Utilizing our Natural Strengths = Purpose Work

Something that has sustained my curiosity for decades is our individual relationship to work. I was raised in a working class environment, so the messages I got were a lot around needing to work HARD and never having much choice in what your work life looked like.

This led to the belief that ‘being ourselves’ and ‘having fun’ were things we relegated to “free time.” I grew up thinking life was split in this way. That we had a “WORK SELF” defined by clocks and bank accounts, and a “FREE TIME SELF” where we actually got to be joyful, authentic and closer to who we are.

It didn’t make sense to me then.

It doesn’t make sense to me now.

As a career purpose coach, I truly believe in loving our work no matter what we do. It’s a choice we make.

When we choose to do our work mindfully, we choose to feel fulfilled. And, following that, let me say this: It is far easier to cultivate mindfulness when we are doing work based upon our strengths and what we enjoy.

This is purpose work:

  • in flow
  • aligned with our strengths
  • aligned with who we are
  • all one “SELF”

In terms of what I mean by “strengths,” I should get clear here.

I believe there are two categories of “strengths”:

Our natural strengths are those which, when we engage them, leave us feeling energized and in our flow. We enjoy putting them to good use and seek out situations where we can cultivate them. These are the things we would volunteer our time around.

The second type of strengths are those we have been encouraged or taught to cultivate through our work life—they do not give us energy or have us feeling in our flow, but we have gotten good at them anyways. We have cultivated them from a desire to succeed in our career. If we had to stop using them, we wouldn’t miss ‘em.