What gives you life?
This question is one of the more important questions a person or organization can ask. I do not mean merely biological life, but what are the passions and desires that motivate and energize you? You might refer to this as “why I get out of bed in the morning” or the motivation behind your career or family plan.
We are taught a level of property ownership or parenthood is considered success (i.e., the “American Dream). However, we often see families and individuals that appear to achieve this “dream” and yet still seem unfulfilled. The reason behind this continuous longing is that we always need a source of motivation—something to live for. Once a goal is met, individuals (and organizations) try to find new goals to provide purpose and energy.
What is Your Motivation?
Most businesses try to motivate their employees by offering something of value—typically some sort of financial gain—to align the employee’s desires with the organization’s purposes—such as increasing shareholder value. For instance, a hotel housekeeper is motivated to clean for others because of his associated compensation. By cleaning the hotel room, the employee has given the business another room to rent.
Motivation can occasionally lead to poor quality work. Members of Congress seem excited to serve their constituencies if they are up for reelection, but when they realize they will not be returning to political office, they may focus on the next stage of life rather than their current duties. Or consider an organizational perspective: Some companies treat customers really well until they determine that future business is limited with that customer at which point the company may become disinterested or apathetic.
One alternative to this “lame duck” problem is to live with a higher purpose that is unaffected by circumstances. For instance, if a member of Congressman is truly devoting his life to the good of his constituency, he will continue to work as hard in the months after losing a reelection campaign as he did before. If a business truly cares about its clients, they may choose to refer a customer to another firm if that is the right thing to do.
A Higher Purpose Is About More Than Selfish Gain
Higher purpose takes many forms. It might be love of country, providing for a family, serving others, or simply making someone smile. The key to higher purpose is valuing others above yourself and making sacrifices for the interests of others. People who live with a higher purpose are often well liked, but likeability is not the motivating factor.
A higher purpose is something that provides passion and energy for selfless acts. Work becomes an opportunity for the expression of passion, and serving others becomes exciting because of the advancement of the motivating purpose. A higher purpose will not avoid conflict, but in such situations, constructive and peaceful conversations will prevail since selfless rather than selfish motivations are at play.
My Higher Purpose Fits Well in the Credera Model
Personally, I try to live with a higher purpose based on the teachings of the Bible. I do my best to serve others above myself in the model of Jesus. The primary reason I decided to work at Credera was because the founders built the firm on the same higher purpose. The vision of Credera provides a clear understanding of the firm’s purpose: “Pursue a higher consulting standard with an eternal perspective.” Individual employees have a variety of higher purposes though according to their personal beliefs and we all respect one another. Employees who have a selfless attitude and live out the Credera core values (regardless of their faith, or any lack thereof) are a great fit in the Credera model.
When I work extra hours to serve a client, my desire is for my client to succeed and my work ethic to be a favorable reflection of my God and my firm. Over the past few months, I have been working on a project that does not exactly fit my desired focus area, but I’ve loved my work because I have been able to make payroll processing easier and faster for more than 50 of my client’s employees. This potentially means that 50 families are getting to spend more time together and my client is wasting less money waiting for pages to load. If I had to show up late to a social event to make these results a reality one week sooner, I did so because the cost is worth the reward.
At the same time, Credera truly values and pushes for work-life integration so that all employees can pursue a higher purpose outside of the office. Crederians are encouraged to join local organizations and spend time with their families. Work should be an opportunity to live for higher purpose rather than being solely your highest purpose.
So what do you live for?
Consider your motivations and ask how often your daily decisions are based on selflessness. Explore the reasoning behind these selfless decisions to help identify a higher purpose. Finding your higher purpose may not always keep you happy, but it provides a deep rooted joy that provides motivation for work and life. While living a selfless lifestyle is not the most common, it is commonly respected, so why not try?
LIFE AT CREDERA
We’re “open-sourcing” the Credera culture in a series called Life at Credera. We are sharing an authentic perspective on what we are learning and where we are growing. We are talking about friendships and fun, growth, higher purpose, talent and character, leadership, and communication.
We hope this series is a helpful resource on the continuous pursuit of a great culture. And we hope the results are encouraging to our company, employees, clients, and friends.
Looking for more? Check out these great Life at Credera perspectives: