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Work is an interesting thing, and as we learn to navigate the workplace, it’s important to remember that it’s not the same workplace of past generations. Just take your morning commute. You download a podcast to your iPhone, hop on the train and listen along while skimming the newest success book on your kindle. When you arrive in the office you sit down at a computer, log-in to your account and start rattling off emails to your colleagues. I can already name five items in that description that thirty years ago didn’t exist.

So, it goes without saying that the work rules have changed. Imperative offered up 12 Key Lessons from the Latest Workplace Research and listed the new approach to work.  Some favorites? Be human, Giving back makes you successful and We learn by doing and taking risks. As we work for longer, more tools are available and work is constantly evolving. As people are expected to integrate their work and life and deadlines are “yesterday”, it’s all about learning the new way we work, while searching for what will continue to make us sane.

How has work changed for you in the past years?

Oh, and, your parents still have great advice on how to be an incredible worker – even if they didn’t have cat videos to distract them. So the next time you have a slack-related problem, still consider asking them what they would do.

I am so excited to introduce Arielle is super smart (like, PhD smart) and takes on a lot of roles in her day to day. Read on to learn about her quest for balance and what she does in her (limited) free time.

Hi! Who are you?! What do you do?
Hi! My name is Arielle Linsky, and I am a second year PhD student in Clinical Psychology. This position is divided between 4 main roles: (1) Researcher: I am part of the Social and Emotional Learning Lab. We conduct community action-research projects promoting social and emotional and character development in schools. In other words, we teach kids to be smart with their hearts. (2) Clinician: I see clients for psychotherapy in our in-house community clinic, and as part of the behavioral medicine team at a family medicine practice. (3) Student: I take courses, just like normal school! (4) Teacher: sometimes I teach undergrads.

Work/Life/Passion Balance, what’s your method?
Ahhh, the quest for balance is ongoing! Probably my 3 strongest sources of “life” in the work/life balance are spending time with friends and family, exercising, and cooking. More specifically, I’m pretty obsessed with yoga, and with the classes offered at the Rutgers gym (surprisingly high quality!), and with good food- especially involving avocados and recently, fresh tomatoes.  Another key component to my survival in grad school so far, is that I have my TV on wheels in the center of my studio apartment. This means I literally can watch from anywhere- leading to lots of Netflix while I cook, get ready, do “work”, etc. One struggle has been finding time to get out to one of my favorite places in the world- The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp. Hole in the Wall is a camp for kids with serious illness, and it’s pretty much magic. The “work” balance part of the equation is made possible, in part, because, I’m really lucky to love what I’m doing. I get a lot of joy from the learning and critical thinking involved in my research and classes, and I love the direct interaction I get to have during client sessions and while teaching. I try to remember how much I love and learn from this stuff when it’s midnight and I still have class reading to do, a client note to write, and research emails to respond to… 🙂

When you were a kid, what did you think you were going to be when you grew up?
Well, I’ll say this, I spent a lot (and I mean A LOT) of time daydreaming about becoming a professional figure skater. Unfortunately, my moves on the ice, or lack thereof, never quite caught up to my dreams…

Now that you’re pretty much a grown-up, what do you think you’re going to be when you grow up?
I’ll probably be a firefighter. No, but for real, I’ll probably be a researcher/clinician in some setting- either academic or as part of a teaching hospital, at least for starters. Then… we’ll see!

Thanks for chatting! Where can folks find more info about you?
We are in the process of upgrading our lab website, so stay tuned for that, but for now, you can find out more about the Rutgers Social and Emotional Learning Lab here: http://www.rci.rutgers.edu/~melias/. Also, if you’re interested, you can check out the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp here, do it, it’s an awesome place!: http://www.holeinthewallgang.org.

Anything else you want to share?
I’m so honored to have been interviewed for this site. Rikki- you’re awesome for doing this blog!  I didn’t pay her to say that. Seriously. 

There’s a lot out there about the importance of finding your Purpose, that Passion drives Success. That without passion and deep belief in your purpose you will never be happy at work. I’ve even quoted Steve Jobs, “The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle.”

So today, we’re going to flip it, and take a look at Cal Newport’s, So Good They Can’t Ignore You: Why Skills Trump Passion in the Quest for Work You Love. The book was recommended, and reading it (twice) has resulted in an interesting way to approach the Follow your Dreams mentality. Now, Cal’s book doesn’t necessarily say that purpose isn’t important, or that you don’t need purpose to be successful, rather, he somewhat rethinks the order of events, and instead of having passion lead your next job hunt, he has “career capital” lead it.

Let me share with you a breakdown of the steps briefly:

  1. Don’t Follow Your Passion – Wait until you understand what you’re good at. I.e. I may just love puppies (I DO!), but, that may not mean I should become a professional dog walker. I may not like picking up poop multiple times a day.
  2. Claim a Skill/Career Path – This may seem a little like find your purpose, but rather than focusing on this big manifesto, you think about the things you are good at and enjoy doing. I.e. if I love taking dogs for a walks, maybe I consider becoming a dog walker. And, no worries if I find out that it isn’t for me, I can switch to something else, no pressure.
  3. Master that Skill – and create a “craftsman” mindset. As in, get really into your craft.  Ira Glass talked about how this applies to creativity: “All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know it’s normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take a while. It’s normal to take a while. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.” Simply put, through repetition, continued generative effort and constant feedback you’ll create some very serious career capital. Maybe you’ll become a dog walker that is so good everyone in town wants you.
  4. Negotiate Control – once you have the grand master of skills, you can start asking for the things you need to make you happier. You have negotiation power now to start thinking about what you need to be happy in your workplace. Maybe you want to only walk dogs on Mondays – Fridays from noon to 7pm. Now that you’re the hottest dog walker in town, you can do that. People will be a-okay with you only working those hours because you’re simply the best.
  5. Define the Mission – now that you’re living that beautiful life of working how you want, you can take all that mastery you’ve created and apply those important skills to a bigger mission. Maybe you want to start a dog-walking business that walks rescue dogs or dogs that are up for adoption so they can get outdoors and meet potential new owners.

Now, all of this isn’t to say that passion should be tossed out the window. Instead, the focus is building up skills to support that passion, to understand that passion, and to execute on it. At first, it may seem overwhelming to consider what your skills truly are. One thing that can help is to start thinking about all the things you do in your day to day life, the ones you enjoy, and the ones that challenge you that you like to iterate on. This may help you start thinking about which company will let you build up those marketable skills a bit more. Good luck!

Credits:
Business Insider
Lifehack
Brainpickings

I’m really excited to introduce someone who’s made changes in their career to make a bit more of a mesh between work and play, Len Yeh! He’s a pretty incredible human, so let’s get right to it!

Hi! Who are you?! What do you do?
I’m an experience designer with a focus on fitness and education. Currently, I’m helping a non-profit educational tech startup build a web application to better the math education in our country.

Work/Life/Passion Balance, what’s your method?
Balance–in the traditional idea of leading a bisected life with neat compartments for work and play–never worked well for me. I gave that a shot early on, and I quickly found myself trying to live two separate lives that weren’t feeding into each other. I was always involved with things at odds with each other, like going out to party and keeping up with my fitness. I was terrible at identifying conflicting goals and tasks. Since the people I socialized with mainly just drank a lot and stayed up until 4AM, I was, not surprisingly, in the worst shape of my life. When one part of your life wants to go left, and the other part wants to go right, you just end up standing still.

My strategy became alignment, so that the “work” and “play” parts of my life would largely go in one direction. I began to hang out more with people who were also interested in health and wellness, so it was always easy to call it an early night and get some sleep. I was a digital producer at the time, and changed my job to become a UX designer, as it was the role I was playing in for all my personal projects and hobbies. I no longer had to introduce myself as “ABC during the day, XYZ at night.” I was just XYZ all the time.

As I mentioned earlier, I’m currently designing digital math lessons for young students at work. One of the things I’m doing outside of work is studying to get certified as a personal trainer. These two things certainly look misaligned at a glance, but my personal experiences with fitness have given me a lot of background in behavioral change, willpower, and motivation. Now, my work with education reciprocates by giving me better insight on how to distill information down to teach people how to make fitness work for them.

When your life is aligned, you’re actually always working, but you’re also always playing (and learning). That could actually sound like a nightmare for some people who aren’t interested in that lifestyle. I’m not in the business of shaming people who aren’t doing what I’m doing.

For those who think alignment sounds nice, I have to say that it’s a privilege, and not everyone is in position to make the alignment without difficulty. If you’re an investment banker and love theater, I’d assume alignment is going to be more difficult and harder to explain to people, though not impossible. My story here is abridged, and I don’t want to make it seem like finding better “balance” or “alignment” was easy or risk-free. You can’t underestimate the amount of commitment and luck needed. I am fortunate after taking some calculated risks and putting some conviction into my actions.

When you were a kid, what did you think you were going to be when you grew up?
Honestly, I probably thought I was going to become a dog and rename myself Scotch.

I don’t know that I thought I was going to be anything. I had a pocket response, telling people I was going to become a veterinarian. In hindsight, it was probably my first taste of rebellion. All the adults want your answer to be “doctor,” so that was my 5-year-old way of saying, “fuck you! I’m NOT going to be a doctor…for humans.”

Now that you’re pretty much a grown-up, what do you think you’re going to be when you grow up?
I don’t know.

If there’s anything I’ve learned, it’s that our desires and environments are constantly changing. I’m pretty happy with what I do now, but my profession didn’t even exist when I was a kid. I’m sure I could be something in 10 years that I don’t even think is possible. I could also be something much worse.

Thanks for chatting! Where can folks find more info about you?
I’m @fishbonedice everywhere on the internet, and I park some of my creative work on fishbonedice.com

I’ve been trying to write more, and last year I published an article on Medium about Vin Diesel and success. There’s a concept in there that I titled “Always Be Closing the Gap” that I think is relevant for the audience here. I can’t take credit for it. I discovered it on Quora by an awesome writer named Oliver Emberton, who I try to share any chance I get. His original post is here: http://www.quora.com/At-age-25-would-you-pursue-a-good-paying-corporate-job-that-makes-you-unhappy-or-a-hobby-that-makes-you-happy-but-has-no-guarantee-to-pay-the-bills/answer/Oliver-Emberton

I’m not exaggerating when saying that post was one of the large triggers that got me to live my life with more intention.

Anything else you want to share?
I want to thank you for doing what you’re doing and being so consistent with it. You are an active inspiration to me and the work/play that I plan on doing. Hopefully the readers who follow Workhappi feel the same.

I’M BLUSHING SO HARD RIGHT NOW

Now for the second part in our two-part series learning about how Alexa, our double-careerist makes space for work, life and passion. If you want to catch up, read Part 1 here.

How do you feel about your work/life/passion? How do you feel like it will evolve?
I have the best job in the world.  I get paid to backpack 20 miles a day off trail at 10,000ft and catch frogs.  But my work is seasonal, temporary, and without benefits.  Looking forward to a life with more permanence and stability, I am addressing the differences between wants and needs to guide career decisions.  I need a home, a community, daily exercise in the mountains, and time with my amazing husband.  I want (but may need) to think critically and problem solve, to make things with my hands, and to live in a place I love.  I don’t want to feel like I can’t afford avocados, or fresh berries, or a teeth cleaning, or a new exhaust system…

What are some things that sorta hold you back?
I make a lot of excuses to NOT pursue the things I love.  I have a hard time taking risks.

What do you do in your free time to get more passion in your life?
I bake my own bread and crackers and make my own yogurt when I have time.  I run and ski and climb but rarely take ownership of risk in the latter two.  I do yoga on my own but usually call it “active stretching” because I don’t want to buy in too much.  Not much in this world is better than sleeping in with the person you love, enjoying a breakfast of bagels and lox and stove-top espresso, going out for an afternoon hike, ski tour, run, or climb, and finishing off the day with tasty homemade dinner.  Oh, and reading is WAY better than watching Netflix but sometimes TV happens….

When you were little, what did you think you’d be when you grew up?
As a kid, I honestly didn’t know what I would be when I grew up. I thought I would figure it out as I went along.  And, now that I am partially grown up, I still don’t know what I will be when I am fully grown up, or if I will EVER fully grow up for that matter.

I will say that as a child,
1) the bottoms of my feet were usually black and tough from running around barefoot outside;
2) I had a sketchbook and enjoyed arts and crafts time;
3) I would conduct week long experiments in the bathtub to create the perfect bath product concoction, and when my mom would invariably knock one of my incubations over while shaving her legs, the experiment would have to start over from scratch and I would not be pleased; and
4) I put myself down for naptime regularly.

So, not much has changed, except that I am worse about the sketchbook and better about the experiments.

Now that you’re grown up, what will you be?
An ecologist-baker-printmaker-mom-homesteader, of course.

How can we find you if we want to learn more?
Rikki Goldenberg has used smoke signals in the past with pretty good results.

Anything else you want to share?
Um, when a page won’t load on Chrome, ever wonder why there is a dinosaur at the top of the message?  Try pressing the spacebar once, and then press it again, and watch that dinosaur…

So there you have it folks! But, one of the last bits of advice Alexa shared may have been my favorite:
It was actually good for me to write these sorts of thoughts down.  I’ve been going back and forth about returning to school for ecology since September, and I just need to do it.  It is time to commit, because committing to something is better than waiting to commit to the “right” thing.  There is no “right” thing at the end of the day.  I do not believe in soul-mates, and I do not believe in a soul-career.  In both cases of mate and career, the chemistry needs to be there, but so does the effort to make things work.  Its about making the choice right, not so much about making the right choice.  Masters (or PhD…..) in ecology, here I come.

Here’s to committing to try new – scary- things! Thanks Alexa!!

If you’re interested in telling me about your own work/life/passion balance creation, shoot me a note at workhappi AT gmail.

Passion, purpose, engagement. They’re all hot topics on how the workplace could be enhanced for the better and higher productivity. The “do what you love” mentality is sweeping the interwebs, and although you may not want to quit your job and be a professional baby goat petter, it’s still good to take some time and figure out how to shift your current role, or find a new one that more closely aligns with your talents.

Now, it may not be smart to have your job be your passion be your life. A lot of times you won’t really understand what you’re passionate about until you try it. Grass is greener is a real thing, and it can be incredibly helpful to try things and build up your skills.

  1. Think Skills. Try writing down everything you’re good at, everything you enjoy doing and anything that gives you a sense of purpose. Take a look at any themes.
  2. Think Flow. What activities make you forget to pee and eat? Write those down. See if there are general themes.
  3. Think Pride. What are the things you do that make you excited to tell people about them, all modesty aside. If you could shout it from the rooftops without anyone making you feel bashful, what would you shout?
  4. Think Reflection. Try meditation, writing down your thoughts and having you-time. All of this space to think allows you to focus on your skills that are most important.
  5. Think Application. Instead of focusing on a career title, think about the skills that are important to you, and what you’d like to develop further. It can extend to the types of companies that bring you joy. Use this as a lense to consider a career shift.
  6. Think Comparison. What kinds of things are people doing that make you a little green. I’m not saying you can become the next rock star, but think about people in your social circle and facebook feed. What are they doing that makes you feel a little jealous. A little bit of that jealousy could be stemming from a desire to try something similar.
  7. Think Young/Fun. What did you love doing as a child? Try that out. Maybe instead of worrying about bringing more skills into the workplace you should take up a painting class to exercise some passion for life!

Honestly, writing stuff down can always help. I’m a firm believer in starting a journal entry with “I want…” or “I enjoy…” and just freestylin.

Good luck!

Credits:
https://www.themuse.com/advice/8-killer-pieces-of-advice-for-finding-your-passion
https://www.themuse.com/advice/3-tools-that-help-you-answer-the-question-what-should-i-do-with-my-life
http://www.businessinsider.com/how-to-find-out-what-youre-good-at-2015-4
http://www.viacharacter.org
http://www.inc.com/jessica-stillman/hard-work-or-passion.html
http://www.fastcompany.com/3001583/fast-exercises-find-your-purpose-and-passion-work
http://lifehacker.com/make-room-for-your-passion-even-if-it-cant-be-your-job-1651456970
http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/219709

After writing about work-life-passion balance, I wanted to do a slightly deeper dive into passion overall. I’m a firm believer in finding passion during the workday or on the weekends – either works, as long as you’re feeling good about each day. BUT, there are certainly some benefits to finding more passion during your workday.

The numbers are in, and very few people are passionate right now about work. It’s less about employee engagement, and more about truly caring about what you do. It’s a problem at the junior and senior level, in small and large companies – startup or corporate. So, anywhere you look, there can be a lack of passion.

So… we get it, we know it’s a big deal, but how do we increase passion? How do you use your company and role as an avenue to succeed in what’s important to you as an individual? Here are some tips!

  1. Collaborate – by working with other people on other teams, not only do you get to harness some serious coworking skills, but you also get to learn about the other areas of your company. Can’t do that with your current position? Consider joining or creating a culture club, book club, or even a bi-monthly dinner club. These can be low impact ways to meet and learn from other people you work with.
  2. Network – attend some industry-related events. They could be readouts on the newest features, meetups, or a cocktail hour nearby. If your industry has bigger conferences, try working with your company to foot the bill. This can help bring new blood to your company, or it can introduce you to some thought leaders who can inspire your journey.
  3. Outside the Box – get a side gig. Not only will it help you bring some ideas to the workplace, but, you’ll get to meet people who do different things than you, and it might spur more passion. Or, ideas about what you’d like to do at a new company, or your company. For example, if you’re working in marketing but have been thinking development could be cool, try taking a class or attending a workshop. Not only will you gain lots of skills, but you’ll also get to test something out before committing to it full time.
  4. Remove Blockers – a lot of dispassionate feelings come from feeling road blocks in your daily role. Rather than spending your time complaining about them, talk to your coworkers and manager about how you could remove those blockers. By working cross-functionally you can learn so much, but also, get rid of some red tape that’s been driving you crazy. If what you hear is “we’ve always done it this way,” consider it a challenge to show them just how much better the company could be with some positive changes!

Granted, all these ideas for increasing passion at work may not be right for you if you’re not loving your job or role, but they certainly can be helpful to reengage in the work you normally like to do!

Credits:
https://www.officevibe.com/blog/passion-work-important-engagement?linkId=11669205

Now that your company found some purpose (that was fast!), I wanted to write about personal purpose. There’s a lot of information around “finding your purpose”. Seriously, google it. You will become overwhelmed.

What I’ve been loving though, is this post on The Impact Trap, as it’s making this experience feel more human and flow-y. Overall, finding your purpose has to be a journey. Your purpose is going to look different from when you were 22 to when you’re 50. It just simply is going to be a different experience. There’ll be “oops” moments, and “eureka!” moments, and that’s all okay too.

The general flow though, is an understanding that in order to find general fulfilment, you have to look at your everyday life and think about your future all while considering what you’ve learned from the past. A job that you may take today may be completely different than what you would have considered years ago, but right now, it could be the right step for you. As long as your movement is always to increase your own sense of fulfilment, then you’re doing great stuff. Our job each day isn’t going to wow us, and it’s up to us to find and create our own challenges and moments of reward. You won’t always have the best boss, but you can for sure learn from the worst of them.

There are some tips to help you find your purpose, but before you do, realize that you’re already living your life, and that’s purpose right there. So, you may not need to quit your day job and become a surgeon or actress. It’s more to give yourself moments to reflect on what’s working, and what isn’t, and quietly finding ways to build more of the “what’s working” side of things into your everyday life.

Some Ideas to Get the Juices Flowing:

  • Write down your skills – write down what you’re good at. Reference it often, update as necessary. Star the items that you actually enjoy doing
  • Write down your values – consider what is important to you when you’re working. Do you have to agree with the product, the company mission, or enjoy the people you work with? Do you like working in teams or do you like working remotely?
  • What makes you forget to eat – what kinds of things let you get into a flow at work, or at home. Maybe you can start stamping out a line of code and forget what time it is. Maybe you research topics and discover it’s after work hours. Maybe you wake up in the middle of the night with an idea for your next blog post (I do!)
  • What can you live with – no job is perfect. No role is perfect and there are hiccups everywhere. So, start thinking about what are the things you can handle. It could be that you don’t mind working long hours, or making a little less money or working for a company that doesn’t have any street cred.
  • What makes you proud – think about what you want people to say about you. When they refer to the type of work that you do or the company that you work for, thinking about how you want that information shared will help you organize your thoughts around what would make you happy. It’s not about comparing yourself to others, but rather, thinking about what makes you feel invincible!
  • Try it – try things out, journey outside your comfort zone, take a risk. Try attending a class or a workshop, join an online course, consider reading a new book. Meet with someone who does that kind of work and ask them what makes them happy (or unhappy).

After taking some steps above, it could help you shed some light on things that bring you strong purpose, passion or intrinsic motivation. My biggest takeaway (and it feels like some serious motivational speak here) is to realize that it’s okay to journey in different ways, try things out, and learn from each experience as you shape your personal purpose journey. G’luck!

 

Credits:
http://boz.com/articles/the-impact-trap.html?utm_source=99U&utm_campaign=d1470a03eb-Weekly_02_15_2015&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_bdabfaef00-d1470a03eb-149029621
https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-science-willpower/201201/find-your-courage-and-compassion-one-question
http://markmanson.net/life-purpose#YirbF7:Hs5R
http://zenhabits.net/life-purpose/
http://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifestyle/how-find-your-lifes-purpose-and-make-yourself-better-person.html
http://www.lifehack.org/articles/communication/7-questions-help-you-find-your-life-purpose.html

 

Purpose is a hot topic right now. Not only personal purpose, but it’s written that companies with a strong social or cultural purpose overall will fair better than those that don’t. A survey from Deloitte found that the numbers are there:

The survey, which sampled 1,310 U.S. adults, found that 90% of people who believe their organization has a strong sense of purpose also report a strong financial showing in the business over the past year. They also report high employee and customer satisfaction. Only 65% of respondents who say they work for an organization without a strong culture of purpose report a good financial performance in the company. Customer satisfaction is relatively low (63%) and employee satisfaction is dismal (19%). – Fast Company

Building a company with a hefty cultural purpose will be rewarded with lower turnover, higher employee satisfaction, and more and more young folks will want to work there. Just think Warby Parker or Toms. Unfortunately, there can be a fair bit of disconnect between how much purpose your company has from the executives’ opinion to the actual staff. As a leader or in the c-suite you may think your company is rolling in purpose. However, your employees may see things a different way.

So? How do you figure out your purpose as a company? It can be a difficult process – even more so if your company inherently doesn’t have an easily defined purpose outside of your actual, day-to-day work.

So your company doesn’t have an easy purpose-route. That’s okay, here are some options that work well for any company:

  • Have (many) purpose days – Make it a mix of self-led, and employee-led. When employees have a purpose day, ask them to write about their experience, or even present. When an employee organizes a purpose to day to soup kitchen or building site, consider giving them a gift, or an extra day of PTO to show your thanks.
  • Donations – in the winter time offer up your office to be an area of winter coats, or run a food drive every once in a while
  • Pro-bono – if you’re a services agency, consider some partnerships that you do at a lower cost. Maybe a partnership with the national parks system, or a nearby school. Not only will your team feel good about giving back, they’ll also have an opportunity to work with a client they normally wouldn’t, and, that client will probably be extra appreciative
  • Invest inside – Offer classes, stipends for classes and bring in interesting lecturers. By making courses or conferences easy for your employees to attend they’ll feel that you care about their general growth and they’ll bring some increased knowledge back to the office environment.
  • Make wellness a priority – Work is tough, and one way to show your employees that you care about them is to show that you care about their health, too. Consider taking half-days to let people work on personal projects (ya’ll know that’s how gmail was created.. right?). Set up group yoga classes! Encourage lunch-break workouts! Basically give space for your employees to stretch their brains (and muscles).
  • Brainstorm – Have a jam with your current employees to discover what they want to work on, and ideas they have for the entire company. It can be a fantastic moment to take a pulse on your workforce and hear what your employees really want. You may get a new business idea or a whole new offering!

These are just a few things that you can try to build purpose. The biggest changes you can make are at the fundamental level. Think about speaking with your employees and find out ways that they think your company could build more purpose. Realize that when you encourage purpose, more clients will want you and people will want to work for you. It’s an amazing feeling to work somewhere that feels like it’s making a difference!

 

Credits:
http://www.fastcoexist.com/1682123/businesses-with-a-strong-sense-of-purpose-are-more-successful
http://www.forbes.com/sites/csr/2011/11/07/why-corporations-with-a-social-purpose-perform-better/
http://sloanreview.mit.edu/article/combining-purpose-with-profits/
http://www.inc.com/simon-sinek/leadership-how-to-identify-your-companys-purpose.html
http://causecapitalism.com/why-your-company-should-have-a-social-mission/

Intrinsic Motivation

In my slow and sluggish return from holiday, I figured my first post would be about vacation fatigue. Instead, this past weekend I was inspired to write about something that has been sitting in my “to-write” list for quite some time.

While attending a wedding on the edge of New Hampshire and Maine, I was meeting some curious subjects. A wonderful trio of friends were back together after a few years apart, two of us traveled from NYC to beyond cell service to watch our third marry the amazing man she met seven years ago working trail crew up in the white mountains. Now, the NYC-gals were the odd-balls in this grouping, as we did not intend to do a “quick” 10 mile hike the morning of the wedding. Over many beers and some good stomp-dancing, the trail-crew friends were infectious in their general joy. Whenever they spoke about the work they were doing, whether it was guiding, ski-patrolling or eyeing lice on pigeons their whole face lit-up. They were animated, excited and just so very passionate.

On our (very) long trip back to the city, we got into the conversation around motivation. This was a group of people who aren’t the richest, who may not have the nicest things, but are inexplicably happy with what they’re doing. It may be the connection to Earth or preservation or whatever, but mostly I assumed it has to do with their ability to tap into intrinsic motivation. So! Quickly put, I just wanted to define(ish) intrinsic versus extrinsic motivation. It’s something people talk/write about a lot, and this past weekend was an amazing example of it.

Extrinsic motivation is when you’re motivated by external forces. I.e. my gal and I both like to work because it affords our lifestyle in NYC; we enjoy being able to eat out, get drinks with friends, attend music concerts and have nice things. We also work in industries that may not be the most personally fulfilling but we’re respected by the people we work with, our parents, and our peers.

Intrinsic motivation is when you’re driven by something deeper inside of you. It’s the parasite-lover who now simply studies parasites for a living. It’s the teacher who is completely invigorated by watching people understand a tricky concept. Intrinsic motivation is seen in people who like to attempt to accomplish a task “just because.”

We’re all a mix of extrinsic and intrinsic motivation, and I think the key here was finding people who lead with the internal passion at their core. Maybe it’s that they found “purpose”, or maybe they have parents passing them cash under the table, but either way, I was envious. It doesn’t mean I’ll leave my job to join a non-profit to go save the world, but it certainly means we should all be taking time to check in with our guts and see if what we’re doing each day is coming from inside ourselves or outside.

In the meantime, I think I’ll certainly be considering more outdoorsy stuff – I saw four shooting stars and the Milky Way! It was awesome, and maybe some more quiet time will give me opportunities to tap into that passion-core. Which I’m now coining. Passion-Core.

Credits: The Noun Project, Shooting Star designed by misirlou from the Noun Project

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