Identifying your purpose

​​​​​​​Finding your “why” starts by thinking about what only you can give to the world — what you do that’s unique.

“Just as we need to eat and breathe, we have a need to be fulfilled. To do that, recognize how you uniquely impact the world with your skills and talent and build on that,” Brian explains.

If you’re having trouble identifying your “why,” Brian says, look at the people you admire, identify what you admire about them and match those qualities with aspects you want to express more.

When trying to define his purpose, Sam Islam, who leads four RBC bank branches around Edmonton, thought back to his childhood.

“As a kid, I led a lot of sports teams and brought people together,” he says. “Now, as a Community Manager, I try to do the same by connecting with my team personally and professionally, in addition to coaching and training them. Through connection, the team can feel safe to be themselves and share the good, bad or whatever is on their mind. I’m happiest when we feel and act as a team.”

Brian says that’s the sweet spot – when an employee’s values match the work they’re doing.

“When your beliefs and skills meet your challenges, you feel great and do great,” he says.

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When Sam was an advisor, he also had many heartwarming moments with clients. He once met with a hard-working dad to talk about how to reach his lifelong goal of owning his first home. With Sam’s guidance, he saved up over two years to buy his large family a house. Later, the dad told Sam how much his help meant to him — he even has a stone with Sam’s name on it in his home as a sign of gratitude.

“That fills me with happiness,” Sam says.

What comes next?

Determining your purpose is a great first step, but to truly fulfill it — you’ve got to do something, which can be daunting.

Sian knows what that feels like.

“I was a stay-at-home mom and had no financial background. When I first started at RBC, I wondered if I was in over my head, she says. “I didn’t know a lot about banking.”

But she took the initiative to take that first step to RBC. With the bank’s training programs and her co-workers’ support, she learned a little bit more each day, and her career has grown.

“I’ve learned new things and taken on challenges – like passing the investment funds exam in Canada to get my mutual funds license. It’s one of my proudest moments,” she says.

It may take a lot of courage to move from thinking about purpose to acting on it, but Brian says it’s worth it.

“Go all-in and you’ll see a powerful change in your life,” he says.

A word from our lawyers

This article offers general information only and is not intended as legal, financial or other professional advice. A professional advisor should be consulted regarding your specific situation. While information presented is believed to be factual and current, its accuracy is not guaranteed and it should not be regarded as a complete analysis of the subject matter discussed. All expressions of opinion reflect the judgment of the author(s) as of the date of publication and are subject to change. No endorsement of any third parties or their advice, opinions, information, products or services is expressly given or implied by Royal Bank of Canada or its affiliates.