5 minutes to find your purpose

One directionless morning I (Mark) typed into the search bar “how to find your purpose” fully expecting the onslaught of self help nonsense that immediately presented itself. Down the rabbit hole we go!

Committed to making a positive change that day, or at least gaining a better understanding why I wasn’t able to reach a conclusion on purpose, I watched and read my way through a mountain of information.

Eventually I stumbled across the following video which promised that I could find my purpose in 5 minutes. Let’s give it a shot then!

Mark’s Reflection on the Process:

In completing the exercise I tried to approach it with an open mind and to be honest in my responses rather than letting negative externalities influence me. I found myself smiling at the simplicity of coming back to helping people being at the core of what I do… I remember being a Manager at KPMG and struggling with the realisation that I needed to prioritise delivery of work over the education and training of my team… This was my first truly challenging experience in the workplace and I realise now was the turning point at which I allowed my purpose to be compromised because I prioritised personal success over pursuit of my purpose.

I recounted to Matt when we discussed this that I often used to tell my team members (half jokingly) that if I woke up one day as a Partner in a consulting firm that I had messed up in life. 12 years later that’s exactly where I found myself, without purpose, doing a job that I had no motivation for. Fast forward another 4 years and I’ve bounced around from place to place without purpose and found myself demotivated and searching for purpose.

Answering these 5 seemingly simple questions has helped me refocus on what’s important to me and how I can add value to others. It’s given me confidence that I can get myself to a place where I can pursue a purposeful life and help others add a tremendous amount of value into the world.

Mark’s Responses to the 5 Questions:

Who am I? – I am Mark

What do I do? – I help people

Who do I do it for? – I will do it for anyone who needs my help. But in this specific context I was thinking about the organisation that Matt and I work within.

What do those people want or need from me? – Structure and direction.

What do they get out of it? – They can work as a team to delivery on their goals.

When asked ‘what do I do’ how do I respond? – The presenters example of “I help people get great things into the world” resonated with me really strongly.

Matt’s Reflection on the Process:

Being incapable of simply following instructions, I started out by resisting the questions. I paced around with it for a minute before I started to get the point and realised most of my resistance was just at the thought of being in a crowded room shouting into the air (watch the video 😬).

The story I shared with Mark to work backwards to answering the questions went a bit like this:

I’ve had this can of BOSS Coffee (it’s Japanese) sitting on my desk for days now. It’s empty. Why do I still have this can sitting around? It’s made of steel. It has a rigidity to it that makes it feel nice to hold. Much nicer than (cheaper?) aluminium cans that we usually have here. I like making things that give you this feeling of surprise and delight, and even the most simple things can do it.

I enjoy thinking about experiences and ways to make them nicer, or easier, or more fulfilling. Through my eyes everything we make deserves thoughtful consideration.

The examples in the video threw me off at first because I like to work with people to achieve, and to help them achieve, my purpose of creating surprise and delight. It took some patience to work backwards to answering the questions, but once we did that I felt really great. 5 stars, would recommend.

Matt’s Responses to the 5 Questions:

Who am I? Matt

What do I do? Create things that surprise and delight people

Who do I do it for? Anyone open to being surprised and delighted!

What do those people want or need from me? To put things into the world

What do they get out of it? Surprise and delight

When asked ‘what do I do’ how do I respond? – I say “I make things”, and I might add a story about what I’m making now.

Give it a shot for yourself, and share you own experience and purpose in the comments below.

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