Discover Your Individual PurposeJuly 23, 2018
In our last blog, Bringing Purpose to Life , we highlighted six factors that are critical for instilling a sense of purpose within an organization, highlighting the importance of aligning corporate purpose with the personal values of the employees.
As the idea of meaning at work continues to make its way into the corporate world, the need for us to discover our individual purpose, talents and passion becomes increasingly important. DPMC research shows that a person’s understanding of purpose is the single most important factor to happiness in life. And uncovering how our unique passions contribute to the larger picture, drives meaning within our work, increasing our motivation and performance. Its not surprising then that companies such as Unilever, Medtronic and Heineken are paying attention by inviting their employees to deeply reflect on and articulate their personal purpose through various training methods and coaching programs. Nick Craig, in an article published by Harvard Business Review makes this point clear: “defining individual purpose and putting it into action is the single most important developmental task a leader can undertake.” His research discovered that fewer than 20% of leaders had a strong sense of their own individual purpose & even fewer could distill it into a concrete statement. “Purpose is about understanding your strengths and passions you bring as a contributor, no matter what position you are in. It’s not what you think you should be, it is who you can’t help being.”
Defining your purpose is the first step, but to be effective, we must be living it daily. This requires, above all, the characteristics of consistency, authenticity and integrity – which will allow us to grow healthy and in the appropriate direction.
To help better develop and live our individual purpose, we have outlined three dimensions that, when kept in concert with one another, help us to become more authentic persons.
1. Knowledge: characterized by self-knowledge (knowing who we are) & self-awareness (listening to our inner self). Self-knowledge is obtained through observation, analysis, reflection and feedback. Self-awareness is connected to our beliefs, desires, hopes, and feelings; becoming aware of our deepest values and motivations – the part that cannot be observed externally.
2. Action: characterized by commitment (putting our gifts into action) and virtue (turning our purpose into a habit). To be effective in living out our purpose, we must move beyond merely understanding our purpose, and develop the practices that help us to act consistently toward its end.
3. Motivation: characterized by internalization (making the purpose truly ours) and emotions (managing our feelings). In this dimension, purpose is more than knowledge and action, its our ENERGY, that inner force directing and driving our potential – our everything – toward the fulfilment of our purpose.
In a world, that is ever changing, where following right path is increasingly blurred, and where determining right from wrong gets too often rationalized, our life’s purpose plays the critical role of guiding our way through the noise. The ability to discover one’s life meaning and live accordingly is authentic and natural. Whether consciously or unconsciously, people have a deep seated need to understand their purpose, define it and put it into action. In doing so, we reach a high level of coherence, increasing our happiness both personally and professionally.
Purpose is a journey. To effectively live it out, the above dimensions must be in harmony and continuously re-tuned. Dealing with imperfections, as they come, in each dimension will allow for us to grow and learn, which in turn will allow us to discover new ways of living that are more consistent, authentic and full.