By Daniel Pink
While this book is mostly geared towards businesses, there are some great lessons for individuals to heed as well. And although this book was written in 2009, the lessons, I think, are more relevant now than ever before. Since the Covid-19 pandemic, many people are now rethinking their career choices. They’ve re-evaluated their priorities and started to think differently about what they truly want to do with their lives. Instead of being motivated by money and status, people are now seeking out opportunities that offer meaning and a sense of purpose.
Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us highlights the gap between what science already knows about motivation and what businesses still do. Businesses have been modeled around the idea that people don’t have any inherent motivation to work. To keep your workforce productive, you must reward employees for good behavior with money. And money itself isn’t bad. We all need a basic amount of it to afford the cost of living. But when it becomes our sole motivator, our creative drive suffers. It’s no longer about enjoying the process and finding fulfillment. Instead, we narrow our focus and skip steps to get to the reward. This ultimately leads to burnout, lack of motivation, and sub-par work product.
Pink’s suggestion for employers is to satisfy the employees monetary needs enough to take them off the table. Beyond that, if they really want motivated workers, they should better support employees’ intrinsic drive by encouraging growth and learning, building an enjoyable workplace culture, offering flexible working, and creating a positive, comfortable working environment.
If you’re someone who finds yourself just going through the motions of life, earning a paycheck, and otherwise feeling unfulfilled, Pink has you answer the question, “What’s your sentence?” It’s an exercise where you distill your life — what it’s about, why you’re here — into a single sentence. The idea being that anyone who has ever accomplished anything in life didn’t seek out to do 97 different things. Rather, they focused on one or two transcendent things. The exercise is tough, but it’s powerful. Finding your sentence is finding your purpose. And every day you ask yourself, “How am I living up to my sentence? Does my career allow me to live up to my sentence?”
After giving it some serious thought, I officially declared my sentence to be, “She always made people feel seen, heard, and loved.” And fortunately for me, in my line of work, I get the opportunity to live up to my sentence every day. And for that, I’m petty grateful.
What’s you sentence?
Written by Destiny Van Rooy
Destiny is our Client Experience Coordinator. She has extensive experience with much of our behind-the-scenes legal work and knowledge of the criminal case process. Her background helps our business and client service continue to grow simultaneously, by making sure that the human element of the legal experience is not lost on the good people we represent. Destiny moved to the Northwest from Arizona, promising to never look back. She’s fully embraced her new life in Oregon and loves riding her bike around Portland. She also loves meeting new people, dancing, crafting and catching live music shows with her husband, London.