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What’s Your ‘Why’? The Question That Guides Your Career Journey

  • January 25, 2022

Why do we do what we do?  

And in particular, why do we invest in a specific career journey? Why do we choose to do work that often occupies most of our waking hours for the majority of our lives? 

You may think, ‘well, I do it to survive’ or ‘pay the bills’ or ‘enjoy a beach holiday every year’. 

But there’s more to it than that. While having a job that pays well is a goal we may share, if you’re investing your time and energy into that work – it needs to offer more. 

It needs to offer meaning.  

Meaning provides the purpose that guides us in what we do, what we strive towards, and how we plan our goals. It is the defining factor that will ignite the purpose behind why you do what you do.  

Is yours burning brightly? Do you know what motivates you; the meaning that guides your career journey?  

Or do you feel somewhat bewildered by options, lacking in drive, or that you are wandering from your initial career pathway and aspirations? 

If you want to know your why, give meaning and purpose to your work, and plan your journey to success – you need some guidelines. 

In this article, I will look at some strategies to help you define your purpose and create steps towards achieving your desired future but first, what exactly do we mean by purpose? 


Purpose – the ‘Why’ That Ignites Passion 

The dictionary definition of purpose is ‘the reason for which something is done or created, or for which something exists.’ 

Now, you may believe that your purpose is to be a good parent/sibling/carer or another role unrelated to your work – but we spend so much time at work that it’s difficult, if not impossible, not to invest in a meaningful relationship with your career.  

As I mentioned earlier, it’s not just about a monetary return for a task performed.  

Did you know that 9 in 10 workers would take a pay cut to have the opportunity to be involved in more meaningful work? So, a paycheck isn’t the only driving factor. 

In his Ted Talk ‘What makes us feel good about our work’, Dan Airley describes the why as ‘the meaningful condition that gives work purpose’.  

It’s the inner joy that comes from loving what you do and seeing how it fits into the bigger picture. To invest time, energy and effort, people need to care about what they are doing – and this creates effort, attention, ownership and identity. 

For many, having purpose provides the satisfaction they crave in their work -and a sense of fulfilment. 


So Why is Purpose Important? 

We’ve already touched on why you need motivation in your life.  

When you have a sense of purpose, you feel motivated. Purpose gets those creative juices flowing; it ignites passion and drives commitment to the work you are doing. It makes you want to achieve and focus on your professionalism.  

The outcome of having motivation and purpose makes the task, role, or organisation meaningful to the individual.  

Jacinta Jimenez, a psychologist and the head of coaching at leadership development platform, BetterUp states, “It’s just built into our DNA. As human beings, we’re wired to connect, and part of purpose is serving others or serving the greater good, something outside of us that allows us to feel more connected.” 

We all have an inherent desire to be part of something bigger than ourselves: this is what creates a sense of purpose, worth and satisfaction. 

And there is evidence to suggest that employees who believe what they do matters are likely to be more resilient than their colleagues. So, having ‘why’ in your life can not only motivate but help you overcome obstacles. 


How Do you Create a Sense of Purpose? 

So, what are the strategies you can use to help you define your purpose and create steps towards achieving your aspirations?  

Firstly, connect – when you connect with others, you can see the impact of your own work on that of your colleagues’ and how each task fits into a bigger picture to achieve an ultimate goal. 

Joining the dots enables everyone in your team to see how what they do benefits the whole, and can help you engage more efficiently, fostering a sense of ownership. 

Create an opportunity to develop – providing, and partaking in, growing and learning opportunities instils a sense of being of relevant and therefore provides meaning to what you do.  

Companies who adopt training and development make individuals feel valued, and therefore achieve higher standards of work in return. 

Collaborate – engage with your employees. Listen to them; value their opinions.  

Communication is a two-way process, so take time to communicate with your team, and listen to their ideas, concerns and suggestions in return.  

Additionally, providing opportunities for employees to work with each other will enable you to create an opportunity for mutual growth and learning. For example, you could instigate partnerships on special projects or via mentoring schemes.  

Engaging with others will enable you and your team to share knowledge and interact with others who may have a different perspective or solution to a task, thus increasing the knowledge and experience of all involved in the process. 


And finally… 

Over your career journey, the things that drive and motivate you, giving you a sense of purpose and answering your ‘why?’, will change. What is essential in your 20s will no doubt alter in your 40s and 50s.  

However, the reasons behind having a sense of purpose will remain. Creating value, meaning and purpose – for yourself and your business - will continue to drive you to achieve success and answer the ‘why’ that guides your journey. 


What Next? 

If you are an executive who is thinking about a change of role, or you have an interview coming up, we can help. With many years’ experience placing executive level candidates in their ideal job role, we can help create a smooth transition. 

So, if you would like to work with an experienced recruiting partner, call us on 01905 381320 or get in contact here.  




About Martin Veasey Talent Solutions 

At Martin Veasey, we have been working with blue-chip and SME businesses for over 35 years, both in the UK and around the world.  

We are an independent consultancy company with highly qualified staff, including many degree and Masters educated consultants, with memberships of professional bodies such as the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development and the British Psychological Society.  

We have unique expertise in hiring for senior roles in Board & Senior, Supply Chain & Logistics, Purchasing & Procurement, Manufacturing & Engineering, Pharmaceutical & Life Sciences, Sales, Human Resources, plus many more.  

If you are looking to work with a highly accomplished recruiting partner, you can call us on 01905381320 or get in contact today.