More about Purpose

PDF_shot_2From the book:
“The Motivated Brain” – written by Helle Bundgaard, Founder, Motivation Factor and Jefferson Roy, neuroscientist, The Picower Institute for Learning and Memory at MIT.
All rights reserved – Motivationfactor 2015)


Research shows that the goals which give people the greatest sustained energy and motivation are those which have personal meaning or which are connected to a larger Purpose. The Purpose level addresses the extent to which you feel connected to or receive meaning from your Work.


When Purpose is unclear, you might observe:

  • Lack of a sense of community or camaraderie
  • Progressively less passion for the work or organizational direction
  • Lack of connection to customer/stakeholders
  • A “what’s in it for me?” culture

Tapping into your Talents and being clear about the Purpose in your work is where growth, learning and real change occur. These levels are where our motivation lives.

When you consider the vast differences across people’s personal Needs (financial, social, status-related, level of independence, etc.) and the incredible variety of Talents present in your teams (attention to detail, communication, creativity, strategic thinking, etc.) you can see how complex the question of motivation can be.

For instance, consider an organization that needs to change strategic direction. The leaders have spent time hammering out the new strategy and are ready to communicate. The tone is one of excitement and challenge and the leaders enthusiastically call “all hands on deck!”, “embrace change!”, “think positively!” Depending on where each individual is on the Hierarchy of Motivation, there will be any number of reactions. There will be some percentage of the employee population that is energized and excited about the prospect of change. Others will be downright hostile. And a large number will be somewhere in the middle with very specific and unique questions, concerns, hopes and desires related to the new initiative.

As I have emphasized, motivation is individual and situational. Each of us is constantly moving up and down in the hierarchy of motivation as we cope with changing life circumstances. There will always be Energy Drainers in our lives, our Needs will always be threatened by one thing or another. We may feel blocked from developing and fine-tuning our Talents. We will on occasion lose perspective about what our personal contribution is to our work as it is so easy to get caught up with day-to-day issues. Using the Hierarchy of Motivation to identify and manage your own M Factor will allow you, as a manager, to respond to challenges and changes and quickly regain motivation for yourself when necessary. It will also allow you to facilitate others in their quest to find and maintain their own M Factor.

Managing motivation is about the capacity to recognize – and even anticipate – disengagement and de-motivation. It is about applying Needs and Talents to preempt or reverse the course of disengagement. And it is about being accountable for maintaining personal motivation over the long term. The result? Increased motivation, productivity and efficiency, reduced stress and greater happiness. In the following chapters, we will take a look at each level of the Hierarchy of motivation in detail. For each level – Energy, Needs, Talents and Purpose – I will describe the symptoms, present the research behind the level and provide an exercise for exploring that level for yourself and for your staff.

The Power of Purpose

We arrive now at the fourth and final level of the Hierarchy of Motivation. Purpose is the second of the two upper levels – along with Talents – which correspond to Intrinsic Motivation: the extent to which our work is aligned with our Talents and Purpose. The Purpose level addresses the extent to which you feel connected to or receive meaning from your Work.


To have a Purpose is to contribute to something greater than ourselves. A Purpose is something that is never-ending, doesn’t have a deadline and which is not attainable in and of itself. As with Talents, Purpose is also a trait of well-being or eudaimonia and living life with one leads to greater happiness14. Consider a time when you volunteered for a cause or charity, or a time when you offered to help a person or organization that you felt was contributing to the greater good. The work may have been hard or may have been menial, but your contribution to the cause was repaid in the form of a feeling of greater Purpose for yourself.

People who are only goal driven are often extremely action oriented and become restless if they don’t have many things going on at the same time. They may have everything they could wish for, but they still can’t quite identify why they suffer from this restlessness. They just feel that something should be different. When you experience this kind of inner uneasiness, it is often because you aren’t connecting your unique contributions to something that is meaningful to you. Almost everyone has thought at one point or another “there must be more to life than this”. We may feel a nagging dissatisfaction, but are unable to locate the source of this feeling. We may be uncertain of the choices we make, and whether they are contributing meaningfully to what we might achieve in life. Finding one’s Purpose in life is one of the most transformational experiences we can have. Finding our Purpose enables us to experience true inner motivation, leaving us with a feeling of effortlessness and satisfaction.

This level is where you get ultimate insight into what it will take to achieve and sustain a state of flow – the condition of being in “the zone”, completely absorbed, engaged and even compelled to carry on19,20. We’ll see that when our goals and choices are driven by and clearly connected to a sense of greater Purpose, we are able to contribute maximum performance and be rewarded with maximum satisfaction.

As a first step we can take note of how our current goals and choices are guiding our life’s path. Whether we are aware of it or not, our work is completely governed by the choices we make in relation to the goals we have. Even day-to-day routines are governed by goals. We go to work in order to make a living. We purchase resources in order to create the product. We hire staff, so that we are able to scale the business, etc…

Read More abou Purpose in the book The Motivated Brain



and Energy Drainers and mitigate the impact of our personal Needs.


The Motivated Brain was released June 13th 2014 as:


  • e-book
  • Kindle-book, and..
  • Paperback

..on See reviews here.

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