Your career is important to you because it is an extension of who you are and what you do. Having a purposeful and meaningful career will make you feel that you are working towards something, and this can give you a better balance in your life. As you are working for a lot of your time, a career that means something to you can also help you feel so much more rewarded each day. So, when it comes to finding purpose and meaning in your career, what should you start focusing on first?
Establish What is Purposeful to You
To get started, you must establish what is purposeful to you. Your idea of purpose within your career may be different from someone else’s idea, so with this in mind, focus on what it means to you. For example, does purpose mean helping others in your role? Or does it mean providing a great service? What does it entail, and what does it look like to you? When you know what purposefulness is to you, then you can begin to push forward with confidence. If you are not aware of what purpose is or what is purposeful, then you may well struggle to find the right direction for your career, and this may mean you end up getting lost!
Ensure You Are in the Right Sector
Not all sectors offer roles and careers that can be meaningful and purposeful – and this is something you must realize. You may find that the role you are in is great, but then you may be coming up against a brick wall within the sector that you are in. So, start looking at the bigger picture. What industry are you in? Can you get what you want out of the industry, and can you give others what you want to? If you are not in the right sector, then you may wish to move before you become stagnant. Some industries and sectors, such as the healthcare and care industry, can automatically be more purposeful and meaningful than, say, the financial industry. When you are establishing if you are in the right sector, remember to look at all elements. Do not simply focus on financial recompense all of the time, as you will find that this will cloud your judgment.
Look At Doing Something That Helps Others
To have purpose and meaning in your career, you wish to look at doing something to help others. For instance, in the healthcare industry, this may mean you could work as a preceptor aiding new nurses. There is a large demand in the nursing industry for both new nurses and preceptors too, and you could fill these gaps. It is important to know that in your career, you do not have to directly help people to have an impact or to change lives. If the healthcare industry is not quite what you were looking for, but you are interested in helping and educating others, then why not look at the teaching profession. Knowing that you can help students progress with their lives and studies can give you both purpose and meaning, and it can also leave you feeling great too.
Always Focus on Self-Improvement
To get the career and role that you want, you need to focus on self-improvement. If you are not invested in growing yourself and in developing your offering – then what are you providing? You must focus on self-improvement to ensure that you are the best professional that you can be. If you are not regularly evaluating and improving what you are doing and which direction you are moving in, you will ultimately end up stagnant. It is also important to remember that self-improvement can fall in many forms. For example, it may mean advancing your education, or then again, it may mean learning or improving skills.
Set Both Visions and Goals
When you are working throughout the day and even throughout the week in your role/career, you can find that you become disillusioned. When you are disillusioned, you are simply going through the motions, and this will mean that you will struggle to see where purpose exists within your career. To ensure that this does not take hold (or happen to you), then focus on setting visions and goals as and where you can. Short-term goals that are formed alongside long-term visions can put you in a good position for a career that is both meaningful and purposeful. Of course, when you are setting visions and goals, you need to be sure that they are relatable and achievable. If you are setting far-reaching goals and visions, then you will end up stretching yourself too far, and this will affect your well-being both within your role (and outside of it too).
Have Clarity and Direction
You can quickly fall into the trap of going through the motions within your role or career, and this is when problems appear and then escalate. To ensure that this does not happen within your career, you must be sure that you can retain both clarity and direction. Clarity will allow you to see what you want to offer and why, and direction will help you to ensure that you are always moving towards your visions and goals. When you have clarity, you know what you want to give to others within your career, and you also know what expectations you have to meet (and surpass).
Focus on Advancing Yourself
To get the most (and the best) out of your career, you must focus on advancing yourself. If you are not prepared to advance yourself, then you will end up stagnant and stuck – and this is a position that you do not want to be in. When it comes down to advancing yourself, you need to look at all areas of yourself – including your approach and your professional approach. As you will see through a period of self-evaluation, there is always space to advance yourself. Always potential to do more, offer more, or simply be more. So, take this on board as soon as you can because when you do, you can then offer more to your career.
Embracing Your Role and Your Responsibilities
Your career has lots of elements and facets on offer, and you must try and embrace as much as you can. When you are not fully embracing or immersing yourself in your role, then trouble can begin to brew. When you are not giving your all to your career or role, this is when you find that purpose and meaningfulness are simply not present (or not there anymore). If you are not in the career or role that you want, then make changes quickly. However, if you are in the career you want, but you just want more (or need more), then take a step back, re-evaluate what you are giving and what the role entails, and then move on where you can.
Do What You Love and Enjoy
You spend a lot of your life at work, and if you are not loving and enjoying what you are doing, then how can your work be meaningful? Of course, there will be those days when you are not enjoying the role as much as you should, but on the whole, these should be minimal and sporadic. If you are experiencing a distaste for your role each day, then you know it is time to make changes. If you are not doing what you love and enjoy, then look at the role you are doing and the industry or sector within which you work. For instance, you may find that the healthcare sector is rewarding, but the role you are in is not giving you back all that you need.
The Importance of Reflection
Your career and the path to purposeful and meaningful roles all start with a period of reflection. When you regularly undertake periods of self-reflection, you see clearly where you need to change, grow and even develop. Reflection matters, and when you are pushing your career and even looking at career growth or development – it matters more than ever. Reflection (at least once every few months) will allow you to make sure that you are doing the best for yourself and your career. Stopping and taking a step back for reflection can help you to see if you are on the correct path or not. There is no point in simply steaming ahead and pushing ahead if you are not going down the route which is giving your purpose and meaning.
You deserve career satisfaction, and you deserve contentment within your career. If you are not currently getting this, or even feeling like this, then start being proactive. Do not be only reactive to the situation. Take control, be proactive about what you want to change, and then set about making it happen. If you simply wait on the sidelines for change to happen, you will find that you are waiting for a long time.
Subscribe to Jebiga for a dose of the best in gear, design, rides, tech and adventure.