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I recently watched Oprah as she told the story of a man who walked away from making millions at Microsoft in order to build libraries and distribute books in developing areas around the world. Other people featured on the show told Oprah similar stories of how they left their jobs to find their purpose. The show was very inspirational but it also troubled me. I began to think about all the people I meet around the world who don't plan on leaving their jobs and yet they are burned out, tired and purpose-less.

In fact, in a recent Harris Interactive poll 42% of those surveyed said they were burned out. Only 15% were actually energized by their jobs.

I believe these numbers are perpetuated by a misconception that in order to live a life of purpose we have to leave our jobs and go solve world hunger, feed the homeless, move to Africa or start a charity. While these are all noble causes and there are people called to do these very things, for many of us our bigger purpose can be found in the here and now, in the jobs we have right under our noses. And when we find and live this purpose it will provide the ultimate fuel for a meaningful life.

After all, we can eat all the avocado, drink all the water and do all the exercise we want but unless we live and work with purpose we'll never be fully energized. Research shows that people who apply their strengths towards a bigger purpose beyond themselves are happier and more energized.

You may not build libraries around the world but you can find the bigger purpose in reading to your children. You may not feed the homeless every day but you can nourish your employees and customers with a smile, kind word and care. And while you may not start your own non-profit organization you can begin a charity initiative at work. After all, "charity" means "love in action." You can make a difference every day and touch the lives of everyone you meet. While these people may not be starving because of a lack of food, you can provide them with a different kind of nourishment that will feed their souls and feed your own in the process.

I heard of a Janitor who worked at NASA and even though he was sweeping floors he felt his bigger purpose was contributing to put a man on the moon. I met a Bus Driver who knows his purpose is to help kids stay off drugs. I met a hairstylist who saves lives by taking time to talk about life with each client. I met an administrative assistant who has become the Chief Energy Officer of her company. I know a Popeye's Chicken employee named Edith in the Atlanta Airport who makes millions of air traveler's smile each day. The list goes on...

Ordinary people with an extra-ordinary purpose bigger than themselves.

In any job our purpose waits for us to find it and live it. It's not the job we have but the energy and purpose we bring to it that matters.

I can't tell you what your purpose should be but I can tell you that everyone of us can find a bigger purpose in the job we have. I can tell you that we can find the excitement in the mundane, the passion in the every day and the extraordinary in the ordinary. I can tell you that every job, no matter how glorious or boring it may seem, will get mundane if we let it. Purpose keeps it fresh and when we are filled with purpose, we never run out of gas.

Don't wait until you go to Africa to start living with a mission. Don't wait until the weekend to feed people who are hungry. Bring your mission to work, start feeding yourself with purpose today and nourish others in the process.

Sending Positive Energy Your Way,

Jon Gordon is a leading authority on developing positive, engaged people, leaders, schools, businesses and teams. He is the author of The Energy Bus: 10 Rules to Fuel your Work, Live and Team with Positive Energy, The 10-Minute Energy Solution and Energy Addict: 101 Ways to Energize Your Life. Jon's proven solutions are being put to use by people and organizations worldwide and his tips have been featured on CNN, the NBC Today Show, Men’s Health, Forbes, Positive Thinking Magazine, and more. He is also the co-founder of PEP- The Positive Energy Program, which creates and funds programs that develop healthy, positive children around the world. Learn more and sign up for Jon’s free weekly energy tip newsletter at

is a leading authority on developing positive, engaged people, leaders, schools, businesses and teams. He is the author of

(Reprinted with Permission © Copyright 2007 The Jon Gordon Companies)

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