A sense of purpose

What’s your purpose in life?

It’s a simple enough question. Do you respond with immediate clarity of thought, or throw your arms up in horror and say that’s all too hard and/or you’ve never thought about it?

This week I attended a Meetup group discussing future workplaces and we debated “purposes” – personal, organisational and that sweet spot where the two intersect.

So what is it that gets you up in the morning? Do you work to live or live for work?

Some of us concluded that your personal purpose probably changes depending on which stage of your life you are at. Your early career is perhaps more about personal progression, through to family-related purpose and then perhaps a greater good. Many look for that intersection of personal purpose with work, and most never find it.

I feel very fortunate that I’ve reached a stage in life when I have a clear sense of purpose that crosses over into the purpose of the business I work in. This is all around creating a better HR profession and better workplaces. The things I do outside of and alongside my work as an HR practitioner such as writing blogs, mentoring, volunteering my time for #NZLEAD and the Association of People Professionals, connecting, collaborating and running an HR meetup group etc are all strongly linked to that purpose and so give me a lot of satisfaction and pleasure. I’m sure people often wonder why I do all of that (I know my wife thinks I’m mad) but that’s the reason I guess.

Five years ago my purpose would have been very different if I had thought much about it at the time. And different again five years before that when my kids were young.

From an organisational perspective it’s less about what you do these days and more about how you do it that draws people in. Having a solid business plan simply isn’t enough.

In an age where long term plans no longer cut the mustard strategically or operationally, maybe we are better off focusing on our core purpose both individually and at an organisational level to give us the focus on where we need to go.

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