Purpose: Find Yours (Part 2)

A career low point was the catalyst for finding my purpose as described in last week’s post: Purpose: Find Yours. Importantly, a low point not driven by a negative event, but a celebrated life changing acquisition.

As the next step in finding your purpose, recognize that if you don’t have purpose, even positive events feel empty.

To be clear, finding purpose doesn’t mean at the end you’re going to set off to the Himalayas, quit your job and join a commune. This is so much simpler. Purpose sits at the center of your life. It’s your daily gift to give. And it’s as powerful at home as it is at work.

Reminder of the three activities that will lead you to success:

  1. Conversations with your network
  2. Reflection
  3. Writing

Exercise #2:

  1.  Conversations with your network 
    • Look at your LinkedIn profile and take note of the skill endorsements your network has given you. These are ranked from most frequent to least based on an algorithm.
    • What are the top three skill endorsements? These are your strengths. Your gifts. What other people that have worked closely with you appreciate about you. 
    • Do you have endorsements for every job on your LinkedIn profile? If not, start asking. This is a great way to spark conversations with your network. The other benefit is that you will again get insights and themes into your strengths. The strengths that lead you to your purpose.
    • For both exercises, write down themes and patterns. 
  1. Reflection 
    • A book recommendation: StrengthsFinder 2.0 by Tom Rath. I have found this to be the best tool to discover your top 5 strengths. The book is a quick 30 minute read followed by a 20 minute online question/answer session using a scale of agree to disagree.
      • The key is to not overthink your answers. Read and answer. No second guessing. No trying to trick the system. Answer with the first thought that comes in your head.
      • I highly recommend buying the All 34 strengths assessment. This allows you to see all of your 34 strengths in rank order. Through live coaching sessions you will realize you can be good at something but it is not a strength. Your top 15 strengths give you energy. Your bottom 15 strengths drain your energy.
      • The amazon book summary says it all: Do you have the opportunity to do what you do best every day? Chances are, you don't. All too often, our natural talents go untapped. From the cradle to the cubicle, we devote more time to fixing our shortcomings than to developing our strengths.
    • If you have been through professional development courses such as DiSC or Myers-Briggs, revisit the output and materials. Again you will see themes around who you are, how you handle things and strengths. 
    • Reflect on the results. Write down themes and patterns. If you don’t like an outcome, ask yourself why? Instead of not wanting to be a certain way, turn your thinking around. You can’t change who you are but you can change how you use yourself!
  1. Writing 
    • Update your resume. This exercise will help you dig into past projects, wins and metrics. You’ll get good at summarizing key wins – handy in introductions to new people, networks, coworkers and interviews. I found some great templates for under $20 here. 
    • Update your LinkedIn profile. It’s your digital resume. A compliment to your paper resume, not a replica. Use LinkedIn as your SEO/SEM version of your resume. Your personal brand. A resume that can bring to life projects, videos and websites with live links. 
    • Are you starting to see themes develop? Write them down.
Now you’re close to having your personal narrative. The story that brought you to today.

To close this series, next week will be all about writing. Prompted writing. Writing that will make you think and reflect on the previous exercises. You will edit, revise and repeat several times. And then a breakthrough will occur… your one sentence purpose statement.

Until then, keep doing the hard work.