Marketing guru and writer-photographer, Lauren Psyk, came to a Leading with Purpose campfire catalyst session. She wasn't expecting it to be so powerful. This is her story.
photo of Lauren Psyk by Saskia Nelson.
In my twenties, I was attracted by the bright lights of London and had ‘trendy’ marketing jobs with media organisations.
From an outside perspective I had what every young professional wants - I worked on partnerships with music and media brands, I got to go to glamorous events and trendy media industry parties and I had a decent enough salary to enjoy the London life.
Back then, nobody talked about millennials, the buzz word at the time was urbanites - and I was living the stereotypical urbanite life; work hard, play hard, spend hard.
Lack of purpose
But despite my initial excitement, within a couple of years it became clear to me that I had set off on the wrong path. Neither my job nor my lifestyle were going to make me happy or give me any sense of fulfilment. Life and work felt meaningless, empty and vacuous - essentially I was lacking any sense of purpose.
So I quit the media life and went to work in Government communications, on a THINK! road safety advertising campaign aimed at reducing deaths and injuries amongst motorcyclists.
My work had meaning and I felt fulfilled. I got a huge sense of achievement from the fact I was doing something with purpose, and which had a positive impact.
Eventually I left London to seek a healthier and more balanced lifestyle by the sea here in Brighton, and I started designing a career that fits around my needs and values.
More recently, I have worked a lot in the charity sector and on projects which give me creative freedom. But purpose, and doing work which has a positive impact is still a core part of what drives me.
A universal desire to mix purpose and profit
I am far from alone in this desire for purpose - 75% of millennials worldwide want to work for a business whose values match their own. And they’re prepared to compromise on career advancement in order to achieve a working life that’s purpose-driven.
By 2020, millennials (typically considered to be born between 1980 and 1996) will comprise 35% of the global workforce. So it’s vital for businesses to align their goals with those of this purpose-driven generation.
The challenges I have faced: how to find meaning in a digital world which prizes image above all else, how to find and lead with purpose, how to be more mindful, how to reconnect with my surroundings, how to be restored and revitalised in the face of health issues - these are difficulties that are faced by most of us.
So how do we answer these questions and translate our desire for purpose into meaningful action?
A taster of a more purpose-driven future for business
So I was intrigued to attend School of the Wild’s latest taster session for their brand new leadership programme Leading with Purpose.
For two and half hours, I was thrown together with other purpose-driven business leaders and entrepreneurs in a remote spot near Brighton around a campfire; none of us had met before, and yet by the end of the session we felt like we had all shared a powerful experience.
We worked through a series of thought provoking and challenging activities which required us to connect with our natural surroundings, and to disconnect with the outside world; in the whole session I was not aware of any one of us checking our phones once (how many business or networking events can you say that about?).
Through the facilitated activities and conversations, we arrived at some really important and relevant questions about how we can harness the power of community to have a positive impact on the world around us.
Of course we couldn’t find all of the answers in one afternoon; but each of us has committed to take forward a positive action - ranging from asking the question that emerged from our session with ten other people, to finding other local groups that have purpose - the afternoon has sparked new ideas, creative thinking and collaboration.
Here are some of my key takeaways:
Much more emerged from the Leading with Purpose session than I could have anticipated. I’ve reconnected with my purpose and feel more positive about what I’m doing and about making a difference. I've found new energy and inspiration, discovered a deeper appreciation for nature and how it can support me, and met a great group of new people who I connect with,
Who knows what good things we'll create together.
School of the Wild helps leaders and teams address pertinent questions and challenges through our team building and away days. We bring together strands of purpose, mindfulness, wellbeing and nature and encourage team members and business leaders to engage with each other in conversations that matter.
Author & Curator
Nigel Berman is the founder of School of the Wild.