I’ve just finished two books on motivation and perseverance; Grit by Angela Duckworth and Drive by Daniel Pink. Grit examines “paragons of grit”, quantitative research, and anecdotal evidence to provide a very convincing argument that making large immutable goals and moving towards them unrelentingly is the only way to truly achieve incredible success. Drive that motivation 2.0 (carrot and stick) works exceedingly well in Algorithmic tasks such as assembly line work, but as that work is phased out through automation that same if/then system doesn’t work within Heuristic tasks such as screening for culture. I heard one resounding theme throughout both books and have heard it over and over again throughout my life, purpose, and passion.
Purpose and passion are a hard thing to quantify, but every single person that is at the top of their field will tell you they love what they do. The hard things become a little easier to get motivated for because they know improving on what they are terrible at will get them closer to where they are going. They have a purpose and a goal bigger than themselves. It can be kids, family, the environment, country, stockholders, but it isn’t internal. They are always motivated by achieving for others, by helping others achieve they feel that their mission is greater than themselves.
I do not think that purpose is learned or acquired through a eureka moment. Einstein wasn’t sitting on the john one day and suddenly knew he was working for the advancement of mankind. Jeff Bezos didn’t know he was working to make the world a better place by making his customers lives easier one day while he was working on financial spreadsheets. Purpose comes over time through focused mindfulness towards one’s work and passion comes from that purpose.
Sometimes you have to look for that purpose. I found that in recruitment it’s easy to find; my clients and candidates are my purpose. I want to improve my client’s lives by creating a lasting positive impact in their organizations, one hire at a time, and I want to make sure every candidate is entering a situation they will not only succeed at but also thoroughly enjoy. I know that every hire makes a measurable difference, albeit small at times, and the sum of that effort creates growth and benefit to the companies I work for. Through that butterfly effect, I can make the world a little bit better every day.
This purpose gives me my passion to continuously improve, increase my knowledge, set stretch goals, be hard on myself, and commit to unenjoyable deliberate practice on things I’m not good at. It creates my larger goal of becoming a master recruiter and rising to the top of the talent acquisition field. There aren’t any podiums for recruiters, but we change the world every day. Try to make it for the better.