As we come to the close of 2017, 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 this past year who have shared stories with me and more importantly in this case, 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 was 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, let us come back to surmising my thoughts on purpose and happiness.
After working for the last twenty years, mostly in jobs I absolutely loved, earlier this 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 has 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 whenever the list of accomplishments starts to diminish, I don’t enjoy myself as much. So, the balance starts to shift.
That’s when the word ‘purpose’ starts to creep in more and more… 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. When I start to question the purpose, 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 in 2018 to recalibrate and return to work rejuvenated. To be happy, you need to live out your purpose. Life without a purpose is life without much happiness.
As we enter into 2018, 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.