Wright Foundation | March 30, 2016

How To Love
What You Do
(What If Your Job
Was More Than
Just a Paycheck?)

Do you slog off to work every day just to bring home a paycheck? Instead, what if you were to make just enough to cover your bills and take your partner out to dinner once in a while, but love what you do every single day?

Which option sounds better? Truth is, if your job only serves as a way to bring home a paycheck, no matter how much money you make, it will never be enough. You’ll always be unhappy at work. On the flipside, if you truly love what you do, you’ll feel alive and fulfilled, so you’ll be focused on much more than just your next paycheck.

Oftentimes, we feel like we might as well throw up our hands and go through the motions in our careers and in our lives. It’s easy to go to work every day, do what you’re supposed to do, and come home. You can punch a timecard and bring home a paycheck, but are you really working toward a higher purpose?

When you reach the end of your life, will you look back and say, “I’m proud of all I did for humanity”…or will you feel regret?

Finding Your Purpose: Going WAY Beyond the Hollow “Mission Statement”

Before you reach “success,” you have to define what success means to you. We talk a lot about learning to lead from wherever you are. What we mean by that statement is that we’re ALL capable of leadership, whether we’re new to the job or a well-seasoned CEO.

Becoming a visionary leader requires you to unlock the depth of your personality and drive. You must understand and articulate your purpose—“the why” of what you’re trying to do. Not only do you need to have a clear understanding of your purpose, mission and vision, values and goals, but you must also be able to share it with your employees and/or fellow team members.

The majority of personal mission statements are hollow. They lack intent. They don’t take into account the full scope of human experience or our spectrum of strengths and weaknesses. Too many mission writing exercises insist we only examine one side of our personality—our wants and desires. We’re imagining what we think we “should be,” rather than assessing our abilities and aptitudes and exploring areas we may need to develop.

I can have a mission to change the world through theoretical astrophysics, but I need to be realistic about my abilities, experiences, and in this case, my intellectual capacity and education.

When it comes to finding and defining your purpose, THINK BIG. Is your purpose to create stronger families in your community? Is your purpose to bring more authenticity and honesty to journalism? Is your purpose to help more women escape domestic abuse?

Your purpose is your own. Find it, focus on it, and live it. Every day.

Escape the Trap: Love What You Do AND Earn a Living

Time and time again, I see people trapped with golden handcuffs. They make money, they look good, and they’re “successful” on paper, but on a very basic level they’re lacking satisfaction and happiness. They feel they can’t move on because they can’t let go of the money. We all love having abundance and feeling like our needs are well met, but if it’s only about the money, it will never feel like enough. You’ll keep spending more to try to keep up.

Like King Midas, you’ll end up locked in a prison of your own success: mortgages, bills, even vacations—but without purpose and devoid of joy.

I see others who have the vision, the drive, and the heart, but they forget they also need to find a way to make their company turn a profit. If you have a plan with no vision, you’ll soon find yourself left spinning your wheels. Or, you can have a great big vision and want to change the world, but if you can’t feed yourself and meet the needs of your family, you might need to reassess.

Fulfillment lies in your ability to unlock your higher purpose and balance it with your grand plans. It’s all about finding that sweet spot: the point where you tap into your full potential—when you become an asset to those around you AND fulfill your needs.

Alfred Lord Tennyson said, “I am a part of all I have met.” When it comes to unlocking your purpose and truth, you have to understand and factor in all of your experiential pieces. This isn’t always pleasant. It means growth, hard work, and self-examination…all things most of us don’t like to do.

Purpose is the Roadmap to Fulfillment

Purpose can be difficult to define for many people, but it’s so worthwhile—finding your purpose can allow you to achieve a whole new understanding of how you approach life.

I hear from people over and over who tell me they are successful. They say they’re doing well in their careers. For all intents and purposes they should feel excited to go to work every day, but instead they feel empty. They blame those in their life for shortchanging them. They blame their education for falling short and not providing the direction they needed.

It’s like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz: the answer was inside us all along. The roadmap to get to where you’re going, to understand the joy of intentionality, and to become a true blessing to your customers, clients, coworkers, bosses, and employees is to discover your purpose.

From newbie employee to CEO, those who are driven by purpose are excited to come to work. They’re eager to make each meeting their own—not to be the center of attention, but to own the room and help everyone around them discover their vision. They’re positive. They understand their limitations and challenges, and they’re actively working to overcome them. They are growth-focused.  They serve those around them and make the world a better place by bringing out the best in others every day.

To continue the conversation, unlock your leadership potential, and discover ways to bring out your best self, click here to join us for our next More Life Training.
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Wright Living is a division of the Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential, a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Living performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.