Caption: In 2016, Dr. Green left his management position to pursue academics where he could assist the next generations of leaders. Dr. Green poses with the first engineering class at his university.
Many of us stand at a pivotal juncture in the aftermath of the pandemic’s disruption, yearning to redefine our purpose and rediscover our bearings. This article examines the profound transformations produced by the pandemic, embarking on a voyage to reignite one’s sense of purpose.
No one expected a worldwide pandemic in 2020. Despite his enviable life working for a Fortune 500 company with financial success and a picture-perfect family, Drew Wright became increasingly unhappy during the pandemic. Drew was a victim of his success. He was a people person. The Covid crisis had him working remotely with little interaction with others. Dwight was trapped in a job he despised, surrounded by people he couldn’t stand, and a growing sense of emptiness. Like millions of others looking for purpose, Drew left his comfortable, safe job to pursue a life with greater meaning, one dedicated to helping others and championing social causes.
Have you ever questioned your purpose in life? Does your daily routine appear to be meaningless? In 2016, I decided to leave my federal manager’s position by retiring early at 50 years old to pursue an academic career. This decision must have left many of my family and friends silently questioning my rationale. I was leaving a well-paying job with great benefits where I enjoyed the companionship of my co-workers. I was deeply embedded in a great network of friends and acquaintances. My wife Estraletta was making a lot of sacrifices too. In accepting the new faculty position, I was taking about a 30% pay cut. I had to start at the bottom of the faculty ladder and reestablish myself as an expert in a new field. My wife and I were tasked with creating a new home life and forging new friendships. In hindsight, the move was one of the best decisions of my life. After the 2020 pandemic, many people are also searching for a more purposeful life. As society emphasizes materialism, pursuing happiness can paradoxically lead to dissatisfaction. This article examines the profound transformations produced by the pandemic, embarking on a voyage to reignite one’s sense of purpose.
The need for a more meaningful life still exists in 2023. During the pandemic, employees quit their jobs in record numbers. The Great Resignation happened as workers sought higher pay, greater fulfillment, and improved work balance. According to Forbes, 47.8 million people left their jobs for other positions by the end of 2021, compared to 37.7 million who quit in 2017. This drive for a more purposeful life during the pandemic has profoundly reshaped the work landscape. According to a Pew Research Center study, nearly two years into the COVID-19 pandemic, roughly six in ten U.S. workers who say their jobs can mainly be done from home (59%) are working from home all or most of the time. Today, more workers say they do this by choice rather than necessity. While most workers cannot work remotely, 60% of workers with jobs that can be done remotely say they prefer to work from home all or most of the time. Recent experiences reveal that unconventional paths can lead to a more purposeful existence. Take, for instance, the story of Dr. Chris Cunningham and Dahlia Cunningham who founded FireWorks International, a non-profit Christian media production company. Dr. Chris has been a Christian for more than 48 years, during which he’s held various leadership positions in the local church. Their purpose-driven journey gave birth to the Redemptive Film Festival, aimed at showcasing works that depict God’s redemptive purposes. While their calling took a religious form, it underscores that most individuals seek a purpose beyond mere existence.
But what exactly is a purpose-driven life, and why should you pursue it? In general, the concept of purpose in life encompasses various definitions. According to the University of Minnesota’s Earl E. Bakken Center for Spirituality & Healing, an individual’s purpose in life can be defined as “the central motivating aims of your life – the reason you get up in the morning. Purpose can guide life decisions, influence behavior, shape goals, offer a sense of direction, and create meaning.” Having a sense of purpose is transformational. For many, it leads to a life of service. In 2002, Christian pastor Rick Warren wrote a bestselling book, The Purpose Driven Life, addressing the burning question of why we are here by sharing God’s five purposes for a person’s life. Rev. Warren explains, “The only pleased people are those who have learned to serve.” Thus, having a sense of purpose is invaluable. Waiting for a calling is unnecessary; you can embark on your journey by recognizing your unique abilities. In his insightful book, Man’s Search for Meaning, Viktor Frankl emphasizes that the search for meaning is humanity’s primary motivation. Even in the darkest times, like Frankl’s experience in a Nazi death camp, a sense of purpose can help one endure hardships.
Below are questions if individuals are seeking a more purposeful life after the pandemic:
Are you happy with the direction of your life? Are you pursuing a more fulfilled life? Pursuing happiness is a universal quest, but some resort to desperate measures. Statistics from 2020 and 2021 reveal that over 30,000 Americans take their lives annually, highlighting the prevalence of unhappiness. This article should resonate with individuals contemplating a career shift, offering hope and inspiration in a world seeking more profound meaning. True success lies in answering your unique calling and liberating your talents to make meaningful contributions to society. Embrace your freedom to shape your life’s direction, for destiny invites you to be an active participant, not a passive puppet. Start your journey today; finding purpose and fulfillment is never too late.
© 2023 by Daryl D. Green
About Dr. Daryl D. Green:
Dr. Daryl D. Green is a business strategist, speaker, and noted author. He provides motivation, guidance, and training for leaders at critical ages and stages of their development and co-authors the “Impending Danger: The Federal Handbook for Rethinking Leadership in the 21st Century.”
Dr. Green has been noted and quoted by USA Today, Ebony Magazine, and the Associated Press. Additionally, he is an award-winning college professor, developing new innovative approaches for today’s small businesses. For more information about this article or business assistance, please contact Dr. Green at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.drdarylgreen.com.