The realisation that your purpose doesn’t align with your company purpose can be very demotivating and destabilising. You can be perfectly content working toward someone else’s goal or objectives until one day you realize that your personal dreams are being compromised. You realise you’re trying to be someone elses vision for you, not your own vision of your ideal self. It’s a Jerry Maguire moment. This awakening leads to feelings of betrayal and frustration for having wasted energy pursuing the dreams and expectations of others.
In the movie, Jerry questions his purpose and place in the world and walks out of his successful job as a sports agent to work for himself under his own terms. If your purpose is not aligned with your company, there’s no need to walk out of your job like Jerry however, doing nothing can stall your career and severely impact your wellbeing and self esteem.
The research says purpose driven companies are more successful, so businesses across the globe are making big claims about their purpose. Every business from toothpaste companies to car manufacturers now has a purpose that they’re telling everyone about. I’m pretty sure Simon Sinek’s “Start with why” viral TED talk is also a contributing factor. So what does this mean for us as employees? Does working for a company with a defined purpose, goals and objectives make us enjoy our work more?
The answer is yes it does help, but it isn’t enough to make us truely engaged in our work. The research suggests that even if individuals are externally motivated by a company’s vision and are working in a stimulating environment, they are still unlikely to experience the intrinsic motivation, engagement, and fulfillment that comes from working toward the accomplishment of one’s own personal ambition (Boyatzis and Akrivou, 2006). Working towards your own goals and personal purpose will give you a deeper sense of fulfillment.
The magic happens when both the company and individual purpose are in sync. One of the key discoveries in a study by Jodi Berg, was that when the personal purpose and goals of an individual are in alignment with the company vision, the individual was more motivated and engaged. Unfortunately, many of us don’t experience this magical alignment of the stars.
You may not be able to influence your company, but great levels of engagement and fulfilment can be achieved from discovering and pursuing your own purpose. Start with your own personal “why”. What makes you get out of bed in the morning? What are the things you want people to say about you? Your answers to these types of questions should start to guide your decision making in your life and work.
Once you’ve uncovered your personal purpose, think of work as a tool to help you achieve your purpose. You may need to see your work through a different lens for the connection with your purpose to become clear. It may not be as obvious for you as say a doctor who’s purpose is to help those who are ill, but if you’re in a customer service or client facing role, you will be helping your customer in some shape or form which might resonate with your purpose.
The reality is that even though companies are proclaiming their purpose, most of them aren’t activating it within their organisations. Start with your own “why” first and rethink your role at work and how you can activate your own purpose. At some point your company might catch up, but don’t wait for them, life’s too short.
PS – when you’re ready, here’s 4 ways Rachel can help you progress your career:
1. Download Rachel’s White Paper the Game to Grow.
2. Come along to the next Professional Women’s Networking Event hosted by Rachel.
3. Sign up to Rachel’s punchy and informative newsletter filled with her thoughts and resources to help you grow your career.
4. Work with Rachel by joining her Game to Grow coaching program. Contact Rachel for an information pack.