eLearning On Purpose

The Purpose Effect In eLearning

In the history of the human race, how many people do you suppose have had the privilege of making up their own minds about what they would do for work? 1%? Less? If you're reading this, it's safe to assume that you are one of these privileged few. We both are. We're the lucky ones.

So, from one lucky son-of-a-gun to another, let me ask you a question. How did you end up here? You create eLearning, right? And if you're reading this sort of article on this sort of website, you obviously give a damn about it. Why? Just because it puts food on the table and gas in the tank – or is there something else?

Personal Purpose

Forget eLearning for a minute. Let's get even more basic. What is your purpose? No, wait. Don't give me the "job interview" version of that answer. What's the real answer? What's the answer you would give to a good friend? What do you care about? What's important to you?

I know an eLearning developer who wears her purpose like a neon sign. Let's call her Jessie. At this point in her life, the most important thing in the world to Jessie is creativity. Making something brand new and releasing it into the world. Even when she's not at work, she just keeps going, making, making, making. . .

Role Purpose

Okay, now back to eLearning. Does it have anything to do with your purpose? Does being an eLearning developer give you an opportunity to do things you really care about? Is your job important to you for some reason other than the paycheck? Don't answer too quickly. Give this one a think. Let it stew for a bit.

For Jessie, the answer is definitely yes. Not only does she earn a good paycheck, but she gets to spend all day making stuff, talking about making stuff, or planning to make stuff. Some days are better than others, of course, but there's a pretty good match between what she feels is important and what she does at work.

Organizational Purpose

How about the organization you're working for right now? What's their purpose? Are they doing something that matters? Does it matter to you? Who does your organization help? Are they ethical? Is the world better off because this organization is in it?

This is the sticking point for Jessie. Although she likes the people she works with, she doesn't think her company is very ethical. Sure, it's profitable, but it doesn't seem concerned with anything more than that. Jessie still likes making things, but the more she thinks about her company, the more she thinks that she might be making things for the wrong company.

Alignment Of Purpose

With permission of Dan Pontefract

With permission of Dan Pontefract

If your personal purpose, your role purpose, and your organization's purpose are well-aligned, congratulations! You were lucky enough to be part of the 1% of people who had a choice and you made your choices well. But if those three things are out of whack, don't be surprised if you find yourself disengaged and losing interest in your work. You might not notice it at first, but it will creep up on you.

If you've got an alignment problem, maybe you should give this more thought. Maybe you even need to make some changes. I'm not saying you should just quit your job and expect the universe to guide you in the right direction. But maybe you can start looking for other options. Isn't it worth a try?

If not for your own sake, do it for the 99% who never had the chance.

If you enjoyed this article, please check out The Purpose Effect, by Dan Pontefract. You can download the first chapter of the book right here.

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