Finding your purpose at work

What is our purpose in life? We all get this question at some point in life and in our profession. As we know, a typical working individual spends at least 1/3rd of our life at the workplace. I was trying to understand my purpose so that I can prioritize and spend my time in areas where I enjoy.  I recently attended a leadership training program and was exposed to a methodology called Ikigai, a Japanese life philosophy. I am not going to explain about Ikigai here because it is not a framework to find an individual’s purpose rather live happily.

After doing some research on the internet, I learned the framework that I was using is not Ikigai but “Zuzunaga Venn Diagram”. It initially appeared in the blog post here by Andrés’.

I used this approach to understand my purpose at my work and how I can align it with my organization. As I mentioned, we spend a considerable amount of time in the workplace. If we have an overarching purpose, it helps us to become more adaptable, yet resilient to challenges and stay authentic (Heidrick & Struggles, The CEO report, 2018). 

The first step is to find your organization’s purpose. If you’re wondering where to find it, the place that you can often look at is vision statements, strategies, or ask your line manager. If you’re unable to find the purpose of your Organization, do not try to invent it. It already exists in the organization, tries to find it through empathy, and by understanding the common needs of the employees and customers. If your business doesn’t have a greater purpose, do not try to invent it. It is no shame where an Organization’s primary purpose is to make money (Vermeulen, 2019). I looked at my current Organization’s purpose which is to use “Tech as a force for good”, helps business to transform for a better world and rapidly launch products, services for the future.

Now, using the “Zuzunaga Venn Diagram” I started writing down the various quadrants.  

It took me a lot of time spanning over two days because it required a lot of thought process, reflection on what I loved the most and enjoyed doing. After this, I started looking at overarching items across the different circles to find the commonality.

Mission

  • Help people to progress in their life and find purpose
  • Create a company culture that is equal and be the voice for voiceless
  • Build solutions for sustainable agriculture and food production

Vocation

  • Adopt a leadership style that empowers others
  • Use my  expertise to help customers to launch products and services
  • Work on AgriTech solutions which will help not just rich farmers but the poor ones too

Profession

  • Develop awesome software
  • Lead complex projects with a sustainable pace
  • Act as a trusted advisor for customers and advocate the right tools and technologies for their business problems

Passion

  • Build software solutions for a greener world
  • Create podcasts on technology and share them with the world
  • Provide career advisory and help for people in need

Writing this helps not only compartmentalize different things and also helps to stay clear and happy on our purpose. Using the methodology, I figured out my purpose at work is to,

  • Create a safe, equal and help people find meaning in their work
  • Be the trusted advisor for customers, advocate on the right things and be dependable
  • Share the knowledge with others thus empower them for a better world

References

https://www.sbs.ox.ac.uk/sites/default/files/2018-09/The-CEO-Report-Final.pdf

https://hbr.org/2018/07/creating-a-purpose-driven-organization

https://hbr.org/2019/05/companies-dont-always-need-a-purpose-beyond-profit

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