The Risk Of Having Purpose Without Being Purposeful

Zach Mercurio, PhD, just completed his doctorate on meaningful work, purpose, and fulfillment, to which he was driven by a well-paid but unsatisfying early career in advertising to explore human motivation and behavior more deeply.

He was successful as he chased quotas and sales goals alongside colleagues, and was quickly making good money and all the trappings of young affluent professional life. But when he looked around, he saw people sinking into misery, as they hit higher and higher targets and felt less and less satisfaction.

His long-term intuition that he was motivated by something other than external rewards got too loud to ignore, and Mercurio enrolled in a Master’s Degree program at Colorado State University, which became his PhD study.

Now, his work is helping professionals, from plumbers to C-level leaders, identify their purpose and, more importantly in his view, to activate that purpose. While identifying a company’s purpose can be done by a small group of leaders or even an externally hired branding firm, that company’s action is driven by employees. The individuals doing the work of that company are the ones who carry out the company’s business in a way that embodies the overarching purpose – or don’t.

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