In 1997 he was invited to join JPMC’s Human Resources department; this was a career transition moving from technology to HR. He attended seminars and workshops to become a workshop facilitator and diversity trainer. In a short time he was doing executive coaching, developing mentoring programs, and creating and facilitating personal development, team-building and diversity workshops.
At a diversity workshop that he facilitated, he remarked to a colleague, “I am being paid ‘to do me!’” It was an awesome realization. That experience motivated him to work on discovering his purpose in life because his work felt so fulfilling and enjoyable. He found just the right career/life coach to help him move into this area. His/Our goal is to have everyone be in a position where they say, “Hey, they are paying me ‘to do me!!’”
Determining Your Life Purpose
How do you determine your life purpose? The answer to this question cannot be solely intellectual, or you probably would have figured it out already. The answer has a strong emotional and spiritual component. Yes, spiritual!
How do I discover my life purpose so that I can design my work around my purpose? The Torah relates the clearest example of this phenomenon with Betzalel. It says clearly that Hashem gave him all of the attributes he needed to be able to accomplish his purpose in the world, i.e., craft the vessels for the Tabernacle.
So, what gifts have you been given by the Creator? There are books and workshops that contain exercises to help you answer that question. The underlying essence is to “go inside” yourself, i.e., meditate, journal, and/or have a coach who can guide you to discover your essence. There are many other approaches, including graphology, your birth date, the meaning of your Hebrew name, Dan Millman’s Life Purpose Calculator, Stephen Covey’s Personal Mission Statement, and others. One authority suggests that if you can’t figure it out, then guess what your purpose might be and test it over time as you pursue a career.
You can also get clues to your true purpose by looking at the books you read, the hobbies you pursue and what grabs you emotionally.
Sometimes a person’s specific life experience points to a career direction. Think of the people who have had a crisis, overcame or survived it and then went on to help others deal with a similar situation. Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) is such a case, as is Christopher Reeves’ spinal injury which caused him to work for those in similar situations.
The timeframes for getting to the answer can take anywhere from several months to 20 minutes. We can hear you saying, “I’ll take the 20 minute version!” However, to get to the answer will take time, effort and patience. In our Western lifestyle we are impatient and want instant answers. Being asked to meditate about a solution or situation would cause most people, especially men, to get up and leave. Be patient with yourself, experiment, research and cogitate about what career will work best for you. Career Services can help guide you through the process.
Some students ask, “Isn’t there an assessment test to tell me what career to pursue?” Our experience is that these tests provide a list of careers in which individuals with similar scores have done well. The problem is that the careers listed for one person vary greatly from electrician to brain surgeon, from accountant to farmer. Students generally do not find the results helpful.
If you are already working, how do you know if your career is aligned with your life purpose? Let’s assume you are making lots of money, have outstanding benefits and an impressive title in a prestigious company. How can you test whether you are working on purpose? Ask yourself: do I really enjoy what I am doing? Is it satisfying? Does the work come naturally? Are you constantly stressed out? Do you long for the end of the day, the weekend, or for vacation time so you can do what you truly enjoy and want to do? Are you contributing to a greater good? Do you feel something is missing at work? Is there a small, still voice inside of you that is trying to tell you something? Answering these questions will help you determine if you are working in this career for the right reasons for you personally.