3 Tips to Finding Your Purpose at Work

Ignite May 3, 2017

3 Tips to Finding Your Purpose at Work

Brandi Will
Brandi Will joined York Solutions in 2003 and recently transitioned from Chief Marketing Officer to SVP, Program Development.

What keeps you motivated at work? What drives you to achieve success? The day-to-day grind can be overwhelming, especially when we’re expected to be connected 24/7 through our mobile devices. With all the work that needs to be done, it is so easy to fall into a trance where each and every day you just show up and clock out with most days being productive, but not to your fullest potential. So, how do you tap into that potential? Have a purpose.

Having a purpose can sound intimidating and trite. However, I’m not talking about finding your life’s purpose, but rather your purpose at work. Find what motivates you to show up to work on a daily basis, excited about what you can achieve. It can be broken down into a daily purpose, a weekly purpose, or a monthly or a quarterly purpose, etc. What are you there to achieve?

trainEach company’s culture is different when it comes to making sure you understand your work’s purpose. However, if a company is more like ours, which started as a small business and has rapidly grown over the past several years, tripling in size, communicating that message might be getting lost in the shuffle. We used to describe our onboarding and professional development process as a fast-moving train. We barely even slowed down to bring someone aboard—it was more like reaching out our arms and waiting for them to grab our hand to pull them aboard with us. We hoped we picked the sprinter who would jump aboard and get up to speed quickly.

It’s not that we didn’t take onboarding and professional development seriously, quite the opposite; however, we were experiencing such rapid growth that we weren’t prioritizing it the way we should. While we’ve made changes, and continue to work toward creating a more supportive on boarding process, it is still worth noting that regardless of their type of on boarding process, companies are generally looking for self-starters, self-motivated, and driven individuals in today’s fast moving economy.

I believe there are three main questions to ask yourself or your team members to help find or remind yourself of your purpose at work.

  1. What are the company goals?  
    To determine your purpose at work, first, you need to understand the company’s goals and objectivepurposes. Where are they now and where do they want to go? This gives you a solid foundation from which to start.
  2. What is your role within the company?  
    Take a step back from what you do daily and reflect on the broader sense of your role. How does your role fit into achieving the company’s goals and objectives? How does your role help get the company from point A to point B? Aligning your role with the company’s plans helps to ensure your connected to the overall goals for question 3.
  3. What are the items you currently work on or should start doing in your role that can have an impact on the company’s progress towards their goals?  
    List out the items and take note of the ones that excite you the most.  Then develop your goals for yourself based upon that list and outline a plan on how you will achieve them. Schedule time to run your new plan by your leader to make sure you are on the right track. From there, create timelines and metrics and follow through with tracking your success.

Finding your purpose at work can serve to internally motivate you and help give you a new perspective on your job and role within the organization. This exercise can be done at any stage of your career, whether you’re in the same role or a new one. Regardless of the size of your organization, everyone is busy and most of the time it is difficult to get the external attention, direction, and feedback you want/need to feel connected in your work. Taking the initiative to define your work’s purpose and own your own success can pay dividends for years to come.