Finding Your Life’s Purpose

Can you find your life’s purpose in nine boxes? McKinsey research has developed a really interesting analysis to better understand what uniquely motivates each of us, using a familiar nine box model.

As you unpack the model you note there is an X/Y axis that looks at the influence of SELF/OTHERS and AGENCY/INTEGRATION on our purpose. The dynamic of the axis is to better understand the influences on our values. The horizontal axis represents the ‘target’ of our personal activities, the values that reflect who we are in our personal lives. The vertical axis represents the underlying ‘motives’ for our work activities, which as the authors state ranges “from our drive to expand our sense of self to our drive to cooperate and unite with the world around us.

While each of us are individually aligned to a specific mix of values, McKinsey research has identified three value combinations that are a common pattern based on the values. The three are:

  • FREE SPIRIT – People who have this mix are more likely to have stronger emphasis on Freedom. They like to work independently. Remain connected to traditions of family and culture and are likely to find meaning in situations where they have greater control over what they do and when they do it.
  • ACHIEVER – People who resonate with the achiever combination find purpose in building material resources or collecting social resources. Achievers often focus on self improvement. They look to grow earnings and build stature. They enjoy being the authority or subject matter expert and they look for opportunities for fun and excitement.
  • CAREGIVER – People who have this mix find meaning in providing care to others. They care less about material gain and what others think about them. They seek a work life balance that provides opportunities to help family and friends. They also respond to a sense of security and order.
Life's Purpose
Source: McKinsey Quarterly

Key Takeaways

  • The life’s purpose nine vales provide a different way to help explore the underlying motivational factors on your personal and work life.
  • By building a better understanding of your purpose you can better unlock your potential and sense of career fulfilment.
  • The McKinsey research provides some insight into the influences of how we respond to what we think of ourselves and what others think about us. It also grounds our roots in our personal lives as well as our work lives.
DIGEST of an article from McKinsey Quarterly
Do you know your life’s purpose?
By McKinsey authors
Published: believed to be 2021 (though there is no date on this work)

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