Work today is broken.
Many agree that no society around the globe has figured out exactly how to integrate work + life in order to experience the best both have to offer.
In the United States, we sacrifice work-life balance for prestige, money, or image.
In Japan, many sacrifice everything, including health and hobbies, to maximize productivity at work. There's even a word for someone who works themselves to death - Karo-shi.
In Europe, many cultures view work as a necessary evil, emphasizing vacation time and shorter workdays. This view of work contributes to Europe being one of the more troubled economic regions in the world.
In overly work-driven societies, we are seeing extreme rates of depression, burnout and suicide. In Europe, and other cultures that have prioritized “life-balance” economic issues are rising.
So, if neither working too much or overemphasizing life-balance have proved successful, what could possibly help?
The answer is to find fulfillment in your work.
Diving deeper into unfulfilling work in the US, we find that it has major detriments. Unfulfilling work can lead to weight gain, illness, stress, sleep loss, and mental health degradation. It can also lead to an unhappy personal life and lower motivation. Lastly, unfulfilling work can lead to lower confidence and self-worth.
For many, finding fulling work is impossible, because they don't know what fulfills them. That's why understanding personal purpose is one of the most important steps to take for anyone seeking to experience increased fulfillment and to make a lasting impact during their lifetime.
The journey to fulfillment and impact is certainly not over after one defines their purpose. The next step is to figure out how their unique purpose aligns with the mission of their company.
Most truly fulfilled people work for companies whose mission and values are closely aligned with their purpose. Once individuals learn how to live + work on purpose, it finally becomes possible for them to understand exactly how their job positively impacts the world.
We believe that the last statement is lands closest to the truth about how to best integrate work + life.
As any successful startup entrepreneur will tell you the successful launch and sustained growth of any startup is dependent upon the clarity of the founder’s vision. Scope and feature creep can blur their focus and derail their progress. We believe the same principle applies to experiencing our best life!
No one would argue that focus is critical to success. We’ve all heard, “you cannot be all things to all people!” We all understand our need to say “NO” to almost everything that comes across our path in order to say “YES” to the right things. Those who seek to live more fulfilled and impactful lives must learn how to filter opportunities and make decisions in business and life that protect the alignment of their Mission and Purpose.
You may be thinking, “But aren’t mission and purpose the same thing?
At JourneyLIFE we believe they are related, but very different. Based upon our experience in helping others live + work on purpose over the past two decades, we believe each person has a specific and unique life purpose that provides a platform from which they can launch a variety of seasonal missions @home, @ work and @large.
For example, Steve Jobs had a mission of leading Apple as one of the most innovative companies in history, but that wasn’t his life purpose. During his famous 2005 commencement speech at Stanford University, Jobs stated that is passion was “to build an enduring company where people were motivated to make great products.” Apple and Pixar just happen to be the companies that he founded in his personal pursuit of his passion…what we would call his life purpose!
Much has been written about Steve Jobs lack of interpersonal skills and his Machiavellian style. Many of his direct reports, describe a man that was blunt, impatient, and a perfectionist. Despite the various negative opinions, everyone will agree that Steve Jobs built multiple successful companies (missions). By pursuing his life purpose, he changed the world.
Oprah Winfrey rose from an underprivileged upbringing into one of the most successful media moguls today. She has publicly shared her life purpose statement, “To be a teacher. And to be known for inspiring my students to be more than they thought they could be.”
In an issue of O magazine, Winfrey recalls watching her grandmother churn butter and wash clothes in a cast-iron pot in the yard. A small voice inside of her told her that her life would be more than hanging clothes on a line. She eventually realized she wanted to be a teacher, but “I never imagined it would be on TV,” she writes. Becoming a successful media person was not her goal, but her pursuit of her life purpose resulted in a career (mission) that gives her the ability to impact the world through the channel of television media.
Sir Richard Branson shared his personal purpose statement in an interview with Motivated magazine. His life purpose is to “To have fun in [my] journey through life and learn from [my] mistakes.” He added that “In business, know how to be a good leader and always try to bring out the best in people. It’s very simple: listen to them, trust in them, believe in them, respect them, and let them have a go!” In chasing his life purpose, Branson has built an empire, arguably one of the most successful entrepreneurs on the planet.
Apple/Pixar, OWN, and Virgin are massively successful companies pursuing their own respective corporate missions. But the DNA of those missions were birthed from the life purpose of their founders. Each founder was internally fueled by a personal life purpose, that resulted in creating innovative, culture changing organizations. Their pursuit of individual purpose aligned with a corporate mission changed our lives and will shape the lives of future generations. To succeed in this, Jobs, Winfrey and Branson had to say “NO!” to the missions that didn’t align with their purpose in order to stay focused and say “YES!” to the missions that were aligned so closely that failure wasn’t an option.
We believe that everyone has the opportunity to change the world in their own way. It starts with these three simple questions:
- “What is my true identity?”
- “What is my unique purpose?”
- “How can I make a difference in ways that no one else can?”