The Three Pillars of Purposeful Work

By: Kelsey Schurer, Director of Stories and Learning, Round Table Companies in Purpose, Company Culture

There is more to work than merely completing tasks and meeting KPIs. In our fast-paced, achievement-driven society, it’s easy to lose sight of what truly matters: fulfilling our unique purpose.

When we say “purpose,” we’re referring to a deep, personal mission that transcends the routine obligations of our roles and resonates profoundly with our life experiences, our unique story, and our innate talents. Each person’s purpose is uniquely their own, excavated and articulated through a proprietary process within our purpose workshop.

Once you’ve articulated your personal purpose, you can then take active steps toward connecting it to the work you do today.

The key to unlocking deep fulfillment at work lies in three powerful pillars: utilizing your purpose in everyday roles and responsibilities, fulfilling a significant organizational need, and serving a demographic that aligns with your purpose. In essence, these pillars act as the compass that guides you toward more meaningful work.

Leveraging the Three Pillars for Purpose-Driven Success

Let’s begin simply. The three pillars of purpose are:

1. Utilize your purpose in your everyday role and responsibilities: This pillar involves aligning your individual purpose with your day-to-day tasks and responsibilities. When your purpose aligns with your everyday role, it means you are using your unique gifts, often characterized by what you stand for most in this world, to uplift those who are struggling under the pressures of what you most want to avoid in this world (what we call your “polarity;” it is often something that you have run from the pain of since your childhood, such as betrayal, loss, loneliness, or darkness, to name a few examples). Here, your purpose isn’t a distant concept—it’s integral to your day-to-day work life.

2. Fulfill a strategic and significant organizational need with your purpose: This pillar pushes you beyond your immediate role to address larger, systemic issues within your organization. It’s about using your unique abilities and purpose to solve major challenges and contribute to the growth and evolution of the organization, so that you can affect change and alleviate the suffering of your polarity especially in areas of the business where stakeholders are involved. For example, if your polarity is betrayal and your organization is making a promise to customers it’s not delivering on, you might be the ideal person to help catalyze a process or new systemized way for bringing that into alignment so your customers are less likely to feel betrayed.

3. Serve a primary demographic that resonates with your purpose: To fulfill this pillar, you serve customers that feel the pain of your polarity, bringing them closer to the positive effects of what you stand for through the products or services your organization offers. For example, if you are a chef at a restaurant and your primary demographic is serving customers during the busy lunch hour, and your one word is creativity and your polarity is empty, you have an opportunity to use your skills and services as a chef to deliver creatively rendered dishes to alleviate the rushed dining experience of customers who are literally needing to feel full and energized again!

When these three pillars are fulfilled, you will experience a profound sense of purpose in your work. Embodying this holistic approach allows for meaningful contributions at multiple levels—individual, organizational, and societal.

As an individual, the three pillars provide a compass to help guide you in maximizing your full potential at work. You can not only support your colleagues within the company who suffer under the weight of your polarity, but you can also identify which pillars you have consistently fulfilled in the past and seek opportunities that align with all three pillars for greater satisfaction on a day-to-day basis.

If you’re a leader, the three pillars provide a framework to strategically leverage your purpose in driving organizational success. By utilizing your purpose to support people, impact systems and processes, and address customer needs, you can create a work environment that fosters growth and innovation. In addition, employees are more likely to feel engaged and motivated when they can see the direct impact of their efforts on individuals, the organization, and customers, which enhances their sense of purpose and commitment to their work.

Lastly, when an organization promotes the fulfillment of the three pillars of purpose, the company naturally attracts and retains employees who are aligned with its mission and values, leading to increased productivity, collaboration, and overall success.