Thriving with Purpose

Is work your purpose in life? Or do you work to live? For many people, work is a means to an end. Pay the bills, put the kids through college, fund the vacation. For others it is a calling. Whichever it is for you, if you don’t like what you do every day, chances are you aren’t thriving. After all, we spend most of our waking hours at work.

Purpose helps you thrive

Inherently, as individuals we need to feel a sense of purpose to feel fulfilled and live a thriving life. Having a purpose provides both a reason to get out of bed each day and a central motivating intention for how we live our life. Having purpose gives our lives meaning, guides our behavior and decisions, and shapes our goals. 

Having a purpose in your life is also good for your health. Research has shown that a strong life purpose is associated with reduced risk of mortality and cardiovascular events, such as heart attack or stroke. The researchers found the association to be so powerful that having a life purpose appeared to be more important for decreasing risk of death than limiting alcohol, quitting smoking, or exercising regularly. Additional research has shown that purposeful people live longer, healthier lives.

A recent McKinsey article stated, “70% of people say their sense of purpose is defined by their work.” For many of us, this is more than just showing up each day and collecting a paycheck. It’s from having work that is linked to our personal purpose. This occurs when we feel connection to the impact our work is having, to the people who benefit from that work, or the impact our work has in the world.

Purpose helps organizations thrive

Employers have a stake in the purpose game for many reasons. As McKinsey’s research found, “People who live their purpose at work are more productive than people who don’t. They are healthier, more resilient, and more likely to stay at the company. Moreover, when employees feel that their purpose is aligned with the organization’s purpose, the benefits expand to include stronger employee engagement, heightened loyalty, and a greater willingness to recommend the company to others.”

In a recent conversation with business consultant Mahan Tavakoli, we talked about purpose at the individual and organizational level. According to Tavakoli, “A lot of different organizations have done studies, including PWC, where 83 percent of employees say they’re willing to take lower paying jobs if they get a sense of purpose and meaning from doing what they are doing. So, for a whole host of reasons, most especially since the pandemic, we’re looking for more meaning and more purpose in what we do. Employees are more engaged and more likely to work for organizations that connect with their sense of purpose. When we talk about winning the war for talent, purpose becomes a driver for attracting and retaining the top talent, who have the option of going elsewhere.” 

Further research has shown that, “Purpose can be an important contributor to employee experience, which in turn is linked to higher levels of employee engagement, stronger organizational commitment, and increased feelings of well-being.” All this contributes to less turnover, increased productivity, and ultimately, the bottom line.

Helping employees unlock their personal purpose creates thriving people and organizations.