Finding purpose in challenging times

by Jul 7, 2022

Are you finding purpose in these challenging times?

You want more – but are not quite sure what or how.


For many July 1st is a psychological tipping point in the year. It marks the half-time point for those who set annual goals January to December. For those who don’t, it makes no difference whatsoever.

I know from my work with women and organisations, that many of you are thinking deeply about your wider sense of purpose, values, and vision. This is where the work I have done in Ikigai is helpful.

You want more – but are not quite sure what or how.

Why purpose matters

The notion of purpose produces ideas of people sitting cross-legged in fields, humming and asking existential questions. It can be much more prosaic than that, which is why I enjoy the idea of Ikigai so much. Ikigai is a Japanese concept and is about following your joy.  Ikigai has been adapted in the West (as we do) to make it about finding your “dream job”. This is not the case. This is just the way we in the West tend to measure success. Ikigai can come from many sources and has nothing to do with being paid.

Our purpose in life is unique to every one of us.  We all have specific talents, skills qualities, experiences, skill sets, and interests that motivate us and bring fulfillment. A post-pandemic spin-off is that people don’t seem to be buying into the idea of a dream job any longer.  There seems to be a wider expectation that joy and fulfillment can come from many areas, and our professional activities make up only part of that.

finding purpose

Finding purpose

Purpose is our long-term vision, not just the short-term goal. Finding purpose is something we all want but struggle to attain.

Most of us don’t spend very much time contemplating the big issues. Frequently, we drift into our life paths carried along by circumstances. Or when we are focused, it can result from meeting the expectations of wider influences, picked up from our families, wider cultures, schools and friends.

A personal sense of purpose is less of a specific end goal and more around the impact we want to have on the world; whether large or small. Purpose is your why.

Build success habits to find your purpose – 3 Plus International

Understanding your purpose

Understanding our wider purpose can sustain us, particularly in times of difficulty. It allows us to know what we stand for and therefore what we stand against. It helps us create boundaries around our limits. When we understand our purpose it can be immensely freeing and unlock greater potential.

Maureen (not her real name) works in an organisation where she witnessed a colleague being regularly bullied. This behaviour is against her core values and she reported it. How the organisation responds to her complaint will drive her next career decision. If the person isn’t dealt with appropriately and remains in post she will leave. She is clear where her line in the sand lies.

finding purpose

Key questions around purpose

Here are some questions to help you think about it and ask yourself. Answer YES or NO


❓ Do you feel you experience life satisfaction in your day to day life?

❓ Do you have a sense that your life is moving in a positive direction?

❓ Do you actively seek change, learning and growth?

❓ Do you believe you have a bright future ahead of you?

❓ Do you have meaningful interpersonal relationships and are accepted by others wihtout qualification or judgement ?

❓Do you feel a sense of freedom in your life and not overwhelmed by constraints?

❓ Are you motivated to achieve your potential and personally grow?

❓ Do you regulalry reflect on the meaning of your life?

❓ Can you justify the value of your life?

❓ Do you feel the way you live your life resonates with your surroundings?


If you need support identifying your purpose, get in touch for a complimentary discovery session to assess your needs.


Dorothy Dalton Administrator
Dorothy Dalton is CEO of 3Plus International. A specialist in diversity and bias conscious executive search, she supports organizations to achieve business success via gender balance, diversity and inclusion. She is CIPD qualified, and a certified coach and trainer including digital learning.
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