Twitter has been buzzing with debate and strongly worded different views (!) this week about an advert seen at a school open day and posted on twitter.  The poster ad put up around the school, tells the story of a boy who visits the school with his Dad in their family Volvo.  The young boy wishes they had a Jag like the shiny one he can see in the school car park.  So, in the story he attends the school, does well, gets a good job and buys his Dad a Jag when he retires.  In other words, the school saying ‘send your child here and they will be successful.’
How do you see this?
A great story of aspiration, having a goal, purpose and the drive and determination to achieve them, and then share your success?  Or, is the story like some twitter critics have felt,  (as reported in the news) as  “vile”, “appalling” and “wonderfully tone deaf”.
The ad may have been badly written– but isn’t it interesting to see how its core message is interpreted so differently?
Be aspirational, have a dream, work hard and you will do well?    Or, arrogant in tone and encouraging materialism?
There is lots of evidence and research that shows having a dream and ambition in life, whatever that may be,  is a great way to create motivation and purpose, on a macro ‘life goals’ scale, as well as a micro day to day scale.

Research quoted by HBR talks about how finding ‘a clear sense of purpose’ in day to day tasks can have massive benefits to efficiency, productivity and even health. The HBR article refers to a study of Japanese workers at a large IT company ”….a higher sense of purpose as well as a sense of interdependence with co-workers was correlated with lower inflammation as well as a higher viral resistance in the bodies of the workers.’’
Research has also shown a connection between a sense of purpose in our personal lives, and good health such as reduced risk of stroke and Alzheimer’s disease, and even increased longevity.  Whereas ‘…. mindlessly performing tasks ….is a recipe for inefficiency, disengagement, and even poor health.’

So, having dreams, goals and a purpose is good for us.  It gives us focus and it can galvanise our energy and unlock our courageousness.

Hints & Tips on Finding Your Working Purpose

  • Identify and list your mission or purpose, e.g. being a force for good, changing the world, tangible success, money, helping others, beating the competition?
  • Identify your mainstream purpose e.g. financial security, enjoyment through activity, learning, feeling useful.
  • Choose your main primary purposes and begin to integrate them into your daily consciousness.  Use them when you are creating your daily goals and reflecting on what a difference you have made.
  • Ask yourself, what is meaningful in what you do? Focus on this more.
  • Identify what difference you really want to make in your role, in the company.  Make this happen.  Regularly review how you’re doing to get that positive feedback loop.
  • Create a purpose of being. How do I want to be as a co-worker, team member, leader?
  • Choose to make the most of everyday, wherever you are, not just for yourself but for others too.