Your Life’s Purpose Is Not Necessarily Your Career, And That’s More Than Okay

Photo by Christin Hume on Unsplash

Your job, as much as you may enjoy it, is not necessarily your purpose. As creatives, we tend to focus far too much on what our job brings to our worth, and it’s time to disentangle the two. When we begin to live out our purpose and put less weight in what our job means, the more we’ll begin to focus on what truly matters: your creativity, your community, and your talents.

Your job doesn’t define you.

Your job is also not the defining piece of your character. Our purpose and sense of fulfillment comes through helping others and using our gifts well. Your story exists for a reason, and it’s to share the perfectly imperfect route that has taken you from where you once were to where you want to go. It shows how you use your gifts to become who you want to be even if everything gets stripped away.

Your career is part of your story, but it’s not the only piece. We need to remember that we have a greater purpose in life than delivering a project on time. Especially if that project doesn’t go as expected.

Would losing your career strip your purpose away?

If you lost your job tomorrow, and all career prospects vanished, would you be okay? I recently went through a period of intense questioning and personal growth through an event in my work. It made me panic. Sure, I was wondering if I’d need to update my résumé, but more importantly, I was shocked to see just how far my career had snaked its way into my purpose.

This isn’t to say work isn’t important. Instead, it’s placing the right amount of emphasis on work in connection with relationships, talents, and yes, our purpose. At that moment, I knew it was time for a mental change. So I do what I always do when I realize I’m becoming far too invested in the wrong parts of life.

Disentangling and reprioritizing your purpose

When we begin to do the hard work of reprioritizing purpose and work within our lives, we’ll experience the beautifully refining growth that only comes through personal reflection. These two steps are how I begin to reinvest my energy into the right areas of life.

Write your mission statement.

Writing your personal mission statement is a valuable process for every creative. It helps you refine what you want in life, and how you want to help others through your craft. Take an hour this week to begin sketching this out.

It can (and should) be fluid through life’s changes and personal discoveries, but it will guide your decisions. If a new opportunity doesn’t align with your mission statement, it’s not the right one.

Develop a mindfulness practice.

A mindfulness practice can help you continually realign your purpose within your life. This often ends up being while I drive or by taking a walk to get away from the computer.

I review how I’m feeling and if everything I’m committed to aligns with my mission statement. For me, this is often paired with prayer, and I encourage you to find what works for you. Mindfulness apps like Calm or Headspace can help you develop the habit.

Realigning your purpose and your job within your life is an ongoing process that may at times have you moving three steps ahead and four steps back. Remaining steadfast in this practice, though, will help you become rooted in your purpose, not your job. It’s a process that is always worth starting, and the only way to a fulfilling life as a creative.