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As a direct result of researching, writing, and promoting my latest book, Is That All There Is? I’ve done a lot of reading about personal and employee purpose and satisfaction. And all of this research leads directly to an understanding of what companies need to do to keep their employees happy, productive, and employed.

Why is this compelling? FORTUNE Magazine says that The Great Resignation has stunned many business owners and employers. Today nearly two-thirds of U.S. workers are looking to change their jobs or leave the workforce altogether.

“Researchers have revealed turnover patterns that explain why so many are quitting in droves right now. Employers looking to stop the exodus should pay attention: Much of the onus is on them to give workers better reasons to stay.”

Why purpose?

When unemployment was high, and wages and job opportunities were low, perhaps you didn’t have to worry about these things. But today, with more companies offering more money for the same workers, it has become critical that you provide your employees with the other opportunities they’re looking for. These can include self-development, purpose-driven company missions, stipends for education or community activities, and other programs that tell your staff that you care about them and their hopes and dreams, not just their ability to punch a clock and provide a good day’s labor.

Studies show that workplaces that cater to their worker’s extracurricular needs have significantly higher rates of retention and employee satisfaction than companies that simply provide a reasonable wage. And given today’s competitive environment, there’s just no good reason for our staff members to continue in a situation that makes them unhappy, regardless of how well paid they are.

But before you can understand what your employees’ and coworkers’ purposes are, it’s helpful to know your own. As Socrates said, “First, know thyself.” Or as every eight-year-old responded to a playground insult, “Takes one to know one.”

What is my purpose?

Until recently it was to work at something I enjoyed in order to earn a living. Making money is an important part of my work because I feel responsible for taking care of myself and my family, because I enjoy buying and having nice things, because I want a secure future, and because I don’t like worrying about money or about how I’m going to pay for things.
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Money is also a good way to keep score – it can serve as a solid metric and a way to determine one’s value in the marketplace. And because not everything about work is either enjoyable or interesting, the amount of money paid can often make work both bearable and worthwhile.

But for me there’s always been more than just working for money. I care about what I can push myself to produce and what my work product can accomplish. Whether it’s giving a great speech, writing a great book or solving a vexing client problem, a good finished product makes me happy.

My purpose is to use my skills, talents, and creativity to improve things – create better materials, discover new solutions, improve people’s lives. When I ran my ad agency, that also included providing a good living and a good work environment for the folks who worked with me. Over the years people have told me what a difference I made in their lives (both former workmates and people who didn’t work for us but benefitted by our work, advice, teaching, etc.). I find that very fulfilling.

Experience, growth, and satisfaction are important because they not only make the work experience better, but because they also add to enjoyment and fulfillment. Work is good when it’s honestly conceived, well done, and profitably sold. Also, when it makes a difference – no matter how small that difference may be – for the people who commissioned it or enjoyed its consequences.

But most of all, my work is important because it helps define me and it gives me a sense of pride and accomplishment. My work reminds me that I’m a good designer, a good writer, a good communicator, speaker, and problem-solver. I like being good at those things and I like what being good at those things says about who I am and what I’m capable of accomplishing.

How do I know this is what I want and what I want to be doing? Because I spent the time it took to think this through and actually write my Statement of Purpose down where I could read it, reread it, and think about it. If you don’t mind me saying so, I think you should do the same thing. You won’t believe the clarity it will give you.

What is your purpose?

If you’d like some help, or if you want to share your purpose statement, please use the link below.

What’s your purpose? Please click the “COMMENTS” tab below and let me know.

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