Rebranding Purpose

Having lived on the West Coast for several years now, I’ve gotten used to being asked things like “What is your calling?” at dinner parties. These questions used to always take me aback; I would awkwardly stand and swirl my wine around in circles trying to come up with something bohemian, yet coherent, to say.…

Reclaiming Aging

Finding Purpose in Later Life  By providing us with a healthy orientation to the future, a sense of purpose increases wellbeing – especially in later life.     Purpose Increases Health in Later Life Retirement age is often experienced as a time of loss. Not only of the opportunities of youth, but also of a…

The Illusion of Value

When Your Purpose is Actually Meaningless Nothing you do is valuable. Prove me wrong on that, but for just a short while, I want you to entertain the idea that everything you work so hard at and believe so strongly in simply carries the illusion of value. I want you to challenge yourself to that…

The Business Case for Purpose

In business, “purpose” is the new black. 
It has become very fashionable for consultants and business professors to encourage companies to ask “why” they are in business. What is their raison d’être, beyond just making money? Or is that all there is? After almost 40 years of neoliberal economics, the prevailing and very entrenched answer…

Something to Believe In

Purpose is the Driving Force Successful Brands Need Successful businesses are built on the efforts and choices of two types of volunteers, both of which play very different roles in the ecosystem that nourishes
 an organization. These two types are more commonly known as “employees” and “customers”; however, categorizing them this way does not capture…

When Everything is Meaningless

Why Your Company Needs a Purpose Business is about making profit and creating shareholder value. Though there is nothing wrong with this statement, it does not cause conflict when companies put some profit toward charitable causes and social impact. But today, capitalism is having a mid-life crisis. Where do we go from here? Forbes proclaims…

The Purpose of Work in the Digital Age

Everyone, whether they’re 21, 41, or 81, shares many similar motivations for working. We work to put food on the table; to buy nice things that improve our circumstances and lifestyles; to wield power and gain status; to enjoy physical or mental pursuits; and, of course, to maintain our own identities. This last point is…

Performance Needs Purpose

This article originally appeared in the LSE Business Review. We’ve all met the eye-rollers. The leaders who say “business is business” and “people work to get paid.” The ones who leave “pastoral care” to the HR team down the hallway because there’s work to be done and money to be made. When it comes to…

The Challenge of Applying Science to Purpose

The concept of purpose is abstract, and it could very well be perceived as being at odds with science and its relentless pursuit of causal relationships. Indeed, in biology and genetics (my original field of study), purpose usually refers to some feature 
that has evolved under evolutionary pressure. The purpose of opposable thumbs is to…

Why We Write

Exploring the Innate Purpose of Language   “There are many people thinking overmuch about the encroachment of colloquial and slangy speech upon good English.” — Arthur G. Kennedy   The frustrated voice of Arthur G. Kennedy echoes through time, space, and the pages of the journal American Speech. His essay, “The Future of the English…

The Gig Economy: Finding Purpose in Precarity

In 2016, Gizmodo published an article highlighting the disconnect between gig-economy heavyweight Lyft and its employees. The article noted how Lyft had shared what 
it thought was a cute story about one of its drivers – the company praised a pregnant employee for continuing to work even as she went into labor. Bryan Menegus, the…

It All Starts with You: Three Secrets to Help You Become a Purposeful Leader

Where does great leadership begin? It’s obviously more than just experience, education, mentorship, inspiration, and vision. You need to look deeper than that and start with your very core. I am proud to have mentored some very successful CEOs, up-and-coming CEOs, and budding entrepreneurs, but I did this by looking inwardly too. Presented here are…

Owning Purpose

As the deleterious effects of neoliberal economics continue to pile up (income inequality, environmental degradation, job losses, increasing household debt, a shrinking middle class, 
a growing underclass, etc.), 
it’s becoming clear to many that the rules of the game need
 to change. The stock market, which was meant to be a source of capital 
to…