Most of our life’s happiness is linked to how happy and engaged we are at work, says Sandeep K. Krishnan, author of Purposeful: Finding Greater Meaning and Engagement at Work.
The book, Krishnan says, is a guide for us to be more meaningful at work. “It tries to uncover what makes you engaged at work and provides with actionable tips to make you more purposeful. Exploring a larger purpose or even working on ‘micro-purposes’ can lead to more engagement, happiness, financial success, resilience, and even, better sleep,” he explains.
The tone is set in the introduction to the book, where he talks about two police officers who invested their time and efforts in a cause they believed in.
Here is an excerpt from the book:
Last month, I spoke to a retail store employee who was in his late forties. His work consisted of standing at a counter all day long from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. with a break of around one hour in between. I asked him what his work was like. He said with a smile that it was all going well. I was surprised by his answer. His was a tough job and he had been doing this shift for the past fifteen years. It was the same job, the same routine all these years. I wanted to find out how this was working for him. He told me his office was like a second family. He got a salary to take care of his family of six, the owner took care of his daughter’s education and, finally, the owner trusted him, he said. I asked him which of these aspects was most important to him. He said, ‘. . . to see my daughter in a better position. That is my purpose now.’
It made me think. While purpose is mostly driven by very big objectives, human beings are able to endure the most difficult of circumstances if they have a meaning and purpose they can relate to. I could see it as a ‘pyramid of purpose’.
The Need for a Purpose
Talking about the inspiration for the book, Krishnan says, “Nearly, 65 per cent of the working population are not engaged and many feel miserable at work. The question before me was how we can be more meaningful and happier.” This question inspired his book, he says.
While simplifying the complexities of workplace and employee engagement, the one lesson that Krishnan learnt himself was about the “owning mindset”. “The moment we stop blaming others about why things are not going great for us, and start taking ownership for making thing better, life begins to change,” says Krishnan, adding that he started feeling much more confident and purposeful after experimenting with the concept himself. “It is all about asking this question first: What can I do about this situation?” he explains.
“In every role, there is an opportunity to make a solid impact, and this depends on your attitude and resilience. Embracing challenges and innovating within your realm of influence can be an exceptional purpose accelerator,” writes Amitabh Kant, former CEO of NITI Ayog, in his foreword.
Purposeful facilitates a conversation with the reader where it asks reflective questions and tries to provide relevant tips and solutions like how to become more engaged in one’s job, how to develop a purpose action plan, etc. “Being more purposeful can help us to define career and personal goals better, pass through some of the tough situations with resilience, and be more intentional at the actions we take,” Krishnan says in conclusion.