Sustainable and purpose driven work has been gaining a lot of popularity in the last few years. As a creative studio that supports individuals and teams to not only embrace these concepts, but implement them, it is of course exciting for us to see them become more understood and normalised.
Overall, the global shift we see happening is real and indeed hopeful. What’s even more exciting for us, is that today, we stand at an advantage. Why? Because there is a huge amount of available research for us to learn from, plus there is a whole new world of new models to work with or build off of, which have been developed, tried and tested. It’s not necessarily about reinventing the wheel. It is not only about creating new innovations and new ways of working. But, it is also about looking at what has already been done in order to move things forward and essentially scale impact. That’s our advantage today.
So again, it is indeed a very exciting time to be doing this kind of work, especially for leaders who have the power to implement and create tangible change.
In all of this however, we must also consider the fact that embarking on a sustainable journey does also mean to embrace the importance of “work-in-progress”. It also means that we must be ready to fail, to learn from the failings and try again. Most of all, it means that we are going into things with a certain level of blindness. No matter the amount of research done by others, the amount of available models to learn from etc - your individual sustainable journey is indeed your own and the outcomes will be somewhat unknown. Being open to this idea is a crucial step towards successful sustainable development, on an individual level and company level.
This is where embodiment and the importance of starting from ourselves comes in. When committing to sustainability, we are also making a commitment with ourselves. We are essentially taking ownership of our individual choices and how those choices show up within a collective.
Too many times have we seen companies take on sustainability as though it is something that stands in isolation. As though it is separate from the business entity itself and the individuals that make up that entity. In contrast to seeing it as an integral part of both the people and the business offering - beyond the strategies and solutions, and into the individuals that make up the business’s successes and essentially how those individuals show up towards the collective.
We therefore hugely believe that before we can even begin to talk about strategies and solutions, we must first gain a deeper understanding about those individuals and the environment that they are in and form a part of. We need to get a grasp of how we are all showing up to the challenges, and start to connect our mind and body to the purpose of the business on a more intuitive level.
As leaders, and as those who are setting new standards, it is crucial for us to check in with our own purpose first, to understand our values and ultimately how those feed into the bigger picture of work and life. Before asking others to join in on the journey with us, we need to clarify our own individual stance within that journey first. Once that is clear, we are suddenly creating space for others to also make their own choices - the choice to freely buy into that purpose, if it is a shared one, or not, if it isn’t a shared one.
By acting from this space of ownership, as leaders, we are setting examples and a stage for our employees and communities alike to also feel free and empowered to take ownership of their stance within the collective journey. This approach allows for culture to truly begin to be shifted, and as a result allows for the purpose to be driven from a more authentic point of view. It allows for the community and those around you (including your employees) to be a part of that shared purpose and vision.
If you are someone who is wanting to bring more sustainability into your place of work, whether you’re at a junior, managerial or senior level, or you are simply wanting to make more sustainable choices in your everyday life, we invite you to work at embodying your personal values and sustainability parameters, using them as your north star.
We’ve put together some reflection questions that you can start with:
- What is my personal purpose?
- How authentic am I being to my purpose? What can I do to remain aligned with it?
- What matters to me when it comes to sustainability?
- What is my company’s purpose?
- How does my personal and company purpose align?
Reach out to us if this is a topic you would like to explore further.