31 OCTOBER 2016

Long gone are the days of spending an entire 40 year career at the same company, hoping to earn a gold watch or an engraved crystal vase after a long and loyal career. According to the Wall Street Journal most millennials will change careers 7 times during their working life. Often, it’s not even a move within an industry but a literal reinvention of self and trying something completely new.  Life is too short to punch the clock from 9-5pm just hoping that your career will bring you the inspiration and fulfillment you so desperately seek.  According to Forbes, an estimated 52.3% of Americans don’t like their current job.  Why do we feel so restless and unfulfilled in our careers?  It’s because we lack the fulfillment that is found from living at the intersection of our passion and our purpose.

Some have argued that you can’t truly find fulfillment in your profession… and that’s why they call it “work.” I beg to differ.  So much of one’s career is often a product of other people deciding things for you or circumstances that feel outside of our control.  I didn’t get that internship that I wanted, I was passed over for a promotion, or I can’t apply for that job because they want more industry experience.  Over the years, I’ve talked to hundreds of people that feel daunted by circumstances that they can’t control, locked into jobs they don’t love, who constantly ask themselves: “Is this all there is?”

Henry David Thoreau poignantly reminded us that “Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them,” a truth that reveals that many people are unfulfilled in their jobs and in their lives.

Many of our employees come to Manifesto because their previous jobs left them desiring more.  They want to make an impact in the world and use their time and talent to propel ideas, brands, and movements that they are passionate about. In the last 5 years I’ve discovered that people are far more driven and satisfied when they feel they are part of something significant, like an organization that is driven by more than just profit.

In our manifesto we state that we believe in care over commerce, that people are the most important thing and that when you have the courage to care, you’ll inspire others to do the same. As an agency we do a lot of work with brands to help define what they stand for – to really discover their purpose beyond making products or selling a service.

I have come to realize that there’s an intentional intersection point where your passion meets your purpose, and if deliberately lived within this space, one finds the greatest amount of career fulfillment. Living at the intersection of passion and purpose demands finding the meaning that every person desperately seeks.  It’s the careful balance of significance and substance.

So let’s unpack a few critical steps to finding the intersection of your passion and your purpose.



  1. What do you care about the most? - Why do you exist? What gives your life significance, meaning, and substance? What external factors, experiences, and beliefs guide your decisions and actions?

  2. What do you want your legacy to be? - How do you want to be remembered and for what? Legacies are almost always singular because tremendous skill and fortitude lies beneath a life well-remembered.

  3. What do you want to be famous for? - A close mentor of mine pointedly asked me one day what I want to be famous for. What a preposterous idea? That was my initial reaction… to the bold assumption of fame in any capacity. When I dug in a little further, it revealed something that we call our “Onlyness” - the one thing that you can lay claim to that no one else can. Looking at life through this lens helps to create a tremendous amount of focus and helps you identify your core strengths and talents.


  1. Suspend Disbelief - While you dream and begin to build a life lived at the intersection of passion and purpose you need to suspend disbelief. In this stage, anything is possible regardless of financial, geographic, educational, or social boundaries. This is the step that allows unbridled passion to raise you above the current circumstances of today and dream about what could be tomorrow.

  2. Forget the Naysayers - There will be plenty of people who try to convince you otherwise… because they always have. Whether a parent who expects you to follow in your father’s footsteps to pursue law or a boss who tells you that time and dedication will win the race, you have to leave behind the naysayers who will naturally try to fit you into the reliable and steady (but slow) system for career advancement.

  3. Forget Financial Dependence - One of the biggest challenges that most people believe is that they can’t pursue their passion and make a living. In this step you need to free yourself from fear of losing the stability of your income. If you have enough passion for something, the monetization model will follow.

  4. Don’t follow the rules - Waiting for promotions or following traditional paths to career goals are time consuming and typically involve company politics. Even entrepreneurs know that in the absence of corporate infrastructure, stakeholders like financial advisors, your CPAs, lawyers and other stalwarts of conservative strategies can discourage you from making moves in the direct interest of your passion. Sometimes the best intentions can kill the best ideas.

  5. Focus on Lifestyle design - Finding passion in your work also comes with a keen interest in creating a work/life balance. In Tim Ferriss’ 4 Hour Work Week, he encourages his audience to take “mini-retirements” along the way and not wait until the very end of one’s career to cash in their chips. This sprint and walk type of mentality not only encourages productivity but also recognizes that there are true seasons of life that have to be carefully balanced to create fulfillment.

Life is too short not to enjoy what you do. So leave the known for the unknown, take some risk, and you’ll be surprised by how fulfilled you may feel when you work at the intersection of your passion and purpose.


Author’s Note: Dave Dyer is CEO and Managing Partner at Manifesto.

Manifesto is a brand experience agency with offices in Portland OR, and Milwaukee WI. Manifesto declares brand beliefs through the power of cultural disruption and channel agnostic storytelling.

Image Design: Michael Verdine, Creative Director, Manifesto