What Place Does Purpose Have in Achieving Goals?

The Connection between Purpose and Success

business leadership career success

Have you ever had a job that was joyless, but necessary to provide for you and your family? Nearly all of us have had what I call a “survival job;” one that pays the bills but doesn’t hold many rewards or build toward a better future. It is both honorable and practical to hold such a job if that is what is required.

Thankfully, not every job features such a dim future or thankless daily grind. This week, I wanted to wrap up on the topic of aspirational goal setting for 2019 with a look at how passion and purpose can be game-changing in your career or business.





Based on my experience as a coach, I observe that we do our best work when the following elements are in alignment:

  • Strengths and skills
  • Personal values
  • Defined purpose
  • Satisfying work
  • Recognition and rewards

Here are some thoughts on why these elements matter in your business and career.


“Purposeful companies outperform the market by 42%”
— DDI Global Leadership Forecast 2018

Using your native talents, valued knowledge, and well-developed skills is both energizing and efficient in the workplace. In fact, it is more effective than consistently “working on your weaknesses” which steals energy and wastes time.

Going to work for a new company (or running your own business) is an opportunity to examine the values match between you and your team. Think of values such as integrity, customer commitment, community citizenship, or innovation, for example. The challenge is to vet the truth of those values in a potential new workplace or guide your team to live out their promise in your company.

Your belief in the product or service changes how you show up at work: engaged and focused, or resigned to the inevitable. This is a matter of degree for some. For instance, for some of my clients, knowing their company provides a worthwhile service that fills a marketplace need is enough. For others, a heart-centered purpose that solves a social injustice or uplifts the under-served is necessary.

Satisfying Work
My clients tell me they want to know how their work directly contributes to solving the problems of the business or helping customers to improve their lives.

Recognition and Rewards
Each of us values varying degrees of recognition. For some, competition for awards is essential. For others, an occasional quiet thank you for a job well done is plenty. For many, compensation is an outcome and only one measure of success, even if a significant financial upside is desired.


A Company with Heartfelt Purpose
Here is one example of how heartfelt purpose can provide rocket fuel for achieving your goals in your job, or in your business.

Rally Software launched “Rally for Impact” in 2012 as a social mission and foundation whose purpose was to empower software engineers around the globe, regardless of their access to resources and funding. Ryan Martens, the company CTO, said, “Why not use the power of innovation and business agility to amplify social entrepreneurship and intrapreneurship to solve the toughest problems facing our planet today?” Among the problems solved by these “citizen engineers” are an innovative device to diagnose anemia and the invention of a new way to distribute water in a disaster zone.

The company was in business to make a profit, and they did. Rally Software was acquired by CA Associates for $480 million in 2015. Tim Miller, CEO, and Ryan Martens had the vision, heartfelt purpose, and talent to inspire employees, customers, investors, and partners to become engaged at every level.


Living Your Purpose – Achieving Your Goals
Your heartfelt purpose might be more modest. The point is, Ryan Martens knew what it was that drove him to get up every day and go to work. Connecting your passion and purpose with your goals is one of the surest ways to ensure you have the resilience to achieve those goals.