Discover Your Purpose; Transform Your Career
Business professionals look to discover their purpose either because they are not achieving the success they believe in, or because they feel unfulfilled in their career.
Many public speakers and authors encourage their audiences to discover their purpose, without a lot of tips on how to discover their purpose.
This is exactly where I was 10 years ago. I was a professional who co-owned 2 businesses for 15 years. Although fairly successful, my businesses held no meaning for me. You could say I was bored. I was determined to make a change. I intuitively knew that work held more promise than a paycheck and a way to use my skills. I believed in a calling, or…purpose.
At the time I was unaware of any class, book or workshop that taught one how to discover their purpose, but I was determined to find mine, regardless.
After a brief period of self-research (about 6 months), I had collected some “self-observations” that lead me to what I believed to be my purpose. I then created a business that would allow me to use this purpose 80-90% of my day.
My business, ironically enough, is to help business professionals discover and use their purpose in their career. I created a process to do this from my own 6 months of self-research.
Since then (as I say, this was 10 years ago), my conviction that using one’s purpose in their business is the key ingredient to success and fulfillment has only grown. I’ve seen it with myself in the last 10 years and with my clients. Using purpose in business is unlike any success you’ve ever experienced. Achieving goals is great. Making more money than your bills is great. Using your purpose to achieve goals and make money is fulfilling.
But as I say, there is little guidance on HOW to discover one’s purpose. I think it’s because purpose is so personal, so unique and so deep that most people are afraid to attempt the discovery. It’s probably why Columbus’s discovery of America was so great. The trip itself was fraught with peril, and accompanied by such little chance of success that most wouldn’t attempt it! Keep in mind that this is true for researching purpose as well. It’s great to talk about, but very difficult to find.
So let me attempt to give you at least a few of my greatest insights into the HOW behind discovering purpose by using the same technique I use with my clients, asking questions:
Tip: as you’re answering these questions, please reflect on the whole of your life, not just your current career.
Purpose is based in natural skill, and to discover what your natural skills are, you’ll want to ask yourself: What tasks am I good at AND love to do? It’s the combination of your skill and your desire to use that skill that suggest “natural” skill, and only natural skill can point to purpose (as opposed to acquired skill as in education or certification courses).
– What do you receive compliments for at work?
– When does someone express “jealousy” that you can do something so effortlessly and successfully, when they struggle to even get meager results?
Purpose is based in passion, and to discover passion, you’ll want to ask yourself:
– What am I talking about when I gesture a lot, or raise my voice?
– What am I super curious about? (Look for topics you research a lot, or subjects you ask a lot of questions about, whether you’re paid to or not!)
– What are activities I am willing to spend a lot of my resources on (time or money)?
Purpose is based in values, and to discover your values, you’ll want to ask yourself:
– What qualities do I have to have in my closest associates?
– Bullhorn message activity:
-“If I had a magic bullhorn that could reach 1 million people, but I only had 1 minute to use it, what message would I give them?”
-Who would those 1 million people be that need to hear my 1-minute message?
These are just some of the questions I asked myself in my 6 months of self-research, and I believe you can ask them of yourself too.
I collected a growing list of “self-observations,” that eventually lead me to what I believed to be my purpose. The next step was to put it into practice 80-90% of my day, and that’s how I put my purpose statement to the test.
Keep in mind as you do this, that your purpose statement may change, but your purpose remains the same, and has since the day you were born. Over time, as you research it and apply it, you’ll see it more clearly. Back to the Columbus analogy: imagine you’re Columbus, standing in the bow of the ship, searching for land on a really foggy day. As land approaches, you see an indistinct shape. The closer you get, the more defined the land becomes. You start to see the outlines of trees and rocks, etc. This is much like your discovery of your purpose: the closer you get to it, the clearer it becomes. The only way to get closer to it is through study and application.
As I tested my purpose statement in both my work and my personal life, my true purpose became clearer and clearer. Now, 10 years later, my purpose statement has updated itself 3 times and I imagine I’m not done with the updates.
Interview with Tammi Brannan
How does someone identify if a career is right for them?
If your career is right for you, you will have energy left over at the end of each day to give to your family or hobbies vs. needing to GET energy from them just to make it to the end of the day. You will feel competent in your job vs. always needing confirmation from others that you’re doing well. You will feel “well-utilized” at work vs. feeling like your talent is wasted.
Was there any one thing that helped you identify your passions and create a career you love?
I studied my reactions to tasks and topics, whether in my career or home life over a period of 6 months. If something caused greater animation in my speech and gestures, I recorded it as a passion. I did the same if I felt an incessant desire to share it or publicize it. Finally, if it was a task I would turn to when tired, bored or frustrated, that was always an indicator of greater passion. I used this self-study to custom-design the career that I love still today, almost 10 years later.
Do you have a favourite experience from your speaking career?
My favorite experience was just this last summer at the 4th Annual Summit for Advisors in Utah. I was given the last spot in the agenda, which is my favorite. It allowed me to really get to know the participants and the topics. I was able to synthesize a lot of what they had heard throughout the week into my talk, so it consequently had a greater effect on the participants. The feedback I received made the extra work so worthwhile.
Who or what inspires you most?
I’d say it’s a combination between historical figures, such as Lincoln and Churchill and my clients. Historical figures inspire me because of the odds they faced, and their commitment to their message. My clients inspire me for similar reasons: they are each committed to fulfilling their potential, so consequently face many hardships and develop great resilience.
How did you begin your speaking career?
I began my speaking career unintentionally! I am so committed to sharing the message of the Blueprint Process that I was willing to do whatever it took to spread it quickly. It wasn’t until a year or two later that I realized how much I enjoy speaking. I believe my first formal talk was 3 hours long delivered to realtors.
What are your biggest goals in your life/career currently?
My BHAG (Big, Hairy, Audacious Goal) is to “collect a band of misfits who want to change the world.” This literally came to me in my sleep a couple of weeks ago, and I am super committed to it. Every client I’ve ever worked with has felt a “misfit” with society at one point or another in their lives. This dissonance is the niche they are meant to fill in society. Whether it’s something from their past or a passion they want to share, my goal is to give them the courage and confidence to pursue it and a stage from which to deliver it.