I was ill the other week, in bed feeling sorry for myself surrounded by a sea of tissues. It was the day the cleaners come but nevertheless I just couldn’t drag myself out of bed. They will just have to clean around me I sniffed.
Jilly, our sweet and spritely South African cleaner, chatted away as she dusted. She had some holidays coming up over the next few weeks and she had to take her leave as she couldn’t carry it over any more.
“Are you going somewhere nice?” I mumbled, thinking a bit of Fijian sun was exactly what I needed to get rid of my cold.
“Oh no” she said brightly “I shall be at home. My husband is away on business so I am going to have a GOOD SPRING CLEAN without him in the way!”
She said it with such utter relish I would have been floored had I not already been lying down.
“But Jilly, you’re a cleaner. You clean all day! Every week! You are going to spend your holiday cleaning? Voluntarily?” I was incredulous.
“Oh yes” she said with utter conviction and glee, no doubt thinking of the sparkling clutter free cupboards in her spring clean “I love it!”
And there you have it. Someone who is living their purpose in the most joyful way. It just goes to show that there is a perfect role out there for us all. And that our perfect role might be someone else’s worst nightmare but there is a place where we can all find our perfect fit. Where we are contributing to the world in a way that is far more than going through the motions or doing it for a paycheck. Where we are bringing joy to others and joy to ourselves.
In my job I see many people who are most definitely not living their purpose and helping them figure out what it actually is, is a whole heap of fun. But it is a rarity that someone walks into my office declaring “I love my job I do!” so I treasure Jilly for being one of those rare people who have naturally found their purpose and is living it with such surety and joy.
How do you know you are living your purpose?
Here are a few questions to ponder:
- If you had all your monetary needs taken care of would you still want to do what you do for free?
- If you unexpectedly have to do some work at the weekend are you resentful about it or does it not really bother you?
- Do you lose yourself in your work and find the hours fly by as you are immersed in what you are doing, or do you find you are clock watching the minutes creep by?
- Would you read books about your day job on the beach for pleasure?
- Is checking emails on holiday a resentful chore or does it not really bother you at all.
I believe there that we all have a place where our unique skills, aptitudes, interests personality and passions meet where we feel truly engaged with our work. Finding it can be tricky but it is so worth the effort. It doesn’t mean there are not still bad days, or that we don’t enjoy the money, but life comes from a very different place when we connect our unique gifts with our profession.
Ask yourself those exploration questions. If the answer is a no to more than 2 then you may not be living your passion. We will look more in future columns at how to figure out what might be a fulfilling way to earn a living.