How to Live Your Life Purpose

By: Alex Nosa Ihama

Let's face it, whether appropriate or not, our career has a lot to do with the first impression people have about us. In fact, people intentional or unintentional judge us based on general opinions of the work we do or where we work. Our career is a conversation starter, a door opener, and our lifeline. Come to think of it, though, the average person who goes to bed at 10:00 P.M. wakes up at 6:00 A.M., leaves home for work at 7, arrives at 8, and then leaves work at about 5 to arrive back home at 6:00 P.M. This means that you and I spend about 75% of our 16 wake hours pursuing our careers, besides the time we spend thinking or talking about it even while away from work!
As a Life Coach, I have been privileged to work with many people all over the world to successfully enhance the skills and competencies that they require to retain and excel in their demanding jobs, deal with very challenging boss, coworkers and situations, get the desired promoted, or transition to their longstanding dream career. In the process, I learnt the following:

1)We are generally going to be as happy in life as we are in our career, for if what we spend so much time doing is not aligned with our Life Purpose, we labour in pain. Yes, some people may be well paid, but they will never feel well if their hearts are not in what they do.

2)We spend a larger portion of our wake time pursuing our career, thus placing it akin with every other important aspect of our lives. We cannot completely separate other areas of our lives from our career, but MUST ALWAYS ensure the APPROPRIATE balance between them.

3)If we consistently complain (inwardly or outwardly) about our career, place of work, boss, coworkers, projects and everything related to our career, we will never progress in it. In fact, this attitude is a recipe for failure not only in the current career but in every other future career. Like Martin Luther King once said, "If a man hasn't found something he would die for, he is not fit to live". This is applicable to your family, values, spirituality and yes, your career as well.

4)God created us for specific careers based on the strengths and weaknesses he graciously bestowed upon us. While we may sometimes have to go through other jobs to finally find our Life Purpose, we only achieve the highest level of job satisfaction when our career is what we were created for. Basically, if you won't do your current job for free, were money not an issue, you are probably in the wrong career!

Without considering the impact of living a dream versus fulfilling a designated purpose, most people seek jobs that they may not have been created for - because of the associated prestige and income, while parents innocently groom their children from infancy for jobs that may hardly/never bring fulfillment to their children. This is why survey results indicate consistent declines in job satisfaction rates. This is why there the number of people who wake up in the morning without looking forward to the job they spend 75% of their wake time is increasing! According to Mark Sullivan, "To find a career to which you are adapted by nature, and then to work hard at it, is about as near to a formula for success and happiness as the world provides. One of the fortunate aspects of this formula is that, granted the right career has been found, the hard work takes care of itself. Then hard work is not hard work at all."

Those who are in the wrong careers find slight excuses to stay away from work. They complain about their boss, coworkers and everyone at work. Change is harder for them to adapt to because they feel threatened by everything. They shout for joy on Fridays and moan aloud on Mondays. Even while at work, they could barely wait to leave before their regular, paid shift is over. Some claim to be 'very busy' with 'work-related' activities that seem to yield no results, and then wonder why recognitions and promotions seem to always pass over them. In the words of Apostle John, "They are alive but have a reputation of being dead". In the words of Aristotle, "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit".

On the other hand, the top reason why people excel in their careers is because they enjoy doing it. It is because they have a passion for it. It is because they are enthusiastic about it, and fully committed to doing it with all their heart regardless of the pay. If your career is aligned with your purpose, you will be happier by 75% everyday; and very soon, the money which may have been tying you to a job you have no interest in, will become inconsequential.

My personal approach to work is this:

I go to work looking forward to creating a great day for myself, regardless of whatever happens. I make every effort to truly respect my leaders and every other person at work regardless of any attitude that a chaotic day may be displaying through them.

I assume every project with passion, quickly making it part of my career purpose, for this helps me to generate the energy and enthusiasm needed to make things happen. To protect my integrity, I consistently apply more than the due diligence in every situation. I have made "going the extra mile" part of my daily routine because of the mere possibility that some people around me may be dealing with a more overwhelming workload and family life than me.

Another part of my daily routine is to keep myself informed through every medium of communication that exists in the company as well as external sources so that I am able to share knowledge with everyone else. Other key values include Trust, Teamwork and Accountability.

Instead of saying, "I don't know", I commit myself to finding out the answer. Instead of saying or even thinking, "This does not concern me", I choose to be loyal to my employer by shepherding the matter to where it belongs. Since my manager is likely busier than I am, I take initiative, keep him out of matters than I can handle, and provide him with prompt updates on my successes and challenges. Meanwhile, I am always on the alert for cues, clues and feedback on how I may be able to do things better; for I am convinced that if I wasn't created for this job, I wouldn't be this happy doing it.

Basically, like Apostle Paul, "Whatever I do, I work at it with all my heart, as if working for God, and not for people"; and God has tremendously blessed me - even through people that others may consider unpleasant. No doubt, "If you love your job, you will never have to work forever".

Life, Fear & Attitude
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