The debate continues about whether or not, at least in Australia, the Great Resignation is a ‘thing’. Or whether it’s a ‘great realignment’, ‘great reshuffle’, or ‘great retention…….

I reckon that coming out of two years of crisis, challenge and change, the one great reset we might need more is a Great Repurpose.

Why wouldn’t people be questioning how they work? Who is not tired and in need of inspiration and greater meaning? Who isn’t looking for greater control, and ease, in their lives?

Having a clear purpose in life is not just energising and inspiring, it’s also very good for you, and means that on average you live longer. What’s not to like about that! Purpose seems to be particularly important scaffolding for sustaining our wellbeing. In a world where meaning has been turned on its head, having a clear purpose can bring a sense of clarity and calm.

I was curious to know how people’s purposes were evolving over the last couple of years and took a poll. Had purposes changed because of the changes COVID brought? Or did they remain rock-solid as people negotiated huge challenges? To what extent were people radically rethinking their purpose to feel more aligned than ever? Or worse, who was feeling a bit upended and with their purpose less clear than before?

Delightfully, most responses (see the chart), one third, showed that people have changed their purpose and are seeing the benefits of doing so. There are 20% of people still struggling: if this is you, or someone you know, use that sense of confusion to help you keep working towards clarity.

Pie chart with numbers


To get clearer about your purpose try this sentence structure: I (do something) ………. to (make my difference) ……………… so that (there’s a better result) ………..

For example: ‘I help change people for the better, giving them the opportunity to succeed against the odds.’

Having a sense of purpose helps you take setbacks and failures in your stride, and provides you with the ongoing capacity to generate new possibilities. It increases your resilience.

So if you’re feeling that you want to change jobs, organisations, bosses or all three, consider whether or not you’ll get what you want by resigning. Resigning may not be the answer.

A purpose reset, on the other hand, sounds just the thing. The past two years have been a ‘great experiment’ (without informed consent!), allowing us to understand the limits as well as the elasticity of our resilience and adaptability. And perhaps, by throwing us into uncomfortable circumstances, have helped to clarify what is most important to us, more often than not, by its absence.

Without a purpose, the path isn’t clear.

Perhaps it seems easier not to bother in the short term, but in the medium term that doesn’t get you anywhere. Having a clear purpose makes it easier to make choices and to navigate uncertainties.

It might not be easy, but you can relieve some of the pressure by knowing what is most important.

You might lose sight of the path momentarily, or find a fallen branch has blocked the way, or sink your feet in the swamp for a while. But you know where the path is, and most importantly, you know where it takes you.

Before making your next move, try a purpose reset, then use that to check how well jobs/gigs/options/career moves fit with it. The first step isn’t to find a good job, better working conditions, a nicer boss, a more desirable organisation.

You are more likely to find a great job, the working conditions you want, a fabulous boss, and a more desirable organisation with a clearer purpose.

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