The Purpose Revolution
I recently took part in a roundtable discussion about Gen-Z and the future of the purpose-driven employment. It was enlightening. Being far from the ‘Gen-Z’ demographic, gaining insights into how this generation may think about work, about intention, about success ... it was a valuable conversation.
Topics of redefining success and future planning vs fulfilling your purpose were the crux of the conversation. It became quickly clear that, for this up-and-coming generation of new workers, being able to work to fulfil their purpose is paramount.
The challenges of employment in 2020 - traditional application processes, 9-5 expectations, job 'deliverables' and 'culture fit' - seemed to leave people in the conversation cold. This entrepreneurial generation are finding their own way to work, creating opportunities if they're not able to find them.
While I originally began to feel like this path carving was a way to circumvent the benefits of growing through experience, it became clear that this group aren't slacking or taking shortcuts. They’re finding their own way to work without stress by finding their fit. Working today towards what drives them rather than settling.
To Go Forward With Purpose
This revelation got me thinking. To work without stress is to live our values and principles. It is to strive for fulfillment.
Defined, purpose is:
‘The reason for which something is done or created or for which something exists.’
It's this purpose that gives you your get-up-and-go; it's a guiding light towards which you can channel your energy. It’s bigger than having a goal or a milestone.
It’s your core; the almost indestructible threads of your fabric. Importantly, too, this fabric can flex and fray and be re-sewn. It grows with us.
In beginning to understand how a new generation of entrepreneurs, creatives, and knowledge-workers are looking to cut their cloth, many questions came to mind.
- Do we know our true purpose and seek to live it, or are we learning it and defining it as we live?
- Where does our sense of purpose come from? What inspires us to define purpose for ourselves?
- Do we need to compromise on our own sense of purpose to 'fit in' with the common expectations of industry today?
- Do we feel stress in our work, in our lives, because we’re at odds with our own sense of purpose and our values?
If this new generation is driving forward with their purpose at the beginning of their working life, why do we end up coasting or living task-by-task? Why do we forget our purpose?
I'd argue that many people accept 'the tasks' in their job as their measure of success, setting aside what really drives them or what they value in a working relationship. They become locked-in to delivery and maybe feel like they're losing their sense of self (or lose it without even realising, which seems so much worse.)
I'm not saying that we must all set aside the bits of our lives, of our jobs, which don't work for us in our pursuit of fulfillment - it's not a luxury that anyone can really afford. However, we can be more mindful in how we progress through 'the list' and that we're consciously acting to hold high our values and our driving purpose.
Give yourself room to flex and grow, establishing your own values, learning what is valuable, and having space to change your mind. Holding fast to the purpose we believe we have when we're 17 or 27 isn't likely to help us when we hold something in different regard when we're 37. As we age we experience life and, as we experience life, we can inform our decisions and perspectives.
Find something which gives you purpose but also allows you to fulfil one which you have defined. If you can't find it, can you build it?