Passion is about the optimal self-realization – doing something because it’s the right thing for yourself. Thus, if the passion brings a sense of self-esteem and self-satisfaction, then the higher purpose is something beyond oneself. To follow your higher purpose comes with a duty – towards your company, your relatives, your country or your God.
This does not make the power of the higher purpose and the satisfaction of following it less – rather the opposite. Finding your higher purpose and then following it can give enormous inner satisfaction. The higher purpose is always based on one’s values and thus enhances the internal ethical compass.
Both as a human and creative leader, it is important to fill your life with meaning, but also to strive to convey a higher purpose to your employees. This can both increase their inner motivation and reduce stress during periods of high workload. The importance of a higher purpose for motivation can be illustrated by the following story:
On a hot summer day, a wanderer comes by a large construction site. He passes a man who is masoning big stone blocks on what appears to be a wall. The man looks troubled and sad. The wanderer stops and asks how it goes. The mason replies that it’s mostly shit. “The work is heavy and badly paid. I’m tired and sweaty in the strong sunshine and my back aches. The building will take many years and it’s not even sure to be completed in my lifetime.”
A bit further away stands another man who is also masoning large stone blocks, but this man looks happy and satisfied and is whistling while he is working. The wandere also goes up to this man and asks how everything is. “It’s great” answers the man. “Can you imagine, I’m building a cathedral! Certainly, the work is heavy and badly paid. I’m tired and sweaty and my back aches. I may not even be alive when it’s completed, but imagine here I am and building a cathedral. Better than that, it cannot be.”
Your higher purpose is always linked to your own internal motivatio, and this gives you stamina to continue even when it becomes tough and difficult (as it always will be from time to time). The purpose is often higher and greater than yourself – you feel that you are useful and makes a difference and that you can be proud of what you accomplish.