10 Questions to Help Uncover Your Professional Purpose
by Matt Krumrie
Have you ever thought about your professional purpose?
It's okay—not everyone has, does, or will. But at some point, we've all probably thought about the meaning—and reason—behind the work we do.
For some it's simple: work is a job, and a way to pay the bills. For others, the purpose of their work is to provide happiness and help to others. And for others, their professional purpose is to satisfy, or challenge, oneself.
It's cliché, but there is no wrong answer. But uncovering one's professional purpose can help provide greater workplace and personal satisfaction, says Curt Rosengren, a passion catalyst who works with individuals, teams, and corporations to help workers find meaning and purpose in their work and life.
“When you're tapped into something that feels like your purpose, there is an intrinsic motivation that comes with it,” says Rosengren “You feel energized and engaged. Doing the work pulls you forward. You get energy from the work you're doing, so not only do you have more energy to put into it, you're also not digging into your reserves just to get through the day.”
The Rockwood Leadership Institute published 132 of the best questions to help you reflect on your purpose. The article talked about the importance of Purpose with a big P, stating, “Purpose isn't just about work, either. It can connect to our families, our friendships, our hobbies—our whole lives. In many ways, that's what makes it such a useful tool. Because Purpose is not the destination, but rather, the fuel that gets us wherever we want to go, it grows as we grow, deepening and evolving over time.”
The 132 questions were designed to help you “uncover, rediscover, or increase focus on your Purpose.”
Below, we picked 10 of the 132 questions that stood out to us:
Ask yourself the following to help you uncover, rediscover, or increase your professional purpose.
1. What brings you joy?
2. If money wasn't an issue, what would you do with your time?
3. Why are you doing what you're currently doing?
4. What did your 15-year-old self imagine you'd be doing right now?
5. What would you regret not doing, being, or having in your life?
6. What desires keep tugging at your heart?
7. You're in an elevator with your hero. You have 90 seconds to tell them about yourself. What do you say?
8. If you could receive an unrestricted, unlimited grant to complete one project, what would that project be?
9. What's something you keep telling yourself you'll do when you retire, or when you “have the time”?
10. If you could trade jobs with someone you know, who would you trade with and why?
Working with purpose is inherently about aligning with yourself, says Rosengren. When you're aligned with yourself, you're putting your gifts to their fullest use, and less energy is being pulled away by what doesn't come naturally.
“We've all used shopping carts with one of their wheels out of alignment,” says Rosengren. “It keeps pulling the cart off center, and we have to put effort into keeping the cart moving straight ahead. It's the same when we're out of alignment in our careers. Finding purpose fixes that wonky wheel and helps us put more of our energy and effort into moving forward.”
What is your professional purpose? There is no right or wrong answer. But when found, there could be greater career—and personal—satisfaction.