The Millennial era has set a precedent for purpose-driven living. This is in direct contrast to the profit-driven nature of former leaders, whose sole aim was to derive monetary- gain from products for its shareholders. What this means is simple. Millennials eschew the normative patterns of society; the 2:4 children model and the white picket fence, for a lifestyle that embodies their values, beliefs, and innate sense of purpose.
We have entered an era where people no longer want to work just to live. We are values-driven. We understand that the world has needs and we want to do something that fulfils those needs. It is not enough for companies just to offer a product range that makes shareholders vast amounts of profits, because people are questioning this model. Instead, it is imperative that there are values embodied within the vision that people can support too.
Millennials want more. They want a life that makes a positive contribution to the world. They are about leaving a legacy; a difference. They understand that living a life of purpose is the best life they can live.
Several years ago, I visited South Africa- a country rich in natural beauty and wonder. I had the privilege of travelling to several cities, each vastly different from the other. Whilst beauty is the natural choice of words to describe this spectacular country, the tragedies of the past have left a residue that is hard to escape. The diversity between the rich and the poor is an inescapable phenomenon. It is difficult to miss the rows of tiny corrugated sheds that form homes for millions in the townships. Quite frankly, the scene is harrowing. People without basic needs sandwiched between wealthy residents with their ocean views and garden pools.
It was scenes like these that got me thinking about my purpose. How I could use my God-given skills to benefit the world, rather than take from it. I know I am not alone in thinking like this. At the same time as my trip to South Africa, I also worked for a large multi-national organisation. The ethics of the company were in complete contrast to my own values, and I knew I would not be content working at a place that placed profits before people. Yet, despite the mutual feelings among my peers, no one dared challenge the scenes before us. People were scared to speak out.
Living a purpose-driven life means being courageous. It means taking risks and standing against the norm. It means being brave and speaking out. We cannot shine a light into the darkness if we are unwilling to light the candle. The candle is you, and your spark is buried deep within. Burying your passions will not only harm you, but others that need your talents too.
In order to be purpose-driven, we must develop self-awareness. We must know what we truly stand for. We need to be sure of what our values and convictions are. When we know our values, and who we are, we know what type of vision we want for our life; the work we want to do, the places we want to go; the beliefs we want to live out. Developing self-compassion is also key. This means showing ourselves grace, so that we can do the same to others too. We must also learn to give of ourselves, rather than continually take. As David Viscott argues, “the purpose of life is to discover your gift. The meaning of life is to give it away.”