3 Steps For Defining Your Purpose At Work

December 18, 2019

Have you ever been overwhelmed by too many small requests for support from different teams across your organization? Have you ever felt as though people were asking you to help with something because it was easy for you, even if it wasn’t one of your current responsibilities? While it may be flattering initially to be in such high demand, it can also be disheartening when people don’t realize the true value you bring to your team.

One of our favorite authors and speakers, Simon Sinek, talks about the rule of the “Golden Circle,” whereby teams and organizations that achieve greatness always keep their purpose as their core focus. Making this seemingly abstract concept tangible on a daily basis — through better defined professional boundaries based on your why — can help individuals and teams achieve greater results.

At Brilliant Ink, we’ve conducted multiple workshops and planning sessions with clients during which we think through — and push beyond — this exact question. How? You can break down the challenge into three actionable steps:


First, define your purpose. This is your WHY. Think about what you and your team do and the value you bring to the organization. Who do you support? Why does your role exist? How do you make an impact? Try to keep it big-picture and succinct.


Then, once your purpose is defined, think about all of the daily, weekly and monthly tasks that you and your team do and consider whether they fit within or fall outside of this purpose. This is your WHAT. Does creating the launch strategy for a new employee app fall within your purpose? Perhaps yes! Does planning baby showers for all co-workers fall within your purpose? Perhaps no. 


Finally, spend some time thinking about HOW you do what you do. While it may be easy to over-simplify the effort you and your team put into projects or downplay your value, don’t sell yourself short! You may be analyzing intranet data to define a better content strategy, finessing messaging to encourage participation without conveying alarm and juggling multiple stakeholders with divergent interests — this is important work!

Combining each of these steps should help you put thoughtful boundaries around the work you do and the work you don’t do. With this clearer picture, you can (re) position yourself and your team according to priorities that fit your professional purpose and leave the party planning to someone else. 

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Jennifer Gunst

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