Busy professionals often feel anxious because far too many are not acting on purpose, or their values do not align with the organization. When you know your purpose and values, decision-making becomes easier because you have an automatic filter you can measure potential outcomes against.
Without purpose or values, you become susceptible to whim, looking for anything offered in hopes of stumbling across something meaningful.
Demagoguery preys on this weakness. Fueled by anger and insecurity, they find those with no sense of belonging and harvest their resources for their ego. This is a far cry from acting with meaning, conviction, and aligning with other driven professionals with complementary values.
Confidence creates serendipity. When you operate with a purpose always in the forefront of your mind and know your values, you multiply the chances of having happy accidents and chance meetings that support you and your pursuits. This is a fun place to be.
If you are uncertain of your purpose, and everyone is from time to time, do not continually beat yourself up. Instead, make a plan to find it. Start with a problem.
What problem would you like to work on?
Something will come to mind. Make that your purpose for the year ahead. Don’t stall yourself, wondering if it is right, or good enough, or acceptable. It is your new purpose, and it is better than no purpose.
Build a theme around your goal to help keep your focused. This will become your personal mantra, a trigger, that may only make sense to you; that will keep you focused on your mission for the next twelve months. It can be a few words that you mumble to yourself when you wake up, remind yourself throughout the ups and downs of the day, and recite when you lay your head on the pillow. It must speak to you, and preferably be uniquely your own.
Personally, I like using just a few simple words. It is a moment of zen amongst the cacophony of tables and graphs that usually surround my data-driven world. If you are stuck, try this prompt
- Pick one of your values.
- Pick one of your skills.
- Pick one of your aspirations.
Put them together and voila, you have a theme. Don’t like it? Choose different words. It is your theme; it does not have to fit the expectations of others. It only has to work for you.