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The Gift Of Purpose

  • Written by Syndicated Publisher No Comments Comments
    December 15, 2013

    There’s something about the winter holidays that causes introspection. I suppose it’s only natural when marking the end of the year to reflect on how to make the coming one fare better.

    That’s probably why we see such an influx of inquiries in December here at PeakProsperity.com from folks who are looking for answers to the big unresolved issues in their lives. While the specific questions we receive run the gamut, I find that the underlying theme to the vast majority deals with seeking greater purpose.

    Most of those reaching out are wrestling with the tension of holding a certain set of beliefs, but not living in alignment with them. Chris addressed this inner conflict in his Living Two Lives piece this past summer.

    The demands of everyday life, of needing to earn a living, are often experienced to be in competition or even conflict with these beliefs. It’s common to hear folks express frustration at being “stuck” in their lives; they feel they have to make a choice between either “putting food on the table” or living authentically. And for nearly everyone, especially those with families, the former wins out.

    Can these goals be in alignment? And if so, how do you bring them together? What if you don’t even know what “living authentically” means for you yet?

    These are exactly the kinds of questions we’re hearing more of these days. In addition to the approaching year-end, I suppose this angst also has something to do with recent data like the following:

    You Probably Hate Your Job — But You Don’t Have To (TIME)

    Seventy percent of U.S. employees are either “not engaged” or “actively disengaged” at work, according to Gallup’s 2013 State of the American Workplace report. Put more simply, most of us hate our jobs.

    You might expect that levels of employee disengagement have gone up since the Great Recession, considering both the extent to which employers have squeezed productivity out of existing employees and the large number of people who are under-employed. But that 30% engagement number has actually been relatively static since Gallup started tracking happiness in the workplace in 2000. In fact, 74% of employees said they were unhappy at work in 2000, more than at anytime since the recession.


    As we’ve talked a lot about on the site this year, modern society does a poor job of teaching us how to successfully map our natural interests and aptitudes to a career path that will make the most of them. Instead, our broken educational system is churning out ever-greater cohorts of graduates with less direction and less marketable knowledge, whose top mission is to find the job (or any job!) that will best help them service their ballooning student loans. With such short-term focus at the beginning of their careers, it’s no wonder that workers are awaking in middle age asking: How the heck did I get here?

    As has also been discussed much on this site, if you or someone you know is wrestling with this question, there is good news. It is indeed possible to bring your beliefs and your career into alignment with each other. There is a time-proven, defined process to follow that can make it happen for you. It takes a heck of a lot of discipline and time in most cases, but it does work, and it’s most definitely worth the effort.

    As many readers know, we released the book Finding Your Way to Your Authentic Career earlier this year, which lays out this process in step-by-step fashion. If you have people in your life who you think would benefit from such a resource, this introspective time of year would be a particularly good time for them to receive it. Few gifts are more valuable than helping somebody move closer to finding or living their purpose.

    For those considering buying copies of the book as holiday gifts, I’m making the Introduction and first chapter available here. Take a read and then decide for yourself how helpful it may be for the ones you might give it to:

    Finding Your Way to Your Authentic Career – Chapter 1 by Adam Taggart

    Images: Flickr (licence attribution)

    About the Author  

    Executive summary: Father of three young children; author; obsessive financial observer; trained as a scientist; experienced in business; has made profound changes in his lifestyle because of what he sees coming.

    First of all, I am not an economist. I am trained as a scientist, having completed both a PhD and a post-doctoral program at Duke University, where I specialized in neurotoxicology. I tell you this because my extensive training as a scientist informs and guides how I think. I gather data, I develop hypotheses, and I continually seek to accept or reject my hypotheses based on the evidence at hand. I let the data tell me the story.

    It is also important for you to know that I entered the profession of science with the intention of teaching at the college level. I love teaching, and I especially enjoy the challenge of explaining difficult or complicated subjects to people with limited or no background in those subjects. Over the years I’ve gotten pretty good at it.

    Once I figured out that most of the (so-called) better colleges place “effective teacher” pretty much near the bottom of their list of characteristics that factor into tenure review, I switched gears, obtained an MBA from Cornell (in Finance), and spent the next ten years working my way through positions in both corporate finance and strategic consulting. From these experiences I gather my comfort with numbers and finance.


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