10 Questions: Finding Work with a Purpose

bookthumb.jpgIn the best of times, I help women who are yearning for more purposeful work. Now, in the worst of times, even more women–whether currently employed and unemployed–are feeling the pull to reconsider how they spend their work lives. As one recent corporate casualty told me, she is choosing to turn this setback into an opportunity for transition.

When you’re talking about purposeful work, Haley Rushing is the expert. As the “Chief Purposologist” at marketing/advertising company GSD&M Idea City, she spends her workday helping value-focused companies like Southwest Airlines refine and articulate their core purpose.

So I took a look at Haley’s new book, It’s Not What You Sell, It’s What You Stand For: Why Every Extraordinary Business Is Driven by Purpose, co-authored with GSD&M Idea City chairman and CEO Roy M. Spence, Jr. Although the book targets organizations, the chapter on “Discovering Your Purpose” is easily adaptable for individuals. In fact, when Haley send the book galleys to her Aunt Vicki, it inspired the longtime banker to retire from the increasingly product-driven industry in favor of the nonprofit sector.

If you’ve been thinking about the kind of work you’re meant to do, consider these 10 questions, adapted from It’s Not What You Sell, It’s What You Stand For. And remember, “discovering your purpose is more art than science” (p. 35).

1. What originally prompted you to do what you do?

2. Have there been any false starts down other paths that continue to resonate with you?

3. What makes the difference between when you’re successful and when you’re not?

4. Why do you do what you do? Why is that important?

5. When your mind is freely wandering, what kinds of things do you find yourself thinking about?

6. What kind of work do you know you DON’T want to do?

7. What are you deeply passionate about?

8. Ask your closest friends and family: What value do I offer?

9. If you set your rational thoughts aside, what is your heart telling you?

10. Is there something you feel you are called to contribute to the world?

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