Lesson 4 - Uncovering your individual purpose as an (HR) leader
Why do you get out of bed in the morning?
Have you ever asked yourself this question?
What gets you out of bed in the morning?
Viktor Frankl, the founder of Logotherapy, a school of psychology based on the premise that the primary motivational force of an individual is to find a meaning in life. He believed that humans are motivated by something called a "will to meaning," which equates to a desire to find meaning in life. He argued that life can have meaning even in the most miserable of circumstances and that the motivation for living comes from finding that meaning.
Frankl used to ask his patients why they hadn’t killed themselves that day. Of course, most of them had some good reasons to stay alive, but they wouldn't have thought about them before they were asked that question.
You don't need to go that far, but it is important to reflect on what drives you, what gives you energy and what you are grateful for.
Most people think that purpose is something they don't have yet, or something they still need to achieve. The truth is that it actually starts with knowing more about who you already are.
Years ago, I came across "Blue Zones Research", a study led by Dan Buettner from National Geographic, and some ageing institutions to find out where in the world people live longer. By analysing lots of data, they found four places in the world with the highest proportion of centenarians and people over 80 and 90 years old.
They also realised that only 10% of life expectancy depends on genetics, leaving the other 90% down to their lifestyle. Basically, they prove that making the right choices in your life can help you live longer.
They went to those four places, a religious community Loma Linda, California, the Nicoya Peninsula in Costa Rica, the Nuoro province in Sardinia and Okinawa in Japan. As they continued their research, interviewing many centenarians and the oldest people in those places, they realised that they not only lived longer, but they were also healthier and seemed happier.
In their research, Dan Buettner and his team found nine common lifestyle habits in those "blue zones", that they believe made people live longer, healthier and happier.
Source: Blue Zones, LLC.
In Costa Rica, they talk about "Plan de vida" and in Okinawa they use the word "Ikigai", both of them can be translated as the reason why you wake up in the morning: your purpose.
Dan Buettner says that knowing your purpose is worth up to seven years of extra life expectancy.
Personally, I agree with that. But I also think that having clarity of purpose and living it will help you not only live longer, but also happier and healthier.
How can you discover your purpose?
As mentioned before, everything starts with getting to know yourself better.
The material I am sharing with you in this chapter of the course is a good start: the Ted talk that inspired me many years ago to think about my Ikigai; the book Ikigai; and the Venn diagram:
A purpose diagram which places purpose at the intersection of what you love to do, what you are good at, what the world needs and what you can get paid for.
Venn diagram from the Ikigai book
I went through that journey of discovery myself as, for many years, I struggled with what I really wanted to do. I was inspired by a book called The Blue Zones, other studies and inspirational talks I was lucky to attend during my career. From this learning curve, I developed an exercise that I use as the basis of my work with leaders, as well as with teams and organisations (leadership teams) to help them uncover their purpose.
If you want to know more about it or need extra help to uncover your or your team and organisation purpose, feel free to reach out.
Alignment with your organisation's purpose
Now I know my purpose. What does this have to do with my company's purpose? Does my company even have a purpose?
Every company has a purpose, a reason for being. The problem is that many of them don't realise they have it.
None of the companies I worked for in my almost twenty years of career had a purpose statement. A couple of them had mission, vision or values, but in most cases, that was just a fake thing they had but they didn't live by, which created more even frustration for their employees.
Kenjo's mission for example, is to change the culture of workplaces, to help people to thrive, and companies to truly succeed. We want to find meaning in our work. To have flexibility in where, and how, we work. To be challenged, but to face those challenges in a supportive atmosphere.
In any case, if you reflect on it you can probably understand the impact your organisation is making on others and the world. This is what you need to align with your purpose and values.
If you can't establish a direct link between your own and your company's purpose, try to see how working at your organisation, doing what you are doing, or maybe taking a different role within your company could help get closer to your purpose in the future.
If the disconnection is so big between both purposes that you can't see how to make it work, well, maybe it's time to look for a change and join a company that provides that alignment.
Ultimately, if people who aren’t aligned with the organisation's purpose end up leaving, this is positive both for them and the company. They will be happier as a result and the business will be able to hire someone who is actually aligned with its purpose.
What’s coming next?
In tomorrow’s coursework, we’d like to talk about how you can inspire your team
- To make a real impact.
- How to start leading people instead of just managing.
- Giving them space to grow.
So stay tuned!
To learn more about Kenjo’s solution to increase employee satisfaction, click here. Grab a demo from Kenjo. We’ll show you around, and you’ll be armed with more info than when you started.