Sharon Eden examines people oriented business

Am I crazy? Purpose, passion and power as an Executive PA at work? What on earth is the world coming to?

I’ll tell you. The world is beginning to become a different place within organisations. A place which is more people orientated and focused on the wellbeing of employees as well as creating profits.

And, as you will likely spend most of your life in the workplace, it’s time you, and everyone else, started working in ways which make it more fulfilling and rewarding. The more that people just like you act as pioneers, the more the word will spread.

Bringing your purpose, passion and power into work means you have the potential to create great rapport with clients, colleagues and management. It means you are a role model for commitment, engagement and a self-rewarding attitude. You also become an influential and formidable force in your department or even the organisation at large.

If by any chance you just thought, ‘Yes but…’ or ‘Who me?’ in reaction to my suggestion, you are defeating yourself before you even begin. You can be a formidable force and it all starts with knowing your purpose. It is like a guiding star which draws you toward things you love doing. It’s not a thing or goal like running the marathon. It’s your theme, your personal signature tune, which is playing in the background whether you recognise it or not.

To explore what your purpose might be, write a list of all the things you truly love doing for yourself and others, including any bizarre answers. These are from non-logical intelligence, such as emotional, sensory, intuitive, and can surprise you with what they reveal in time.

Then, without censoring, identify or sense the theme which runs through all the things you truly love doing. Again, you might receive surprising information, like ‘My purpose is creating magic for myself and others’. Accept whatever answer you get even if, to begin with, you’re not sure what it means. Your understanding will come in the hours and days to come.

Whatever your purpose is, because it can be lived out in many ways, find at least one way in which you can bring it into your work. Then notice what changes exponentially for the better.

I once worked with an executive who, at first, was delighted to discover her purpose was ‘dancing for herself and others’. But then her beaming smile turned to a frown as she judgmentally said: “But that’s not much of a purpose to have!” Like many people, she imagined her purpose had to be something huge, deeply profound or earth-shattering!

Her smile soon returned when I said quietly, “I can’t think of a greater purpose than to dance through life and show other people how to do it too.” It was as if all the lights had been switched on in that moment. And, with gusto, she began to think of ways to express her purpose in her work life.

While connecting with your purpose guarantees passion, just thinking of what you love doing fires up enthusiasm. In turn, your enthusiasm will automatically reconnect you to your passion; your life energy; your pizzazz; and your get-up-and-go.

Being passionate about what you do is massively beneficial for you and your employer in terms of job engagement, enjoyment and productivity. You also earn a positive reputation as the kind of upbeat person with whom other people want to work and just
be around.

Passion is not about being a hot head or over the top, or going off the rails (which many people fear). These are just stories you learned to keep you in check. Stories which were handed down to you for family and/or cultural reasons. Stories which prevent you from connecting to your vivacity, your skin tingling aliveness.

So, think about a time when you were full of enthusiasm and felt passionate about something with which you were involved. That could have been a hobby, playing sport, the view from the top of a particular hill, or even a work project. Imagine you’re back there right now. Take a few minutes to remember, feeling your enthusiasm and passion now!

How good is that? And how would you like to have more of those experiences and feelings in your life today? Because you can. Developing and living your purpose in your workplace, and doing so with the passion your purpose inspires, is absolutely your way forward.

And, as for power, it is not the coercive and manipulative thing you might sometimes see happening in your organisation. Nor is it about controlling other people. Your true power is inherently good, skilful and strong.

It includes the ability to observe a situation objectively. Think of a time when conflict was occurring in your office. Emotions got heated and different versions of what was going on were mooted. With true power you can take a step back and, without apportioning blame or pointing the finger at anyone, you see clearly to the root of the problem.

True power enables you to assess what needs to be done for the situation’s benefit. With the conflict in your office, that might be providing a safe environment in which mediation could take place.

True power also includes acquiring internal or external resources to achieve your desired outcome. In this case it could be you learning to stay neutral in the face of the conflict. Or it could be an independent and outside mediator being hired as the best person to achieve resolution.

Finally, having true power means you are able to take appropriate action, which is in line with what you’ve objectively seen needs to be done to remedy the situation. And, sometimes, that means doing nothing!

Take a risk! Imagine seeing yourself at work being the purposeful, passionate and powerful person you really are. Notice how you look, how you sound and how you feel. And notice how people respond oh so positively to you. Practice acting ‘as if’ you are such a person to exercise and strengthen your connection to your purpose, passion and power. Repeat until being your purposeful, passionate and powerful self, rather than who you were trained to be, automatically becomes your way of life.

Now, it might be that you are already such a person. If so, congratulations! Even so, you can be even more purposeful, passionate and powerful too!

When you’re growing into your empowered self, it’s not unusual for some people to think, ‘This isn’t for me’. Or that other people will think you rude, too big for your boots,
or aggressive.

Those thoughts and feelings come from internal gremlins who just want to keep you small. They want to hold you back in your career because nice people don’t make a noise, or you mustn’t outshine your sister/brother/mother/father. Or whatever rubbish, limiting belief, you learned to make sure you didn’t shine, when shining is actually
your birthright.

So, go on. I challenge you to stand in the magnificence of your purpose, passion and power. Grab your heritage and create your legacy in your profession, and life, as an inspirational person, who is absolutely the most you can be. Unlock the power of you.


Sharon Eden is the Inner Leadership Coach, Psychotherapist and Speaker. She helps dispirited people dynamically recover and recharge their sense of self through discovering purpose, passion and power at work. Her book, Whack Around The Head, available ... (Read More)

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