A new way to Approach life purpose as it relates to career and work.
It’s the blessing and the curse of being human: we wonder what our purpose in life is. Unlike animals who, as far as we know, go about their business based on instinct alone, we are left to ponder why we exist in the first place.
Maybe you’ve stayed far away from existential questioning and gone about your life and your work without thinking too much about it. The ideas presented here may not align with where you’re at right now, and that’s okay!
But maybe you’ve begun to wonder how you can add meaning to your work, how you can live a more purposeful life. In order to answer these questions, we turn to the book A New Earth by, Eckhart Tolle. Tolle presents a new way of discovering life purpose, one that can both fulfill your inner self and guide your professional endeavors.
Modern Western society teaches us that our greatest purpose in life is directly related to what we do — the actions, often work- or family-related, that we do every day. Whether it’s helping others, raising children, or creating a product or service that fills a need, we are told that we should fulfill our purpose through our work.
While many of us find great fulfillment in our work or family roles, we still find ourselves asking if there’s something missing. By equating our life purpose with our ability to perform work-related duties, we begin to identify so strongly with our work that we often don’t know who we are without it. By equating our ability to be a good mother, father, partner, or friend with our life purpose, we begin to feel unfulfilled and empty when the kids grow up, or the friend moves away, or the relationship ends.
If this sounds familiar, we see you. Learning to rethink the idea of life purpose is a deeply spiritual process that often takes time and patience. Here, we present one way of approaching this idea, but we encourage you to explore other authors, resources, and avenues for spiritual growth as well.
So, what’s my life purpose then?
Put simply, we all have the same one: to awaken. But the cool part is you can change out the word “awaken” for whatever feels right to you. We also like to call it “becoming aligned with the Universe.” Additionally, there are many ways to refer to this idea using various religious terminology.
Basically, our inner and primary purpose is to become spiritually aligned, living in such a way that allows us to stay present and grounded through the ups and downs and tribulations of life. To live in such a way that simply being alive is fulfilling and meaningful. Of course, the journey to becoming “awake” or “aligned” looks different for each of us, and involves deep self-reflection, the exploration of new perspectives, and the openness to examine long-held beliefs about oneself and the world we live in.
But how does this relate to my work?
The good news is that you don’t have to place so much pressure on yourself to find purpose in your work. By developing your inner purpose, as we discussed above, your work will inevitably become purposeful. By focusing inward, your entire life will naturally become more meaningful and fulfilling.
According to Tolle, our outer purpose is secondary to our inner purpose, and has to do with our work. Anything done from a place of alignment and inner purpose is meaningful, whether it’s the act of helping others, raising children, or even cleaning a house or driving a bus.
If you’re questioning whether you’ve chosen the right career path, or you’re trying to discover what you’re passionate about, we believe that your inner purpose will guide you in answering these questions.
Dr. Joy Says It Best
In this clip from our Cup of Joy episode, Dr. Joy elaborates on the difference between inner and outer purpose with her signature style.
Eckhart Tolle gives us a new way to consider purpose. And what he says is that our purpose is to be awakened. But I think the language I like to use is “to be aligned with the universe.” In Christianity they say, “Seek first the kingdom of God, and all things will be added unto you.” You can apply whatever religion, whatever word you want.
But the concept really is that when you are connected with this entity, this being, this spirit, this power, this energy bigger than you, and you stay in flow with that, that really is your purpose. Because this is why the Joy Society exists, right? We talk about success, fears, personal, emotional, financial, family, so on and so forth. When you are aligned and really centered on just being, then all of those other things become activated, they become empowered by something that’s bigger than you. Which really, ultimately, to me, it’s about being centered and not allowing the woes of the world and the day to day struggles be what defines how your day is going and who you are.
Because we all know I don’t care who you are, or how much money you do or don’t have, life comes for you. Be it that you can’t find your other shoe this morning and you’re trying to get dressed, or something way more serious, like the death of a loved one. Life comes for us every day. To me, this is about prioritization. So when Eckhart Tolle outlines this primary and secondary [purpose], it starts to give us a hint of the prioritization of where we’re spending our energy and time.
And this is how I’ve lived out this content that Eckhart offers us. When I’m living my best life, meaning I’m the happiest, most centered, feeling great, and really, as a result, then attracting the people places and things that I want. And that is a thing, y’all, go back and watch Th Secret. If y’all haven’t seen that, or you have and it needs to get dusted off, I own the DVD, although I don’t have a DVD player anymore. That’s how throwback that is. But we do attract things and people in our lives. So when you start operating in that abundance, this is all part of this concept of the primary purpose.
So if we’re operating in [abundance], then our secondary purpose is potentially helping others, is potentially the work we’re doing. Perhaps you’re a business owner, and you believe that your business, your product, your service, this is your purpose, right? It’s life changing. It connects people from all over the world or it makes a said product more affordable. So more people can have it. Whatever that is, I’m with you on all that. But as a business owner myself, who aspires to great levels of success, I know that when we start aspiring for things, the actions or these roles, we start getting consumed in that. Quickly following will be our unwellness, right?
Because when you go hard on your business, then you end up stressed out and starting to have physical health issues, right? When you go hard on helping people, you end up emotionally drained, burned out, right? So whatever your thing is, which we would say, when you make that your first your primary [purpose], that’s when stuff starts to get hard. And as Eckhart outlines in his book, when you keep – first things first, shout out to Stephen Covey, habit three, I was on fire today, right? Like I need an album to come out soon. When you put first things first, then that’s when you can “have it all,” right?