• Sheila Kelly

3 Ways I Found Purpose at Work

I don’t think I’ve met anyone more unhappy and disengaged at work than I was. My middle management job on the front lines of one of the toughest union environments in Canada had me tied up in knots every single moment of every day.


Thankfully, I found three ways to overcome my dis-ease and find purpose in my day.


1) I STOPPED looking to my job for purpose. Jobs are designed to be transactional. People are hired to do and job and get paid to do so. How many of your job interviews included a discussion about purpose? Did your employer promise that you’d find it? If so, then you have a right to feel disappointed; if not, then ask yourself: Where did this idea that your job should provide purpose originate?


2) I STARTED thinking more about how I wanted to BE at work. In a breakthrough moment, I realized that I was giving away my power… to my workplace, my employer, and the people in it. I was responsible for finding purpose within an environment that I perceived as horrible. I found a purpose grounded in BEing more compassionate and understanding… despite the environment I was in. My job was not all about me! It was about seeing others in a new way. I no longer embraced the me versus them of the management-union paradigm.


3) I SHIFTED into neutral. I once heard it said that “If you want to know where you should be, look down.” I worked on quieting my mind as I accepted that the job was a perfect classroom for me to heal myself, to learn and practice some new perspectives. I stopped searching for anything outside myself to fill me up. That meant that I stopped trying to find a new job. In my heart, I knew I would one day leave that job. In the meantime, I focused on a different of job… working on myself. Learning how to serve my team rather than making everything about me and my needs.


It took three years, but when the time came for me to leave that workplace, I was ready to step into my calling because I adopted a new way of being.




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