Aligning Your Passion/Purpose Archetype with the Work You Do: As Suggested by the new book, The Purpose-Linked Organization
By Karma Kitaj, PhD
“Purpose is the driver that propels us through life and gives meaning to our daily existence … Without purpose, and its outward expression through our passions, life becomes a series of unconnected activities that do not lead to a sense of fulfillment and joy so vital to our well-being.” So wrote Alaina Love and Marc Cugnon, co-founders of Purpose Linked Consulting (www.thepurposelink.com), in their new book, The Purpose Linked Organization: How Passionate Leaders Inspire Winning Teams and Great Results.
Although the book is marketed to an audience of corporate and institutional leaders, its message is critical to all of us, no matter whether we’re employed or searching for work that will fulfill us, as well as sustain our bank accounts.
The authors know that when we operate from our deepest drivers, what really matters to us at a core level, then we are joyous and productive as employees or as self-employed people. And, when our purpose/ passions are aligned with the work role we occupy, then we are so much more valuable to our company, our organization, and to the people whom we serve.
The book includes access to a tool called a Passion ProfilerTM, which tells us our top 3 Passion Archetypes; mine are: Transformer, Teacher, and Healer. The Transformer, which is the way I see my passion and purpose as a Life and Career Coach, is described as someone who is a change agent, who identifies and embraces possibilities, and can see the full potential of what can be and will gravitate toward it. The Transformer is passionate about facilitating change. That’s me to a “T.”
So, if I were working in an organization (which I am not - I have my own business), I would be most effective working on a team where my Passion Archetype were recognized, desirable, and where I were given all kinds of ways in which to express my passion to facilitate change with other employees and in the definition of projects in the workplace. If I were in a role where I was expected to be a “Conceiver,” a “Creator,” or a “Processor” (some other Archetypes described in the book), I would not be using my real skills, values, or passions. I would not be happy; nor would I be well-utilized by my employer or my clients. I’d be apt to shy away from some of my assignments or take more “sick days” than necessary, leave work at the earliest possible time, and maybe take work stress home with me, in the form of sleep disruption, irritability, or lack of self-confidence.
Finding one’s purpose and passion, the authors wrote, is a journey. Most of us are not lucky enough to have known our purpose all of our lives. Most have worked and lived in environments for decades where we liked or enjoyed or felt fulfilled once in a while, but it was catch-as-catch-can. We assumed that peak experience, that flow, was dependent upon being in a particular place at a particular time and that we couldn’t necessarily replicate it – maybe it was our mood of the day, what side of the bed we woke up on, how many drinks we had last night (or didn’t), what time of the month we’re in (if we are a woman), or whether someone told us we had done a good job.
Love and Cugnon describe a method of discovering our Purpose and Passion. It’s called PREP, an acronym for:
1. being Present and open to daily experience of meaningful activities now (a spiritual concept)
2. Reflect and Partner, which includes a time of stillness and contemplation, courage to let go of the need for order and predictability, and partnering with a community of like-minded people
3. Examine our past for examples of passionate and purposeful experiences, and
4. Persist in following your journey, despite detours and occasional dead ends.
There are three things I take from this compelling book. These are my interpretations, not necessarily proposed by Love and Cugnon:
1. Once we enter the path of finding one’s purpose and passion, we are much more independent and capable of finding a way to express that in many domains of our life, not only paid work. It is always there for us to gravitate toward. We don’t have to wait to be in just the right position at work or anywhere else. It now belongs to us. No one can take it away – layoffs, restructuring, or a negative review.
2. But, it’s a process that takes mental, emotional, and spiritual energy to discover it and many of us don’t have the discipline to do so on our own. Find a partner, a coach, a support group, a mastermind group to do this.
3. If we really want life to be stupendous, then we can create work (and other experiences) where our passion archetype is really valued, where we’re chosen because of our particular archetype. What we have to offer – our Being – is just what the leaders in the organization need from us and they are placing their faith in our contributing this set of qualities and values to the greater good. This is the confluence of factors that allows us to feel that we are creating a life of meaning, every day, despite setbacks and obstacles. Go for it!