Álvaro Cárcel, Executive Search Director.
Google, probably the company that knows the most about us, publishes annually a short video (Year in Search) reviewing the main searches of its online users during the year.
And according to Year in Search 2022, it seems that the main theme of online searches in 2022 has revolved around change and the search for purpose.
• Can I change?
• Can I change my life?
• Can I change careers?
• Can I change my perspective?
• Can I change my style?
• Can I be original?
• How can I find my passion?
These are some of the main global searches that have been carried out in the search engine during the year 2022.
It is not surprising, and in fact it is totally connected to what is clearly perceived in the work environment. There is a growing tendency to question absolutely everything, torethink what are the vital and professional priorities of each one, and to look for "something more" than a meaning to our own existence.
The question then arises: is such purpose-seeking healthy, or can it be counterproductive or even destructive?
In my opinion, the pursuit of purpose should be embraced in the same way as the pursuit of continuous personal improvement. It should not be a goal as such, but a long road that is traveled and enjoyed as you go. I think there is a certain obsession with "finding a purpose that gives meaning to my life", and while it is not found (and it can be years, or even never meet) the only thing that is achieved is to perpetuate a feeling of constant frustration.
The purpose is found by walking, not from the sofa at home. You are working, traveling, interacting with other people. It is the result of the accumulation of successes and above all, of personal failures.
Thanks to all of the above, a person manages to reach the first block or stage of the "life-career-purpose" alignment: deep self-knowledge.
Without self-knowledge, there is no change. Without self-knowledge, there is no purpose, no meaning, absolutely nothing. And the problem is that many people go out in search of something without even understanding why.
And the above applies both personally and professionally. Professional changes motivated by an incipient search for purpose often end in failure. They are dangerous forward flights.
Let me give you an example:
Marta, currently Financial Director of a family business. Previously, his career had been developed in large international multinationals. 2 years ago, through a contact, he met the owner of the family business and convinced him to take the leap and join the project. It goes from a multinational company, reporting to the corporate in another country, to a family business with an exclusive focus on the national market and reporting directly to the Company's Property. He considers that it is a step forward, and that he will be able to gain visibility.
After 1 year in the position, she is totally frustrated and understands that she made the wrong decision. Then begin to actively apply to new opportunities.
What will happen?
If you accept one of the first proposals because you are paid 20% more, and thus manage to "flee" from your current position, there is a high risk of second consecutive failure. On the other hand, if Martha analyzes the situation in depth with the aim of approaching its purpose, she will surely ask the right questions and is more likely to end up making the right decision:
• What kind of environment do I feel comfortable in?
• Is having exposure to international environments and working with different countries critical to me?
• Do I really feel comfortable reporting to a property (with all the positives and negatives that implies)?
• Do I prefer procedural, highly professionalized environments?
The answers to these types of questions bring us closer to our purpose. And as I said before, these answers are not achieved (unfortunately) from passive reflection or asking questions to Google. They are achieved through experimentation, risk-taking, victories and especially mistakes and failures.
In short: the search for purpose is not an easy or fast path. It is a journey of many kilometers and steep slope. It is a long process, with different phases, but it is certainly worth it.