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The Secret To Igniting Your Career

483426532“How did you you know you wanted to become a pilot?” I asked Pilot Sam.  His response had a twist. It’s a message critical for happy, thriving, long-lasting careers. There’s magic in this. Read on.

We were dining beside the Bosphorus in Istanbul, sipping raki after a stupendous meal. My guest was Pilot Sam, a senior Turkish Airlines captain with 11,000 flying hours.

I expected a story about his seeing a plane in the sky above as a kid, and his knowing instantly his passion was for flight. How nothing makes him feel as free or inspired as controlling an aircraft through the skies. How sunrises from 30,000 feet make you feel like you can touch the face of God. Okay- I am going on a bit- but you get the idea.

Instead, Pilot Sam told me this story. It has a big message: in fact, this secret to success and career happiness:

Having clarity on your true Purpose is the key to loving what you do: and doing what you love.

“My father took me to the airport when I was 9 years old. I walked around. Saw the planes taking off and landing. Saw the flight schedule clicking over on the board. And then I saw the magic. It was this sight that made me realise I wanted to be a pilot. It showed me my purpose.

“I saw the passengers checking in. I realised in that instant that I wanted to be responsible for them. I wanted to be accountable. I wanted a career where my focus was safe-guarding others. So I became a pilot, and I have loved every day of my career for 22 years, being responsible for others.”

Here’s the thing. Often that Purpose is not the obvious. It’s more subtle. And more profound.

I have been working hard these past four months shaping a new business I will gently launch later this year. It’s all about helping leaders accelerate growth. I spent time thinking about what my true Purpose was. Why did I want to build a business helping leaders accelerate growth?

All my logical answers did not nail it for me. Then I got it. What drives me, and why I turn up every day, is because I love relationships. I love starting new relationships, building them, keeping them forever. It’s what has been the very best reward to come from my career, and what energises me.

So my Purpose became clear. Build enduring, valuable, meaningful relationships with people I like. It just took me 30 years to work it out.

That insight has given me huge clarity as to what I am really trying to achieve every day, and the types of decisions I should be making. It helps energise me for the day ahead, and makes me look forward to every meeting. Knowing what underpins your inspiration and ambition gives you a very special, turbo-charged energy. It makes even tough days feel fun. It gives you strength, and lifts spirits.

I know this Purpose thing is a bit opaque. It can feel fluffy. But it is real. It has value. It will evolve as your career evolves, and then might settle on what it means for you once and for all. That’s okay. It’s worth the effort to keep thinking about it. To reflect. To try to nail what is at the core of who you are and what you are about. It has for me.

So-don’t give up. Think about the legacy you want to leave, about what drives you. Try to grab those moments of clarity when you feel you are working in your element- doing what you are good at and you love doing, that feels absolutely natural and right for you. Keep an email file, titled ‘Purpose’, and scribble notes and messages to yourself so you keep building your insights. Diarise an hour every six months to review the file, and to push for clarity.

Having clarity on a Purpose will build your optimism and resilience. It will be a powerful fuel to give your career momentum and thrust. It’s also a journey. Stay with it. Please.

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27 Responses to The Secret To Igniting Your Career

  1. Alan September 2, 2015 at 10:20 am #

    Enjoyed this one Chris, thank you. I hope your new venture is a success

    • Chris Savage September 2, 2015 at 4:34 pm #

      Thanks Alan. Doors have been open two weeks and I am overwhelmed with opportunity! I am a lucky guy. Chris

  2. Peter Baker September 2, 2015 at 10:33 am #

    Good advice to people Chris, I enjoyed it.

    • Chris Savage September 2, 2015 at 4:35 pm #

      Thanks Peter. Absolutely delighted that I have been made a Fellow of the PRIA. Thanks so much for you encouragement to have a go for this. Chris

  3. Angela September 2, 2015 at 10:54 am #

    Thank you Chris. After 20+ years working in my chosen profession I am struggling to find the “why”. This has given me real food for thought.

    • Chris Savage September 2, 2015 at 4:35 pm #

      Good luck Angela. Chris

  4. Ben September 2, 2015 at 10:57 am #

    Very thought provoking. Thanks Chris!

    • Chris Savage September 2, 2015 at 4:36 pm #

      Pleasure Ben.

  5. Madeleine Robertson September 2, 2015 at 10:58 am #

    Thanks Chris – this was perfectly timed as I am in the process of trying to redefine my career and I suspect that not only could your insights help ignite my career but also my life so for I thank you sincerely.

    • Chris Savage September 2, 2015 at 4:36 pm #

      Delighted to hear that this might help, Madeleine. Good luck with it. Chris

  6. Jen September 2, 2015 at 11:00 am #

    Look forward to hearing about your new venture. Great post. Thanks Chris

    • Chris Savage September 2, 2015 at 4:37 pm #

      Thanks Jen. Just refer clients, many and fast. Thanks! xxxx Looking forward to speaking to the Aquent major events in November in Sydney and Melbourne in February. Chris

  7. Dan Bleakman September 2, 2015 at 11:08 am #

    Nice article Chris. Agree, purpose doesn’t need to be measured. We’re so obsessed with putting a dollar figure to everything we do and justifying it. Sometimes, the greatest pleasures and achievements don’t need to be measured because everyone can see they are real and have value.

    • Chris Savage September 2, 2015 at 4:37 pm #

      Well said, Dan. Hope the fitness is still at peak levels! Chris

  8. Ben September 2, 2015 at 1:11 pm #

    Having just changed employment, from employment in an environment that I enjoyed, too a larger scale Organisation in the public sector. Your article might help me dig deeper into the reason – why?
    Great tip to keep a folder and review!

    • Chris Savage September 2, 2015 at 4:38 pm #

      Thanks Ben- good luck with it!! Chris

  9. Pod September 2, 2015 at 2:09 pm #

    Looking forward to hearing more about your new business
    Lets catch up when you get back.

    • Chris Savage September 3, 2015 at 1:33 pm #

      Thanks Pod!!

  10. Richard de Crespigny September 2, 2015 at 3:06 pm #

    I agree with you 100% Chris. It’s all about your values, beliefs, motivations and passion. It’s all about your why’s.

    • Chris Savage September 3, 2015 at 1:33 pm #

      Richard- agree! Chris

  11. Ian Hamilton September 2, 2015 at 8:40 pm #

    Ah, purpose and passion, well done Chris. On the article and your decision to pursue your passion. Well worn I know, but find what you are passionate about and never work another day in your life. This addition told to me some years ago also seems relevant. Find someone that is passionate about what they do and you find someone that is usually very good at what they do (An executive recruitment trick LoL)

    • Chris Savage September 3, 2015 at 1:34 pm #

      Aha! Thanks Ian. I like it. Chris

  12. Camille September 7, 2015 at 11:29 am #

    I am hoping, Chris, that in some little way, us possums out here have helped guide you to put a finger on your ‘Career Soul’ 😀

  13. Jayne Albiston September 8, 2015 at 12:34 pm #

    Ian’s comments too true above! As for me – I was introduced some years ago to something called ‘Core Process’ and have helped others ever since by doing this simple process for them. It results in 2 key words which sum up what takes us from our valley to our peak, what gets us up in the morning and what really lies at the core of our personal brand. My 2 words were ‘Inspiring Solutions’ and they have been at the core bench mark of everything I do in business, everything I share about, tweet about, re-post and talk about professionally (and personally) ever since. If I ever meet you I can do it for you too Chris. Insane value from such a simple tool. 🙂

    • Chris Savage September 9, 2015 at 12:42 pm #

      Thanks Jayne!

  14. Nicola November 2, 2016 at 2:18 pm #

    Thank you for opening my eyes.

    • Chris Savage November 2, 2016 at 3:08 pm #

      Thanks Nicola. Chris

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