As a life coach I have often wondered, how purpose can be acquainted with those who have a call to work in the marketplace; as a young Christian it seemed innapropriate to discuss this word 'purpose' in line with their careers. To me purpose was about being a Christian and not everyone in the marketplace was a Christian so why should they be concerned about purpose?
It wasn't until I had challenges in reaching a certain level in my career that I soon discovered why it is that God's desire is for us to know our purpose before working in the market place.
The Invisble Glass Ceiling
Years back I had a great job as a Human Resources Consultant, going back further before my career in Human Resources at University, I looked forward to being a corporate chick, in Britian a corporate chick is a high flyer, a trendsetter, is acclaimed in her profession, has lots of money, wears corporate designer trends and loves life, can certainly afford a lifestyle and doesn't apologise for it....yes that's what I had in mind whilst completing my final year of my Management and Systems Science degree programme.
When I graduated, I was ready to make my mark in corporate Britain. I obtained a well paid job as a Human Resources Consultant, providing personnel to the big investment banks such as Goldman Sacks, Morgan Stanley, JP Morgan, Deutsche Bank, Morgan Grenfel and the likes, as I grew in experience and knoweldge I was at the top of my game and I wanted to go even further and I did! However, something started happening, the higher in promotion I went, the less fulfilled I was, the more I was making in salary, the more I would spend but less satisfied I would feel!
Finally I encountered the invisible glass ceiling! You see, the invisible glass ceiling is something that every corporate woman would encounter, it's invisible, but when a woman seeks to go higher in her profession, the limitation raises it's ugly head. It's a ceiling that says because you will one day marry, have children, relocate with husband, there is no need to seek highre management or directorship positions, let the men be in those positions, yes we will pay you, but you won't get higher in your position simply becasue you are a woman! That is a limitation!
That is what I encountered; at the same time I was a cross road of life, I was questoning my existence and I needed fulfilment but didn't know in what.
I had also found my faith in the Lord and was friends with a strong Kingdom Minded woman who later became my mentor. Thank God for mentors because she was able to identify where I was in my life and new I needed to identify my purpose.
The thing every Christian wants to know which is all about you and your reason for being!
Eventually I was released from my job and thought it would be nice to really understand what my purpose was. My time at home was to retrain myself as a Life Coach and help others discover their purpose.
The Lord was taking me through a process to understand that purpose and the marketplace go hand in hand. It dawned on me that every woman who would become my client then was because like me they had a career, but was not fulfilled, they had identified the gifts and resources they had within but didn't know how to make it work.
One example was of a woman who had worked for a retail bank for 20 years, was made redundant and found herself working as a cashier for a huge supermarket (Tescos), but this woman had a gift in baking cakes, cookies and all, but yet she couldn't make thhe transition from her well paid job to a business person, she ended up being a cashier. Not that there was naything wrong with being a cashier, but if you're gifted why settle for less?
When I worked with this woman as my client, her confidence was built, her self esteem developed and she believed in her speciallity which was baking. She grew that the supermarket she was working in opened up an opportunity to sell her cakes and cookies. Not only did she become the business woman she didn't see in her before, she was also being relevant in the marketplace, she was higher in position than she was in her job as a banker...
How is Purpose Synonymous With Your Career?
I realised that God was taking me through a process in understanding why one must know their puropse in Him to have a career, be an influencer and be successful in the marketplace, in my career as Human Resource Consultant I wanted to go higher in management and be relevant in the society, not through God but through my skills, experience and knowledge, yet all that I had didn't get me very far and left me feeling unfulfilled. Once I discovered my purpose, I was able to go beyond the invisible glass ceiling, a limitation that is created for women like me who want to go furthersimply because I may one day be married, have children and relocate with my husband.
When you understand your purpose, you will understand that you are created to as an expression of God to give Him glory, to do good and to further the gospel, once you understand that, there are no hold backs, God will show you off anywhere in the world because you understand why you are created. the next thing is that using your career in the position of your purpose will only seek to give Him glory and transform the lives of others to know Him! Whatever your career is, whatever skills you possess, the Lord will move on your behalf to create opportunities within the marketplace where a seat will be created for you, because God knows that whatever life you come across, you will transform for Him.
If you don't know your purpose, the world will use you for their own purpose and discard you, when you know your purpose, you will be selective about the posts and positions offered to you because you'll understand that you are in positon for a reason and perhaps a season.
Today I am in a better postion in that being in the market place is a calling only for those who know their identity and their purpose in Christ. I love what I do, why I do it and have seen many lives transformed by the Christ in me!
The truth is you can't have a successful career without purpose and your purpose is the reason for your career.
Jacqueline Ani is a transformational career coach, mentor, writer and author, inspirational speaker and has a heart to see women transformed to be the best they can be in every area of their lives.