As Halloween approaches, we are inundated with ghost, ghouls and goblins. We see movies about “Living Dead” wandering aimlessly while terrorizing innocent bystanders and folks just trying to live their lives. Ironically, we don’t have to watch television to see these aimless wanderers, we can see them in our parking lots. They ride the elevator with us in the morning. A few of them sit next to us looking miserable and blankly staring at the wall during staff meetings. I’ll admit it, I feel like that sometimes. I’ve had and still get the case of the “zombies”. But what causes that emptiness that many of us see and feel daily?
It’s living to work and not working to live. It’s unfulfilled career promises and unmet expectations. The disappointment of not quite finding one’s niche yet, while seeing others live their dreams and speak so positively about what they do daily. It’s putting in long nights and weekends because you have to, not because you want to. I’ve lived long enough to see that until one feels as if they are working in their purpose, it will always feel like just that…work.
And who wants to spend their whole life “working”? Waking up ten years later wondering what the heck happen and what have I done with myself, and really having nothing to show for it. If I had the answer or antidote to this zombie epidemic, I’d have to charge for this post and I’d be preparing to retire…on purpose.
What I do know is that in most cases purpose just doesn’t come to you. I doubt that many successful, purpose driven people just woke up with an epiphany and said, “Ah ha! That’s it!” and things just magically started falling into place. To find purpose in our careers, we have to position and even reposition ourselves and run to it. Work with an actual goal in mind. A meaningful end result because we can’t just settle in our current unfulfilled circumstance. There has to more to life than that hamster-in-the-wheel feeling that we fight through everyday.
So I’m studying people that got off the wheel. People that didn’t just play the hand they were dealt, but started counting the cards and stacking the deck. What better way to make a change than to pay attention to those that have done it before and done it well. I’ll end with words from the late, great Stephen Covey. He said it best in “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People”:
- Be proactive
- Begin with the end in mind; work toward your most meaningful life goals
- Put first things first; understand what’s important and what’s urgent
- Think win-win
- Seek first to be understanding, then to be understood
- Synergize; value creative cooperation; value differences
- Sharpen the saw; practice self-renewal
So as Halloween passes and we find ourselves standing at the Keurig or vending machine side-by-side with zombies, remember that your desire to find and thrive in your purpose is the only thing that will keep you from becoming one of them.