It’s been a tough year for some. Me included. The global recession and austerity measures affect every household. Many people are bracing themselves for more bad news. What does the future hold?
A year ago I learned that my employer needed to make savings of around £80 million and cut 1,000 jobs. Last month a further 1,500 job losses were announced.
Discover Your Purpose and Identity
I prepared myself for the worst. Simply hoping for the best was not an option. Here’s my story. From this I hope you learn how to discover your purpose and identity.
It is the chiefest point of happiness that a man is willing to be what he is. – Erasmus
My preparations have taken me on a journey of discovery. I’ve learned about those things we often take for granted and of things I hadn’t even considered. The things that define me.
It seems strange now but at the beginning of last year I didn’t really understand or appreciate my talents or values. Such things are at our core yet I had lost connection with them.
What’s more, I learned that people see me very differently to how I see me. For instance, that I am my worst critic. And I don’t need to apologise for my temperament.
I learned to be comfortable in my skin. I found myself.
A Fish Out of Water
As a child I was described as shy. I grew up thinking that something was wrong with me. Everything I did was in the vain attempt to conform in a world I didn’t completely understand.
In adulthood I learned about introversion. But I don’t think I really understood what introversion meant for me until last year. Sure I knew I was an INTJ. But what did that really tell me? In truth? Not a great deal.
Most people are extroverted and business norms are founded on extrovert behaviours. So it’s no wonder that sometimes I feel like a fish out of water. I need time alone. Indeed I draw energy from being on my own. And I really—I mean really—dislike interruptions. I listen more than I talk and sometimes talk too much. Likewise I am my best when I have time to think before I respond or speak.
I’m different okay! That’s it. That’s all I need to know. Period.
(I also learned that my brain is highly sensitive to dopamine and acetylcholine is the key neurotransmitter used by introverts.)
In the same way that our temperament is hard-wired so are our talents. John Purkiss and David Royston-Lee describe our talents as the bedrock on which our personality stands. In their excellent book Brand You: Turn Your Unique Talents into a Winning Formula they show us how to identify our talents and our values to ultimately discover our sense of purpose.
Your brand is what people say about you when you are not in the room. – Jeff Bezos
After reading Brand You* I was most surprised by this fact: most of the career choices I’ve made took advantage of my purpose—even though I wasn’t conscious of this—whereas the jobs I least enjoyed either failed to engage my talents or compromised my values.
Discovering my purpose—my brand if you like—has made a lasting impression on me. Now I have a new and lasting focus on what I want to do. I know not to compromise my values—to be true to self—and to positively and relentlessly promote my unique combination of skills.
I find simple solutions to complex business problems – Martin Webster
My job was deleted last year. I faced redundancy. Now I have another job. What was my advantage? What convinced the employer of my value?
Simply this: I was authentic. I was me.
Have Your Say
What steps do you take to discover your purpose and identity? How do you promote your unique talents at work? Please join the discussion.
Image: Gabriela Camerotti.