Reflection: I’ve long been a fan of Daniel Pink’s work on motivation (and have occasionally featured his ideas in previous Pause messages). So, it was a great thrill for me to meet him and hear him speak when I served as MC for last week’s Saskatchewan Human Resource Association Conference.
It’s not often that you hear an author tell you to skip a chapter in his previous book, because his thinking has changed. But, tell us he did!
If you’re not familiar with Pink’s model of motivation, here’s a recap.
Pink believes that we are intrinsically motivated (from the inside out) by three things:
- Purpose (participating in something meaningful and larger than ourselves)
- Autonomy (being in charge of our choices)
- Mastery (desire to get better at something that matters)
What has he changed his mind about? Purpose. Although he believes Purpose continues to be important, he now defines it more broadly. According to Pink, feeling purposeful is not restricted to making a difference, changing the world, and saving the planet.
Purpose also comes alive in much more modest ways – when we are simply making a contribution. It is quite possible to be and feel purposeful when we are cooking a meal for someone else, lending a colleague a hand, or simply sharing our attention and our presence in thoughtful, quality ways.
This expanded definition eases the overwhelming pressure to tap into a great big hairy PURPOSE in life – and to feel like you’re somehow falling short if you don’t.
As admirable and motivating as BIG PURPOSE can be, it’s no less admirable or motivating to be making daily contributions on a much smaller, more personal scale.
Action: Pay closer attention to the value of those small actions and contributions you make each day.
Do whatever you can to link others to the value of the contributions they are making to the lives of others.
Spirits rise where purpose lives.
Quotes Of The Week: When you leave this earth, may you leave it knowing that you were well used and that all who knew you felt blessed by your presence. – Loretta LaRoche
The more I want to get something done, the less I think of it as work. – Richard Bach
Spirits rise where purpose lives. – Patricia Katz
Resource Of The Week: For an entertaining and engaging overview of Pink’s ideas on motivation, check out his RSA Animated presentation: Drive – Our Motivations Are Unbelievably Interesting
Readers Write: Last week, I had the pleasure of an exchange with a faithful Pause subscriber who was wondering about the changing format of the Pause newsletter. She really enjoys this traditional long form with Reflection and Action, quotes, resource of the week, and featured artwork. And she misses some of those features in the alternate weeks when a shorter version is provided.
I was able to fill her in on the reason for the change, and it occurred to me that some of you might have similar questions. So, in case you missed the explanation earlier in the year, here’s the scoop.
After 15 years of writing the ‘full meal deal’ Pause messages, I was feeling a bit overextended. Rather than reduce the frequency of the messages, or stop completely, I decided to alternate between the traditional format and a shorter ‘Pause Light’ version that features a poster image, my thoughts, a couple of questions, and brief News Notes.
So, that’s the plan for 2015. I hope that clears up any confusion about the alternating formats. Again, I’m grateful for your interest and hope the Pause messages continue to add value to your world.