Redefining the Purpose in Your Business Life


For today’s professionals, so much goes into building an experience full of value and personal meaning. As we discussed last week, people want more of a purpose out of their job than a simple paycheck.

While it’s true that getting paid is a piece of the game, it’s just one part of defining your all-important business purpose, and you need more than one motivational force if you want to be engaged, fulfilled, and working at your very best.

Dan Pontefract wrote a recent HBR article where he identified three specific business mindsets. He called these the job mindset, the career mindset, and the purpose mindset.

In the job mindset, your only concern is the paycheck you will be earning. You do exactly what you are asked to by your superiors so long as it will lead to some kind of pay day.

The career mindset is more concerned with building a future for yourself; may that take the form of salary advancement, promotion, or new opportunities. To do this, you build connections, you do stand out work to get the attention of your bosses, or otherwise look for ways to set yourself apart from the pack.


The purpose mindset is the most important piece. It is the source of all that powerful creative energy that gets you thinking outside the box and working to make not just your life better, but also the life of the business that you are a part of.

You can’t have a strong purpose-driven mindset unless you are genuinely invested and genuinely passionate about the work you’re doing.

For Dan, all these mindsets have value and a place, but too much of the first two and not enough of the last can be incredibly harmful not just to your personal wellbeing, but also your future business prospects. People do their best work when they care about what they are doing and finding ways to foster that passion is critical on the overall roadmap to success.

A lack of purpose goes deeper than simple business burnout. It speaks to a fundamental dissatisfaction with the work you are doing and demands a change for the sake of yourself and the business you are a part of. That change can be big or small.

If you are deeply and truly beaten down by the fundamental prospect of working for someone in an office for 8 hours a day then maybe it’s time to think about building your own business backed by your own ideas and beliefs. It’s a big risk and a big commitment, but if that’s where your passion is, you can’t fear making the jump.

But with that said, you don’t need to make a life-changing move to redefine yourself and the way you feel about what you’re doing. You don’t even have to leave your current job and search for another one, though that is always an option if your current situation just isn’t working.

Sherrie Campbell, a psychologist and writer for Entrepreneur, shared 10 small ways to improve your business life. Her ideas are rooted in the simple fact that a change in outlook can do just as much work as something big like a change in environment.

If you aren’t finding purpose in the work you’re doing, find purpose in building connections and relationship with the people you’re working with. If that’s not working either, look for ways to find the value in the simple actions of the day. You may be improving yourself in ways that you don’t even realize.

Ultimately, there is always a purpose to be mined somewhere. Whether that means a big change in your life or a simple change in perspective, the most important thing is not to fear that change and that shift in purpose. In all likelihood, future you will appreciate your courage.

— ZK

Ed Lynes13p5Comment