You Don’t Find Your Purpose — You Build It

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“How do I find my purpose?”

Ever since Daniel Gulati, Oliver Segovia, and I published Passion & Purpose six years ago, I’ve received hundreds of questions — from younger and older people alike — about purpose. We’re all looking for purpose. Most of us feel that we’ve never found it, we’ve lost it, or in some way we’re falling short.

But in the midst of all this angst, I think we’re also suffering from what I see as fundamental misconceptions about purpose — neatly encapsulated by the question I receive most frequently: “How do I find my purpose?” Challenging these misconceptions could help us all develop a more rounded vision of purpose.

Misconception #1: Purpose is only a thing you find.

On social media, I often see an inspiring quotation attributed to Mark Twain: “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born

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Take This Quiz to Figure Out How to Be Happier at Work

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We all want to be happy on the job, but what does that actually mean? Is it just being satisfied in your job? Does it mean having fun at work? Are we happy when working conditions are good, our days are enjoyable, and our nights are worry-free?

All of these things matter, of course, but there’s more to it. In studying positive psychology as well as consulting to thousands of people around the world, I have discovered that in order to be happy at work we need three things: (1) to feel that we are making a difference; (2) to see the link between our work and our vision for the future; and (3) great relationships.

We are happy at work when we find meaning in what we do, when our jobs line up with our values, and when we can see the fruits of our labor. Work becomes

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How to Find Meaning in a Job That Isn’t Your “True Calling”

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Why do so few people find fulfillment in their work? A few years ago I posed this question to Amy Wrzesniewski, a Yale School of Management professor who studies these issues, and she offered an explanation that made a lot of sense. Students, she told me, “think their calling is under a rock, and if they turn over enough rocks, they will find it.” Surveys confirm that meaning is the top thing Millennials say they want from a job. And yet her research shows that less than 50% of people see their work as a calling. So many of her students are left feeling anxious and frustrated and completely unsatisfied by the good jobs and careers they do secure. What they — and many of us, I think — fail to realize is that work can be meaningful even if you don’t think of it as a calling. The
Continue reading "How to Find Meaning in a Job That Isn’t Your “True Calling”"

How to Find Meaning in a Job That Isn’t Your “True Calling”

aug17-03-522954502
Why do so few people find fulfillment in their work? A few years ago I posed this question to Amy Wrzesniewski, a Yale School of Management professor who studies these issues, and she offered an explanation that made a lot of sense. Students, she told me, “think their calling is under a rock, and if they turn over enough rocks, they will find it.” Surveys confirm that meaning is the top thing Millennials say they want from a job. And yet her research shows that less than 50% of people see their work as a calling. So many of her students are left feeling anxious and frustrated and completely unsatisfied by the good jobs and careers they do secure. What they — and many of us, I think — fail to realize is that work can be meaningful even if you don’t think of it as a calling. The
Continue reading "How to Find Meaning in a Job That Isn’t Your “True Calling”"

How to Handle Work When Your Child Is Sick

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“Mommy/Daddy, I don’t feel so good.” It’s a phrase that, along with its nonverbal equivalent – that glazed, pale, listless look that your kids get when they’re coming down with something — that you’ve learned to dread. Because whatever the ailment, be it flu, stomach bug, sprain, or other, two things are now certain: 1) You’re going to spend the next 24 hours, and likely more, worrying about and helping your child to get better, wishing you could magically take their discomfort away; and
2) You’re simultaneously going to spend all of that time in a frantic, improvisational rush trying to cover responsibilities at work while taking care of business at home — which won’t, to put it mildly, be easy. Working parenthood in and of itself presents a massive logistical and emotional challenge, and when your child is unwell, that challenge ramps up significantly: How do you explain
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