Running a business takes a lot of time and energy. If you work full time, we are talking about the bulk of your waking hours. And that’s a hard thing to ask of ourselves if we feel no connection to our work – if we feel uninspired, tired and bored by what we do. What a lot of wasted time!
Of course, it’s a lot easier if you really and truly care about what you do. Work can be fun, interesting, exciting and inspiring when it addresses three crucial elements:
- It reflects your passion.
- It is in alignment with your personal values.
- It fits with your life purpose.
In today’s article, I’m going to explain what I mean by these terms and ask some questions that will hopefully get you thinking about your own values, passion and purpose and how you can inject them into your business.
Your passion is what you care about most in the world. It’s the thing that you can monologue about for hours on end. It’s the ‘Don’t get me started on…’ topic of conversation. It might be what makes you angry. It might be what holds your attention obsessively for hours. It’s what gives you energy. It’s the thing you would fight for.
Your passion could include practical things like writing, knitting, teaching or gardening. Or it could be an issue such as social justice, the environment or equality. Of course, I’m using a very broad brush here; most likely your passion is a very specific aspect of one of these things, such as health services for all (rather than just ‘social justice’), anti-fracking (rather than just ‘environment’) or feminism (rather than just ‘equality’).
Simply put, your values are what you believe in most. They are the things that are the most important to you:
- Values can be personal qualities like integrity, honesty, patience, kindness, dignity and loyalty. When you hold these as values, you feel it is important – both for you and for those closest to you – to express these qualities in your interactions.
- Values can include lifestyle and personal standards, such as spending quality time with your friends, family, kids or lover, or always being the best you can be.
- Values can also be aesthetic or philosophical things like beauty, harmony, justice or equality.
Values are often easy to spot within your passions. Your passion for gardening could be an expression of the values of beauty and harmony, for example.
We all know what it feels like to have ‘a sense of purpose’ on a daily, domestic level – cleaning the house, doing the garden, finishing the ironing, planning a family holiday, meeting a deadline, etc. And we all know the satisfaction of having completed a job well done when we flop down on the sofa at the end of the day or the week, knowing we have earned that glass of wine.
But real purpose is something broader and far more potent and personal. True purpose is the reason you are here – on this planet, living this life, at this moment in history. What are you here to achieve in this life? The answer to this question reveals your life purpose.
In reality, your life purpose is likely to be the thing you do as naturally as breathing – the thing that’s so easy for you that you don’t even identify it as work. It’s probably the thing that people seek you out to help them with. Maybe you are great at figuring out how things work and are brilliant at fixing them. Or perhaps you’re fantastic at helping people understand their relationships. Or you might have a talent for music, or languages, or communication, or cooking. Or, maybe, you’re terrific at helping other people find their own life purposes.
These three elements – values, passion and purpose – are so much a part of who we are that they can be hard to identify for ourselves. What is glaringly obvious in our friends and family may be impossible to see (and acknowledge) within ourselves. But when you do find this magic formula and inject it into your work, you are onto a winner! You are then doing something you care passionately about that aligns with your values and comes naturally and easily to you AND….
YOU CAN GET PAID FOR IT!
Bringing Your Passion, Values and Purpose to Work
So how do you achieve this winning combination? Well, whether you are employed or self-employed, something drew you to the work you do. So, chances are you already have some of this in place without even being aware of it. You may already believe in the work that your organisation does. You may already share some of the same values as your employer. You may already be doing work that comes naturally to you. The key is to have all three in one place.
Below, I’m going to take you through a process to help you identify your values, your passion and your purpose so you can recognise where they are already present and then integrate them into your work or your business.
Step 1: What are you passionate about?
Make a list of the subjects that really get you going. Think about what makes you angry, what you can rant about for hours, what makes your friends say ‘Oh, don’t get her started on that’. Think about what you care about, what you get obsessively into, what you get lost in, what makes you excited.
Write down as many as you can think of. Your list of subjects might include things like politics, poverty, war, abuse or education. These are your passions.
Step 2: What are your values?
Look through your list of passions and see what common themes run through them. For example, some of the themes running through the above list are justice, fairness, equality and being nice to each other.
Step 3: What is your purpose?
Now make a list of your natural talents – the things that your friends come to you for, the things you find yourself doing without effort. It might be harder to make this list than the other two because, by definition, your natural talents are things you may take for granted. If you get stuck, you might want to ask your friends and family what they think.
For example, your list might look like this:
- I’m good at solving relationship problems
- I’m a good listener
- I’m very diplomatic (so I’m told)
- I’m good at seeing both sides of an issue
- I’m good at teaching/writing/cooking/etc.
- People always talk to me about arguments they’ve had or other personal distress
Now let’s look at these three lists (yours will be completely different and probably longer) alongside each other:
|Politics||Justice||Solving relationship problems|
|Abuse||Being nice to each other||Teaching|
|Education||Seeing both sides|
|People talk to me about their arguments|
Looking at the table, we begin to see a clear picture of someone who cares deeply about the state of the world. She cares about how some people are struggling to eat or not getting a good education, and how the solution so often seems to be fighting, harming and killing. She hates the idea that things are unfair and is upset about how badly some people treat one other. She cares about people, and her natural talents tally with this. She’s someone people want to talk to. She has a balanced view, and people value her advice about relationships and personal conflicts.
When we see it in black and white like this, we start to get ideas for how this woman could create a business that reflects her unique set of values, passions and talents (or purpose). Maybe she wants to work with abused women to break the cycle of abuse by helping them find ways to see their relationships more clearly. Or maybe she would rather teach kids from poor backgrounds and inspire them to raise their aspirations, find their passions and escape poverty and disadvantage. Or maybe she could form a campaigning group on social justice.
Really, the possibilities are limitless. But by going through this process, she can start to see the wood from the trees and to move into work that fulfils her passions, values and purpose.
After you’ve gone through the above process, you can summarise everything into a single life purpose statement. To do that, ask yourself ‘Why was I born at this time in history?’ For example, the life purpose statement of the woman in the above example might be:
I was born at this time in history
to show people that there are two sides to every argument –
and to get them talking.
So, what is YOUR life purpose statement? I’d love to know. Please feel free to share it in the comments below.
Here at the 7 Graces Project CIC, we care deeply about helping social entrepreneurs and other ethical business owners express their passions, values and purposes through their businesses. In fact, that’s one the primary objectives of our Foundations of Ethical Marketing course. I’m delighted to be one of the facilitators on that course, along with7 Graces founder Lynn Serafinn. If you’d like to find out about the course and how it can help you and your business, we invite you to attend a FREE information call on September 24th. Just CLICK HERE to register. If you can’t make the live call, you will be able to download the MP3 replay.
16 September 2014
Nancy V Goodyear is a Business Mentor and Coach who loves to help social entrepreneurs and small business owners cultivate their relationship with self, their business and their audience. With a BA (Hons) in Learning Disability Nursing, she has extensive professional experience working in health & social care within the non-profit sector. She is fluent in French having lived in France for some time. She is a graduate of the Coaches Training Institute and the Co-Active Leadership programme. She is also a director of The 7 Graces Project CIC.
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Find out more about how changing the paradigm can help make the world a better place:
The 7 Graces of Marketing: how to heal humanity and the planet by changing the way we sell, by Lynn Serafinn, where you can learn how the 7 Deadly Sins and the 7 Graces impact the world through media and marketing. Brit Writers Awards Finalist eLit Book Awards Silver Medal in Humanitarian & Ecological Social Issues
Tweep-e-licious: 158 Twitter Tips & Strategies for Writers, Social Entrepreneurs & Changemakers Who Want to Market Their Business Ethically by Lynn Serafinn, which can help you learn how to create meaningful collaborations through Twitter and other social media. eLit Book Awards Bronze Medal in Business and Sales.
Get instant access to a free 90-minute Twitter marketing class at http://tweepelicious.com
The Social Entrepreneur’s Guide to Successful Blogging: An Effective, Creative & Ethical Way of Marketing for Visionaries & New Paradigm Business Leaders. To receive an update when that book is available, just click here. As a thank-you gift for showing your interest, you’ll get instant access to an exclusive, free 5-page PDF revealing the exact same blogging template we use with our clients and we teach to participants on the ethical marketing training courses at the 7 Graces Project.
LYNN SERAFINN, MAED, CPCC is a certified, award-winning coach, teacher, marketer, social media expert, radio host, speaker and author of the number one bestseller The 7 Graces of Marketing — How to Heal Humanity and the Planet by Changing the Way We Sell and Tweep-e-licious! 158 Twitter Tips & Strategies for Writers, Social Entrepreneurs & Changemakers Who Want to Market their Business Ethically. She is listed in the Top 20 of the Top Marketing Authors on Twitter by Social Media Magazine and was a finalist for the prestigious Brit Writers Awards. She also received the eLit Book Awards Silver Medal in Humanitarian and Ecological Social Affairs, as well as the Bronze Medal in Business and Sales. Lynn’s eclectic approach to marketing incorporates her vast professional experience in the music industry and the educational sector along with more than two decades of study and practice of the spirituality of India. Her innovative marketing campaigns have produced a long list of bestselling non-fiction authors through her company Spirit Authors.
Lynn is also the Founder of the 7 Graces Project CIC, a not-for-profit social enterprise created to train, support, mentor and inspire independent business owners to market their business ethically, serve society and planet, and restore all that is best about humanity.
(not just for Londoners, as we meet also on Skype)