by Natalie Pearce
1. Purpose doesn’t have to be huge. Live with purpose every day.
The ‘grand quest’ narrative that permeates fiction and film can make us think that our individual purpose should be based on achievement, but purpose can be anything - from picking fruit each day (helping people maintain healthy habits) to speaking in front of thousands (empowering people through personal connection). It can also seem scary and overwhelming when we think of it like a quest, that we’re here to do something important, but every quest starts with one step. “My advice is to break down your purpose pursuit into tiny actions. Ask yourself, what small action could I do on a daily basis that fulfils my purpose? Over the course of a year, those tiny actions will add up to something much greater.”
2. Purpose is being, not doing. Use purpose for improving health and wellbeing.
“We’ve internalised that productivity is linked to work, rather than rest and wellbeing but it doesn’t have to be. It’s more about being present in what you are doing and effectively reaching your goal. A goal can literally be being more purpose driven or to rest because you’ve had a particularly intense time. Purpose is not about achievement; it is about direction.”
3. Purpose doesn’t have to be specific. Avoid wrapping up self-worth and your job with your purpose.
“My purpose is to inspire people to make a difference in the world and have fun while doing it. I used to give myself a hard time about how vague it is because it doesn’t reference my actual work, but the beauty of that is that at any time I can look at what I’m doing. It also helps stop me from attaching my purpose with one job, project or particular thing. It is hard sometimes to differentiate yourself as an individual with purpose and values and beliefs, and the ‘self’ that is linked to your day job. But it’s really important to distinguish between the two and say ‘I am this person worthy completely on my own, and this job – right now – is a way, a method, a means to realising or living my purpose. And if the job went tomorrow, then so be it.”
4. Purpose is not fluff. Embrace your vulnerability.
Despite its huge success rate – creating better performing teams, attracting and retaining more customers, and directly impacting a company’s bottom line, some people still dismiss purpose as being fluffy, or are fearful about looking too deeply, for fear they have to make too many big changes.
“There’s been a lack of appreciation for purpose in the past, but now we’ve gone through a pandemic, it’s almost ironic that the things we valued less before are now more appreciated than ever. In this post-covid world people have been reflecting a lot more and even made changes to live more purposefully and authentically. We’ve had that reassessment of what’s important and what we need to be fulfilled.
5. Purpose is inclusive. Be aware of ‘purpose privilege’
“A lot of narrative around purpose as it stands today is shrouded in mystery, because much of the conversation is targeted at high-status, high-income workers. But having a sense of purpose in our lives is a human right. If we look closely enough, there is purpose and values in every job in existence. In his book ‘Culture Code,’ Daniel Coyle claims that establishing purpose within a team is one of three pillars needed to create a successful culture, referencing the way that Pixar’s onboarding process – whether you’re a director, a Barista or a cleaner – involves sitting in the fifth row of the screening room (where film directors famously sit), and the first words you hear are: whatever you were before, you’re a filmmaker now – we need you to help us make films better. Another example he shares is Nasa where, on being asked what his job is, a Janitor replied: I put man on the moon.
That’s what companies can do. They can show that each person in their office contributes to their overall purpose – and if they do that, they’ll get the best out of everyone – and they’ll keep them.”
“Everyone in your company deserves to have a sense of purpose for why they’re there." - Natalie Pearce
To learn more about how to define and communicate your purpose with Natalie Pearce, read the full article here. And to discover more about how self-awareness can help you and your organisation be more purposeful, get in touch with us at Insights today. We look forward to hearing from you!
Natalie Pearce is a purpose-driven strategist, empathetic people leader, and designer of cultures, services and companies, who co-founded The Future Kind Collective in 2021 and has been working with Insights on strategy, innovation and proposition development. Get in touch with Natalie at: firstname.lastname@example.org