The Well-Being Journal

Live on Purpose

Jennifer Rudloff

Beep...Beep…Beep…it’s your alarm clock. Time to wake up – but what is it that gets YOU out of bed every morning? More than just that first cup of joe – it’s your purpose. When your gifts, passions and values align and are expressed in how you live your life every day, you are living on purpose.

Living on purpose is one of the keys to living a healthier and longer life. In fact, research from the Blue Zones Power 9™ indicates that people who have a purpose live seven years longer than those who don’t. And it’s not just about years in your life, but life in your years, as a recent MetLife study based on the work of best-selling author Richard Leider attests. This study found that people with a “sense of purpose in their lives are more likely to report being happy and describe themselves as living the Good Life”.

So we know that purpose is a critical element to well-being – now what? As business leaders, how do we help our employees discover their purpose? How do we connect an employee’s individual purpose to something bigger – whether that’s an organization or their community?

The answer lies in first creating a work environment that focuses on the whole person. At Healthways, we’re committed to enhancing all areas of our colleagues’ well-being – their physical, social, community, career and financial well-being. What drives these well-being domains is a sense of purpose. We believe it’s our responsibility to give our colleagues the tools to awaken their purpose as part of our commitment to their total well-being. So, in partnership with Richard Leider’s Inventure Group, we have unveiled the Power of Purpose Workshop, both at our corporate office and in communities as part of our Blue Zones Project By Healthways. During this two-hour workshop, participants:

  • Connect the importance of purpose to overall well-being
  • Reflect on their lives as a life spiral to develop a sharper picture of their past and a clearer vision of their future
  • Identify their gifts, passions and values
  • Begin drafting a purpose statement
  • Develop a plan to “live” the purpose statement and to hold themselves accountable

When participants uncover their gifts and achieve a clarity of focus on their purpose, they are more aware of how they “show up” in all aspects of their lives – whether that be with their families, relationships, work and community. It’s as if a whole new world of possibilities opens up.

At the end of our colleague workshops, we challenge participants to identify how they are living their purpose in their daily work. We ask, “How are you bringing your gifts, passions and values to our overall organizational purpose?” -- “How can you live your purpose by helping our organization achieve ours?” Sometimes that requires even tougher follow-up questions – “If there is a lack of congruency, why?” -- “What could you do/we do differently to ensure an alignment?” Opening up these conversations enables our colleagues and our leadership to ensure we are leveraging the gifts of our talent and giving them the tools to take charge of their own well-being.

The same thing can happen in the communities in which these workshops are being held as well. When citizens have a greater sense of their individual purpose, they can look at their immediate community as a place to offer those gifts. Connections are made and communities grow stronger.

Living on purpose is never a destination – rather, it’s a continual journey. The Power of Purpose Workshops are just the beginning. What’s next on the horizon? Purpose Moais. From the Blue Zone of Okinawa, the term “Moai” translates to “coming together for a common purpose”. These Purpose Moais will bring together a small group of workshop participants to regularly meet and support each other as they all strive to live on purpose. What a great way to enhance community well-being, as well as strengthen participants’ connections to their purpose?

That alarm clock is still ringing…time to wake up to living on purpose.

Topics: Healthy Living Richard Leider Blue Zones Project Purpose Well-Being