your barriers, ask yourself some of these questions: What time is it? Where am I? How did I get here? Am I doing what I want to be doing? Why am I here? Who’s paying me for my work (your employer or yourself)? What do they expect from me? What am I expecting from myself and my work? Am I succeeding at meeting those expectations of myself? Do those answers change if you add in five years after each one of them.
The key word here is focus. Don’t get overwhelmed by everything there is to do in a day. It’s tempting when you’re staring down an endless to-do list, but that’s often because we’re going about setting goals all wrong. That’s why it pays to think about what matters most instead of just checking things off our lists.
We have to create an environment that allows purpose at work.
Read what Gartner has to say about Purpose and Work
Want to hire Joshua to bring purpose to your team? Contact him here.