What's my purpose? Not to be confused with a special purpose.
I've never given it a lot of thought to be honest. Not until I read this post about purpose the other day. I don't know that Jeff meant his post to be a writing prompt - but here we are.
For me I think it boils down to two things: being a supporter of my family and a supporter of people.
The first is pretty straightforward. Supporting my family.
Home is a huge priority for me. Success there is foundational for success anywhere else. Any win, achievement or notoriety I may achieve at work is completely hollow if I don't have a strong family connection at home. Most decisions I make day-to-day, work or otherwise, I try to make with Megan and Campbell in mind.
There are always trade offs. Balancing work and family time is definitely tricky at times. I've found that if you make "how does doing ____ benefit my family?" your main compass, the work decisions often become easier.
The second is being a supporter of people. I could break this down two ways.
One is making a point to make others' lives easier around me, whatever that looks like. That could be helping troubleshoot a project at work, helping a friend move or just doing my tasks well enough that it doesn't add burden to anyone else working with me.
The other is just being encouraging. I'm actually fairly introverted so this doesn't come naturally to me. Being reactively encouraging to someone is pretty easy. However, being proactive about telling someone "you're doing a great job" or "how are you doing with ____?" is something I really have to think about doing. It's not that I don't care (though it can come across that way I'm sure),it's not a reflexive muscle for me...yet. It's something I'm working on getting better at.
I've talked in the past about life lessons I took away from my grandfather's funeral a few years ago. Seeing the turnout and support during his funeral week absolutely blew me away. While he and I never explicitly talked about purpose or what motivated him personally, I feel like the two things above were likely his purposes. He definitely put his family first, worked to always help people any way he could and didn't sacrifice career success in the process.
I realize the above two points may not be incredibly awe inspiring. I'm not looking to build a big company, become a well-known leader, climb Everest or anything really what others would consider resume-building worthy.
That shouldn't be confused with lack of ambition either.
I know if I focus on those two things, no matter which winding direction life takes, I'll likely have a positive end result. At least a result I could be proud of. Those results may have scale and be big accomplishments (I'm not opposed to being part of big things!). Other times, they may only be known to those closest to me.
I'm okay with either scenario.
What drives you?