Most people are looking for ways to regain more peace and productivity, as we mark one year since the World Health Organization declared a pandemic. It is an excellent time to revisit and redefine your personal purpose. Having a thoughtful purpose statement and using it to guide you has many benefits. Leaders who support their stakeholders in developing a personal purpose can also use it as a strategy to establish a more robust culture and productive team.
Last year, I was able to interview a purpose expert and CEO, Jodi Berg of Vitamix. She attributes her success, in part, to helping her employees find and follow their personal purpose. She proved this with her teams at her company as she rose the ranks and then did a doctoral dissertation that provided research to back up its merit. Remarkably, Jodi determined that companies with a higher purpose had zero impact on their satisfaction with life. But having a personal purpose, which may not have anything to do with work, gives people higher engagement with their work commitment and life satisfaction. Jodi found that “companies can increase engagement and commitment by not only creating and sharing a company higher purpose but by helping employees identify their personal purpose.”
And here are additional statistics that support the benefits of meaning and purpose at work:
· 9 of 10 employees are willing to trade a percentage of their lifetime earnings for greater meaning at work. Meaning and Purpose at Work
· Meaningful work has an important positive impact on human beings’ well-being and builds supportive relationships and a sense of community among people. Positive Organizational Scholarship: Foundations of a New Discipline
· Employees who place a higher value on meaningful work occupy more senior, skilled positions and stay longer. Meaning and Purpose at Work
· Raises and promotions are more common for employees who have meaningful work. Employees who find their jobs highly meaningful are more likely to have received a raise in the past year and are also more likely to have received a promotion in the past six months. Meaning and Purpose at Work
· Increased commitment, empowerment, satisfaction, and a sense of fulfillment result when individuals pursue a profound purpose or are engaging in personally important work. In Search of Excellence: Lessons from America’s Best-Run Companies
Here is a step-by-step guide for developing or refining a personal purpose for you and your stakeholders:
1. Where do you want to go? Think about the positive changes you want to make in 2021 in your life. Choose one area to focus on as a foundation for all the other changes you want to make. It’s ok if this is not clear and specific yet; just chose a direction.
2. What inspires you? Generate a list of people, ideas, principles, activities, and spiritual forces at the center of what brings you peace and awe. Then, circle one that most resonates with your heart today and can best sustain you for the rest of the year.
3. What moves you to action? Make two lists, one of the passions (interests, skills, and ways of being that energize you) and the other for your priorities for 2021. Make adjustments to the priorities if they are do not include your passions. Making passions a focus will help you get your mojo back and build momentum.
4. What is your deeper why? A well-written personal purpose statement does not have to impress anyone but you! Think of it this way…you are the vehicle, your vision is the destination, and your purpose is the fuel. Use the work you did in questions 1-3 for fodder and write a statement that explains your deeper why while expressing your style. Here are some examples to get you going:
· To be a better parent by loving my kids more deeply (especially when they annoy me), having more fun, and supporting their talents and interests.
· To improve my health and mobility by getting expert help with new and sustainable exercise choices and delicious food choices.
· To build sales beyond projections in my division to expand our impact, turn over the leadership to my team, and do something more creative for our organization’s mission.
· To honor my spiritual path by developing new daily practices that enhance my relationship with God.
· To be an active community leader by creating new projects and programs for teens in our community to address mental health issues and prevent suicides.
· To create a business idea that contributes to reversing climate change to get off the corporate track and be on an entrepreneurial path to have more autonomy and creative expression opportunities.
5. How can you use purpose to create impact? First, put it in a place where you can review it often. Ideally, you will commit it to memory like a personal mantra. Then, refer to it as you develop plans, schedules and make decisions. If appropriate, you can share it with a person you trust so they can support you.
Knowing and using your personal purpose can be a powerful tool for change. To learn if your current job or livelihood is aligned with your purpose, take this assessment.