What is the destination, and how will we know we’ve arrived?
Finding your ‘aha moment’ is one of those things that most people want. Whether we know it or not.
If you’ve ever done a creative writing course. You’ll be familiar with the idea that the protagonist is on a real or symbolic journey that culminates in an ‘aha’ moment where they realise how they have changed and understand their true purpose.
Likewise, when asked to advise a young adult about subject choice or careers, nearly all of us would advocate for them to find a fulfilling job with meaning or purpose.
Aligning personal and organisational purpose
But how many of us spend sufficient time exploring whether the company we work for or aspire to work for has a purpose that we can support? How many of us continue to check in and see whether the purpose has changed? I expect that some people who joined Facebook or Twitter in the early days supported a purpose that has long since changed direction.
I don’t think the point of life is to live a long one. A long miserable life doesn’t trump a shorter, more fulfilling one. The Japanese concept of ikigai is to have both – to live a long, fulfilled life. The data from the world’s blue zones, where people on average live longer with less disease, suggests that – somewhat paradoxically – the more you do, the happier you are. Furthermore, the more you follow a purpose, the longer you will live. Perhaps there is a correlation between being busy and happy because the more you do, allows you to discover the reasons to live. Let’s apply this to work.
The often-used analogy of ‘get the right people on the bus, then find out where to sit them’ might just be the way to help people find their purpose in what they do. Fully understanding the whole business and your contribution and impact helps people define their purpose. As they move around and try different seats, they’ll get a better feeling for what motivates and inspires them to do more and have a greater appreciation of how the other parts of the business fit together.
But one thing that is often overlooked is that all those people need to know where the bus is headed. When we don’t know or understand where the business is headed, we might be in danger of getting on the wrong bus. Worse still is a business where different people are directed towards different destinations or the destination is being kept secret.
“The good life is a process, not a state of being. It is a direction not a destination.” Carl Rogers. By setting a destination leaders can help every employee identify their individual contributions to the larger picture enabling them to find their aha moment.
About the Authors
The Core Story are innovators in the transformation of business performance enabling leaders to engage hearts and minds and bring strategy to life for everybody, everyday. We are an imaginative force transforming leadership. Specialising in authentic leadership and strategy, we partner with clients to establish their strategy story and bring it alive throughout the organisation.