I wrote in the last blog post about Daniel Pink’s thesis in his book “Drive” about the three things that shape a motivating, fulfilling career: mastery, autonomy, and purpose. It made me think about similar themes Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos, wrote about in his book “Delivering Happiness.”
I remember reading Tony’s book last year after I saw Daniel Pink’s TED talk, and later I also watched a great talk Tony gave at Google about the book (embedded below).
Tony basically says he believes there are four things that shape a happy career — and life. These things actually map pretty closely to Daniel Pink’s framework for mastery, autonomy, and purpose:
- Perceived progress (mastery)
- Perceived control (autonomy)
- Vision / meaning (purpose, or being part of something bigger than yourself)
- Connectedness (meaning the number and depth of your relationships)
I thought it was cool how close the conclusions are between Daniel and Tony, and I do think Tony’s fourth axis regarding relationships is absolutely spot on. I would actually take his fourth point a step further and suggest that it’s the anchor that undergirds fulfillment in the other three factors. Whether you want greater purpose in terms of positively impacting people, or greater autonomy so you can spend more time with loved ones, or deeper mastery so you can be a better role model for people you care about, the common thread here is based on human relationships.
So definitely search for mastery, autonomy, and purpose in your career transitions. But never lose sight of the fact that, in the end, the overarching driver of happiness in these respects is led by the number and quality of your relationships.