What’s Your Higher Purpose? Do You Still Have One?

What’s Your Higher Purpose? Do You Still Have One?

Think back a few years ago to the moment when you decided what your career path or life work would be. Perhaps it was the day you declared your college major or when you were offered your first job. Is what you are doing now what you expected to be doing two or five or ten or more years later?  Did you set out with a purpose—with a higher purpose? Has that changed?

You may now work for a nonprofit (a for-purpose) organization, and, on a daily basis, be involved in helping to meet their mission and mandate. Yet, at times, progress seems slow, or it’s hard to see the change you are working towards. Or you may now work in a business setting, but you try to volunteer your time and talent to help a community agency or program reach their goals.

If you chose a very definite career path, you have spent years obtaining the necessary skills and credentials for what you do. For example, maybe you always wanted to be a teacher, or a doctor, or an architect. Even when your formal training was complete, there were still choices to be made that had an impact on your purpose. You could teach in a private school or one in the inner city. You could open a private practice or spend time working in a third world country. Opportunities were, and still are, everywhere, but so, too, are competing realities like student debt, aging parents, health concerns, or family commitments.

Most days, most of us are simply focused on getting through the day, managing our to-do lists, and meeting our work and family obligations. That higher purpose we started with is still there, but it may seem a bit dim.

We all recognize how difficult it is to maintain enthusiasm and commitment over the long haul. That’s why we are grateful for leaders who inspire us and those who support our work and change efforts. If, however, you find yourself questioning your current situation or lack of success, it might be time to consider if, why, or when your focus or your goals changed. By necessity, the dreams and goals you had in college may have to be refined, refocused, or replaced, and that’s ok. What’s most important is that you can still identify a higher purpose—a desire to do meaningful work and to give back in whatever ways you can.
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