Recently I read Morten T. Hansen’s book “Great At Work – how top performers do less, work better and achieve more” where he offers clear, simple, quite analytical ways of looking at Purpose and Passion and claims that PxP is what we require, one without the other is not enough. Because I love taking concepts and trying them out in reality, I decided to test his “model” against reality and then against our True Leadership® framework.

So Hansen describes Purpose as “What I do to create value” or “What I give to the world” and Passion as “What I love to do”, or “What the world gives me”. It makes sense to me and is in line, I think, with what is generally understood by Purpose and Passion. 

He illustrates the stages of living your Purpose as a pyramid, where the foundation is “Create Value and Do No Harm”, the second level is “Find Personal Meaning in the Value You Create” and the pinnacle of the pyramid is “Social Mission”. 

Discussing Passion, Hansen says that not every one is blessed with intrinsic motivation for the work they do,  but Passion can also be triggered by Achievement, Creativity, People, Learning and Competence.

What a difference it would make if we were all living with Passion and Purpose, doing what you love and adding value to your context in a way that is meaningful to you and the world you choose to impact.

Can Purpose and Passion get in the way of each other? 

What I discovered in reflecting on my own and others lives is that Purpose and Passion certainly can get in the way of each other. I know for myself, and many  other people, clients and colleagues, that at some time in our careers we have been so focused on creating value, by meeting expectations set for us or goals we set ourselves, that we did not even consider that “doing what we love” is important or even viable. Many who have matured on the “Purpose Pyramid” to the point of being on a “Social Mission” often don’t mind whether they “love what they do” or not, as long as they serve their Social Mission.

Looking at it the other way round, many, again clients and colleagues, so love what they do and time passes so fast, that they never move past the foundation stage of the “Purpose Pyramid.” They create value because generally they are applying their talents. Even if they are not intrinsically motivated by what they do, achievement, creativity, people, learning and becoming competent fills their life with enough satisfaction so that they do not look for meaning in what they do, they just have fun doing it. 

So what can facilitate our developing our Purpose and Passion in parallel?

It’s not rocket science, it’s the place where all self development starts – self awareness.

In our True Leadership® framework our approach to Self Leadership raises self awareness and helps participants  to align the work they do with both their Purpose and their Passion (as described by Morten T Hansen in his book Great at Work). 

  • We encourage our clients to know and apply their talents, which means they create greater value more easily (Purpose) and experience Achievement, Learning and Competence(Passions)
  • Our clients focus on discovering how their goals are met by serving the goals of the organisation, adding personal meaning to the value they create (Purpose) and experiencing Achievement as a result (Passion) 
  • Being aware of their values, our clients are encouraged to make decisions in line with those values which means the companies they choose to join and the value they create are meaningful to them (Purpose) and there is more of a sense of belonging (People Passion)
  • Developing their awareness of others and focusing on behaving in a way that builds trust, causes no harm (Purpose) and broadens the horizon of their impact as well as adding to the enjoyment of being part of a team (People Passion)

Leaders that have the courage to challenge and support the members of their team to discover and align their Purpose and Passion with their professional lives will create engaged and high performing teams. 

Organisations, part of whose Purpose it is to create a culture which elevates employee fulfilment,  will achieve better performance and greater impact on their communities.

If this resonates with how you think about your own Purpose and Passion or that of your team and organisation and would like to explore this further contact us for a complimentary discussion…..