If your career is demanding and fast-paced, you may find yourself checking emails constantly, making calls after hours, and thinking about your duties all the time. A lot of the time we talk about blending your profession with your purpose. But for some people, that can be daunting, especially when other people in your life depend on the stability your current job offers. Fear not! This is not a 0-sum game. If you don't want or aren't ready to rethink your day job, start with these questions: who are you outside of work? What motivates you to keep going? How can you find purposeful activities in your free time?
A 2010 study published in Applied Psychology found that individuals with high levels of well-being—which involves having a sense of purpose along with a sense of control and a feeling like what you do is worthwhile—tend to live longer. Sounds to me like your life depends on your purpose! Well, maybe that’s a stretch, but finding little ways to make a difference can definitely help make your life more purposeful. Here are some ways to discover your purpose outside of work:
DONATE YOUR TIME, MONEY, OR TALENT
If there’s one thing that can help you find your sense of purpose, it is helping others. Serving others in a civic, private, or professional setting results in a stronger sense of purpose and meaning in life. The joy you get from making a difference in someone else’s life is truly like no other. That typically reflects back onto you and leads to better mental and physical well-being. This also allows you to gauge what your natural talents are and how it can truly make a difference in the lives of others or impact society and the world at large.
EXPLORE YOUR INTERESTS
Is there something that you’ve always wanted to try? Does it come up in your thoughts or conversations often? Those same activities could speak to what you enjoy and could lead you to the path of finding your purpose! When trying new activities, we tend to hesitate or resist because doing something new means getting uncomfortable, at least in the beginning. But did you know how to ride a bicycle the first time you did? You kept on doing it until you learned to master the art of pedalling! It's the same thing with trying new things. There may be hiccups along the way but you may find something new that resonates with your values and purpose. Doing it afraid and uncertain is the only way to start doing something new!
MEET LIKE-MINDED PEOPLE AND REVISIT RELATIONSHIPS
Typically, when your work life is your priority, your personal life tends to suffer. There can be balance! The people that surround you like your peers and family members can be a beacon for what you gravitate to. Spending quality time with other people outside of the work environment can open up a different world and really allow you to step into greater things. Your immediate circle tends to be able to see the things you’re good at, what you truly are passionate about and can help figure out what truly serves you and motivates you! For me, whenever I have any important decision or I’m in limbo with my options, my immediate response is to turn to my circle of love!
You can also consider finding new spaces and making new friends. Now, I know it's tough for a lot of us adults to make new friends, so that's what makes the communities where you look for new circles so important. If you're interested in meeting people in the diversity, equity, and inclusion space, check out our How to Be an Ally Virtual Summit, hosted by yours truly! It's a great 3-day experience where you could meet a new friends passionate about creating inclusive work environments. There are many other virtual events happening all the time, as well! Try looking around on LinkedIn, Meetup.com, or EventBrite to get inspired.
For many people overwork is comfortable because it is what they’re used to. The comfort zone has never felt better than it does at this moment. What isn’t comfortable is exploring who you are and what purpose you have outside the office walls. To truly live a life that is fulfilling, step out of that routine you’re used to!