As I begin a new chapter in my life, I am taking this opportunity to pen down my thoughts on purpose and happiness. I’m motivated by so many people who I’ve met over the past few years who have shared stories with me and significantly, asked me to share stories with them. As an instinctively private person, it has at times been uncomfortable and also inadvertently self-revealing, when asked to share my experiences on leadership in public. It is also amazing how much what I openly shared impacted positively on others. Now that is one of the lessons in leadership for a future blog, including how much is OK to share and how much may be too much…
For now, I’ll get back to surmising my thoughts on purpose and happiness.
After working for the last twenty years, mostly in jobs I ABSOLUTELY LOVED, last year, I started contemplating (deeper and deeper with each passing month) the idea of taking a sabbatical. This was the first time ever imagining taking a ‘break’ from work, or at least from a regular 9 to 5. When I weighed the different components of my life (i.e. religion, family, friends, hobbies), outside of sleeping hours, the biggest by far was work. This is not unusual, considering we spend the majority of our waking lives at work, but just how big a place it had was disproportionate to the time allotted to what are the most important things to me: family and my relationship with God. You see, I have always enjoyed working, so much so that work-life balance meant simply enjoying my job. Enjoying my job also meant accomplishing things. But in my reflections, I asked myself, am I accomplishing all that I want to accomplish? Whilst I am giving less time to my family? Is this enough?
That’s when the word ‘purpose’ crept in again and bulldozed my thoughts… purpose is not static. Your purpose can change, it can be enhanced, it can be added onto… Whilst it can be difficult to pursue new avenues in the pursuit of a ‘new purpose’, staying in one’s comfort zone is not the antidote to success, where success (in my book) means happiness. Whenever I start to question the purpose to what I do, the flames of my joy start to wicker and the light diminishes somewhat. That’s when I know it’s time for something new. So I’m taking a sabbatical year, starting today, to spend more time with my family, recalibrate, gain new experiences and return to work rejuvenated. To be happy, you need to live out your purpose. Life without a purpose is life without much happiness.
For all those who are still trying to make 2018 count, I encourage you my friends to think of what makes you happy and to do more of those things. I encourage you to think about your ambitions and make plans to achieve them. This has been my key to happiness. I can truly say that, so far in my life, I have done absolutely everything I set out to do. And I don’t intend to stop. I may not always succeed in all my missions, but I will certainly succeed in trying.