Purpose is one of those topics that has found a new lease of life in recent years, as studies of Millennial employees suggest that purpose in their working life is the primary aspiration. What’s true for Millennials is true for us all; a good job goes much further than simply collecting your salary each month.
It should perhaps come as no surprise, therefore, that when we have a sense of purpose in our working lives, not only are we more productive, but we tend to earn more. What’s more, the happiness in our working life also tends to help us to live longer.
That was the finding of a recent study that examined the lives of several thousand American people as part of the Midlife in the United States (MIDUS) study.
Finding Your Purpose
The study tracked participants over their life, and the data revealed that those who had a strong sense of purpose were significantly more likely to out-live their aimless peers.
“Our findings point to the fact that finding a direction for life and setting overarching goals for what you want to achieve can help you actually live longer, regardless of when you find your purpose,” the researchers say. “These findings suggest that there’s something unique about finding a purpose that seems to be leading to greater longevity.”
What’s more, this sense of purpose also translates into financial success, as our vitality and energy help us to perform better at work.
“Studies show that purpose correlates positively with more expansive future time perspectives and with a greater sense that their time is being used effectively to fulfill downstream goals,” the authors say. “As such, purposeful people may be more likely to save money or make investments that support downstream goals, and not squander resources based on impulsive decisions.”
The data revealed that those participants who reported feeling a sense of purpose in their work saw an increase of $4,461 in their annual income and $20,857 in their net worth.
The authors suggest that this increase can be down to the increased physical and psychological health that renders the purposeful individual less likely to miss work and therefore incur healthcare costs, but it’s also more likely that they will be engaged at work and therefore productive.
It’s in this context that Dan Pontefract has penned his second book The Purpose Effect. He proposes that purpose comes in three forms:
- Personal purpose.
- Organizational purpose.
- Role purpose.
The sweet spot is when all three of those are in alignment. The book details each of these three types of purpose and explores why it’s so important that they are met before then discussing how things can be changed both on an individual and organizational level.
Given the huge importance that we can fairly attribute to finding one's purpose at work, it’s perhaps a book we should add to our reading list in 2017.