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Here on Purpose

Anita Simha Posted by Anita Simha, Digital Editorial Intern.

Anita is a student at UNC Chapel Hill interested in ecology and climate change. She is excited about coming to work every day -- you might even say she...books it here.

Here on Purpose

 Yesterday, Berrett Koehler hosted author Richard Leider -- executive coach, purpose explorer, and author -- in the office. Leider is currently working on a new edition of The Power of Purpose, and he had a lot of insights for us all about a sense of purpose and its importance.

I was particularly interested in the information he shared because this is my first week as a digital editorial intern at Berrett Koehler. In my time here, I want to make sure that I set myself up here to accomplish something beyond my own self that benefits others.He explained the recent emergence of purpose as a priority for people, due in part to positive psychology’s view of it as a path to well-being and to the business world’s welcoming of it as a path to productivity. In general, it seems people want to be dedicated to something.

While here, Leider also debunked some myths about purpose. Here are some of those myths:
1. Purpose has to involve a cause
Leider explained that purpose is not a cause. Rather, is a mindset.

2. A sense of purpose comes in a single, life-transforming moment of revelation
It develops in stages, ones he termed uncovering (one’s skills, preferences, etc.), discovering (the world and people around you), and rediscovering (that purpose is not about you but all of us).

3. Purpose is a luxury for some.
It is meant for - and accessible by, all people regardless of various privileges.

What most struck me was his insight that someone’s purpose is always outside themselves; it must involve others and be for others. A self-monitored and self-promoting drive is great, but compassion for others distinguishes a goal from true purpose.

This entire event made me think deliberately about my own sense of purpose, especially considering my recent arrival here. I began to consciously assess my own motivation for being here at BK. After some reflection, I think I’ve got it -- to put it simply, I revere books. I believe that gaining and sharing knowledge is an ultimate good because knowledge has the power to further the state of society. When I found out about a publishing house - by nature dedicated to sharing knowledge - that was simultaneously dedicated to social responsibility, I was drawn to it. “A world that works for all,” in my opinion, is certainly something worth striving for.

I did not happen to end up here after a series of unforeseen events; I intentionally chose this internship. Now, three days in, I am already caught up in the flurry of activity as the company continues to advance its mission in new ways. I am both hopeful and excited to have become folded into this company and its mission because our ambitious senses of purpose precisely align. Further, I am motivated knowing that I am here on purpose and for a purpose.


David Marshall
David Marshall

Anita - Richard Leider is one of my favorite authors and The Power of Purpose is one of my favorite BK books. Richard is one of the top executive coaches in the country; this small, initmate lunch setting felt like we were getting a lifetime of wisdom from Richard in a family setting. What a gift! His three Purpose Myths impressed me, too.

June 4, 2015

Steve Piersanti
Steve Piersanti

Hi Anitia,

Thank you for sharing with us your own purpose, which is inspiring!


June 5, 2015