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Be Intentional About Work

young woman studying over planner

The word “intent” refers to my mindset at the time of a specific action, and it’s something many don’t think about in the workplace context. So, what can be said about working intentionally in 2017?

Working In Purpose

Today, the mindset of many workers is to work at a place where there is a strong connection between work and what’s important outside of work. Many call this “working in purpose.”

As a generation, millennials are keen (as I believe they should be) on wanting a strong connection between their work and what they believe is important. In a perfect world, they long for their company to have its own “purpose,” which would ideally fit well with their individual purpose.

Organizational Purpose

Organizational purpose can be very evident in some companies. Tom’s Shoes, for example, donates a pair of shoes for every pair of shoes they sell. Their founder discovered that, in places all over the world, shoes are not available like they are in the United States. He decided that his company should do something about it. Now, that philosophy is helping their employees work in purpose, knowing that they are not just making and selling shoes, but are also doing a wonderful thing in areas where shoes are sorely needed. 

Similarly, other companies support charitable initiatives, like Habitat for Humanity, United Way, and Shriners Children’s Hospitals. There are many causes that organizations align with, and the vast majority take being a good corporate citizen very seriously. That means that almost any place where work is being done, someone, some group, or the entire company is devoted to making a difference in some way. This focus on purpose creates opportunities for workers to know that their work actually has meaning.

Great Leaders Inspire Others, Value Purpose

Simon Sinek was a catalyst of thought on the topic of purpose with his incredible Ted Talk, “How Great Leaders Inspire Others.” And comedian Michael Jr. tells an inspiring story about “working in purpose” in a 4-minute video from one of his shows. It’s a must-see for anyone who cares about purpose in work.

My friend, David Herdlinger, who is a phenomenal leadership expert and business coach, has a terrific way to help individuals “uncover their purpose.” He recommends reading 3 books, the first of which is “Man’s Search for Meaning” by Viktor Frankl. In this book, Frankl implores us to find out what the world expects of us. The power of that simple phrase is a clarion call to each of us to find out what we are expected to do with our gifts and talents. Once we “uncover” that, we will know what our purpose is and can began the real search for working intentionally. The other two books are “The Purpose Driven Life” by Rick Warren and “The On Purpose Person” by Kevin McCarthy.

Doing Life’s Work, Making A Difference

If we want to work in an intentional way, then we should be doing life’s work that makes a difference, where we have the ability to make a difference. There are 3 things we can do to make sure we’re working with an intentional mindset.

  1. Uncover your purpose. Ask what’s important to you, and then ask why it is.
  2. Find a place that is a good fit for you, and land the role you want there. When your beliefs are aligned with the organization’s beliefs, getting hired is usually easier.
  3. Stay intimate with your purpose. Too often the mundane and routineness of life and work (which will never be 100% fun or “on-purpose”) can cause almost anyone to drift away from what they really hold dear. Never go too long without an honest self-examination and how successful you are at being “on-purpose” at work. Few people can be in a role where everything they do is on purpose, but all of us can ensure that we are getting the opportunities at work to make the kind of difference we were put here to make. 

You Make the Difference

The difference here is you; you make the difference in the lives of everyone you touch. Make sure that the difference is the one you intended. If you do that, this world will be a better place.





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