“Happiness is like a butterfly, the more you chase it, the more it will elude you. But if you turn your attention to other things, it will come and sit softly on your shoulder.”
In our journey of life, it can be so hard to resist chasing more money, more things, more doing or more of anything to be “happy.” Yet, when is the last time you examined where you were headed? We are all moving toward something.
While goals can give our life purpose, goals without our purpose in mind can leave us lost when we reach them. “Wanting” can lead to greed and emptiness. “Doing” can be a way of numbing and finding self-worth. If the chase doesn’t include enjoying the creation, discovery, and keeping the meaning of the mission alive, we can start feeling a sense of emptiness.
Have you noticed times in your life when you were chasing a goal, yet in the process people you valued were ignored? Or did you even embrace the act, in and of itself?
In the times of my life where I have reached a point of burnout, it was because I got caught up in the doing and no longer felt I was fulfilling my purpose. I became someone just going through the motions not knowing where I was headed. I became lost with feelings of emptiness. At first, I thought my desire for a sense of accomplishment was to blame. However, when I decided to stop doing so much, I was still lost. Then I realized I just needed to have the courage to operate by my true beliefs with meaningful doing in order to feel whole and alive again. It took doing some self-reflecting and gaining self-awareness and re-evaluating what I really wanted and what I didn’t want in life.
In my career, I have been fortunate to work in a company where the leader would say, “do what is right by the client.” The company’s values and mission were clear and the passion and energy were everywhere. Hence, turnover was extremely low and everyone was happy accomplishing the company’s goals for years.
Alternatively, many articles have been written about high turnover and burnout in companies that lack purpose. Simon Sinek in “Start with Why” tells many stories to prove most people want to feel good about their work at the end of the day. Without the “Why” companies fail. In Man’s Search for Meaning, Victor Frank shares how most of the people who survived the Holocaust had a strong sense of purpose. Yet, I am hearing of more and more companies and coaches taking away the purpose out of the work and making it all about the money. No matter where you are feeling lost, don’t stay stuck.
Think of times in your life where you have been happy. When have you felt whole? Are you being true to yourself? Is what you are saying and doing matching what you truly believe?
Create goals based on what gives your life meaning. Then keep your purpose in mind all along your journey. When distractions come at you, go back to your why and let it guide you in your decisions and actions. Be a leader. Bring your purpose to your work and see if you can inspire change in yourself and inspire others. When you show courage to hold true to your “why” then you won’t get lost.
“People who can articulate their purpose live an average of 8 years longer.” Jay Shetty Podcast Ikky Guy
To gain a better self-understanding, take the Enneagram course through the Growth Institute Courses. If you are still struggling after this exercise, write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I may not have all your answers. However, it is the writing alone and sharing your story with someone interested that may be the very therapy you need.
Suicide Hotline: 1-800-273-8255
Crisis text: 741741
If you live in the Dayton, Ohio area, schedule free counseling by email: email@example.com
To share inspiring stories or be referred to a Professional Counselor email: firstname.lastname@example.org
For more resources:
Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Action by Simon Sinek
Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor Frank