For so many people, the working week consists of a range of challenges and emotions. When Monday arrives, we are generally miserable and spend most of the day internally upset at the world that we have to be stuck in an office, a job, or a company, that we don't feel satisfied with. This dissatisfaction is shown through our language and attitude for most things that day. Once we make it through our Monday blues though, the week powers on. Tuesday still feels tough, but it’s another day down. Wednesday, the mid-week hump, provides some relief in our psychology of getting through the reality of work. Our attitude generally has increased, but we are still not that happy to be there. Thursday arrives, the prospect of the weekend is upon us and our energy increases. We become more optimistic and feel that we can do it. Friday triumphs, like a true holy day, and it is like everyone has won the lottery. Energy, happiness, and attitude are at its peak. Well, until around 3 PM, then the usual pre-weekend freakout occurs. When we land on Saturday and Sunday, we all feel like the world is how it should be. We are able to pursue happiness on our own terms, spend time with family and friends, and recover from the turmoil of a busy (or slow and boring) week. When Sunday night is upon us, we feel the dreaded routine ahead return. We try to ignore what awaits us and we begin to cringe at those same old Monday blues feelings approaching, only to feel like things in life aren’t fair. And so the cycle begins again...
But, why is this? Why do we seem to push ourselves through such pain and misery, with the hope that some greener grass lay waiting for us at the other side of some imaginary wall in life? Why is it that we spend so much time in our place of work, thinking about how much we don't want to be there, or how we deserve a raise, or how we feel unappreciated, all in the name of 'earning a living'? We have all been there and I am sure some of you read this and are there right now. Gosh, even I have been there, which is why I can relate to these feelings. And it isn’t that I am on the other side of that imaginary wall now either. Rather, I have been lucky enough to reconnect with my purpose. Now, this isn’t another blog about ‘finding’ your true purpose - as I know, for many, the anxious response of such a question is met with, “..but, I don’t know what my purpose is!”. Rather, I have another perspective I want to offer you. What if I said, you are already working with your purpose? What if I said, what we have all been seeking, has actually been sitting right in front of us the entire time? What if I said, we are all capable of living the same passionate, enthusiastic and energetic lives every day, full of purpose, and to get this, all we have to do is shift one thing - our perspective?
For me, with hindsight, the times when I felt most disconnected at work were those times when my perspective and intentions were focused in one place - on myself. When I was at my desk wallowing in self-pity, feeling that I was hard done by, feeling that my talents were not being utilized or that there was something far greater for me on the other side of the ‘wall of life’; these were the times when I was most disconnected from my purpose. This 'purpose', though, wasn’t creating brands for people; it wasn't living in rural villages completing community development projects; it wasn't working with young people affected by homelessness. No, this purpose, which is consistent across all things I found joy in within life, including those experiences, was actually 'service'. If I was to sit and look at everything I have done, not just through work and personal life, but across all aspects of my life, the consistent theme was service. And if I thought of those experiences and attached them to my happiest memories, they were the times when I felt most connected to what I can now call my purpose.And the best part about all of this is that we all do it.
We are all serving other people in our own capacity, whether it is directly in our job, outside of work in our personal interests, or at home with our family and friends. Think about the times when you have felt most satisfaction in life. Did it revolve around you getting the most likes on social media? Did it revolve around you getting that pay rise you had demanded? Did it revolve around being left alone to watch your favorite tv show? I am sure some satisfaction came from these, but were they your most memorable moments? Or did these moments happen when you were, say, supporting a friend through a difficult time? When you had the opportunity to lead a team of people at work on a new and exciting project? Or, when you were able to be involved in a local community project?
Life is full of so many opportunities and it is our job as humans to seek these out and make the most of them. But, we are all too quick to look for self-gratification in all that we do, when really, our greatest reward and our most fulfilling purpose comes in times of service. Service is in all that we do! Whether you are an entrepreneur opening a new business, an employee looking for greater satisfaction at work, or someone seeking greater meaning in life, I believe no matter what you choose, if you shift your perspective to see the true service you can offer in everything you do, and you hand yourself over to that service, you will find this elusive ‘purpose’ you so deeply desire. No matter who you are, what you do, or what you can offer, there will always be another person, another task or another community that would benefit from your service. Stop seeking more for you, and start giving more to those around you. I truly believe that when you do this, you will be amazed at how much the universe will offer back to you and create paths you never dreamed could exist.