If you have ever wondered if passion is more important than purpose (or vice versa), there is a SIGNIFICANT difference in the way they impact you – at least at work. Here is an excerpt from Stanford’s Dan and Chip Heath’s new book, The Power of Moments: Why Certain Moments have an Extraordinary Impact that contains breakthrough new research about the relationship between passion, purpose and performance. Ready for it?

University of California Berkeley Professor Morten Hansen surveyed 5,000 employees and managers to understand the makeup of star performers. Hansen also explored the distinction between purpose and passion. Purpose is defined as the “send” that you are contributing to others, that your work has broader meaning. Passion is the feeling of excitement and enthusiasm you have about your work. Hansen was curious which would have the greater effect on job performance.

He grouped employees into categories. For instance, people who were low on passion and low on purpose were ranked by their bosses on average at the 10th percentile of performance:

That’s lousy but not surprising: If you are unenthusiastic about your job and feel it lacks meaning, you’re not likely to overachieve. The opposite is true as well. When people had high passion and high purpose, they were stars:

Again, pretty predictable. But what if employees were strong on only one trait: passion or purpose? Who would perform better, the passionate or the purposeful? Let’s start with the passionate:

That’s a shocking finding: People who were passionate about their jobs – who expressed high levels of excitement about their work-were still poor performers if they lacked a sense of purpose. And here’s the final piece of the puzzle:

Purpose trumps passion. Graduation speakers take note: the best advice is not “Pursue your passion!” It’s pursue your purpose!

Amazing, right? You NEED purpose to feel alive!! True story.

If you don’t know what your purpose is, there is a way to find out. Reach out to us at www.peopleacuity.com, or check out The Three Guides to Changing Your People Equation to learn all about the power of Purpose Alignment, and to begin to discover how to find your purpose. Or you may want to sign up for our special 2-day leadership retreat where we will spend one entire day helping you explode your results through Purpose Alignment (coming to Utah at the end of March – see our website for more information).

NOTE: this article was written by DeAnna Murphy, Lisa Gregory, and Steve Jeffs, the People Acuity thought leader team. If you liked this article, you may want to download Chapter 1 of People Acuity: Revolutionizing Results and Relationships.

Join us for these and other exciting outcomes on March 1, at 7 a.m. CST, or 11 a.m. CST – register here: http://peopleacuity.wpengine.com/events/.

NOTE: this was written by DeAnna Murphy, Lisa Gregory, and Steve Jeffs, the People Acuity thought leader team.

DeAnna Murphy, a 23-year organizational development veteran and CEO of People Acuity, has led the 7-year research process with the People Acuity Analytics team.  It has involved over 10,000 individuals around the globe participating in original qualitative and quantitative research, exploration of over 1,000 academic and practitioner articles, top-rated marketing reports, and analysis of 200 of the best-selling books in leadership, self-help, business, and psychology.  People Acuity, an affiliate of Strengths Strategy, is in 31 countries, and includes over 300 practitioners across the globe.

Lisa Gregory is a thought leader and Manager of Product Development and Delivery at People Acuity. With 17 years of business experience as a trainer, coach, advisor, entrepreneur and corporate leader, Lisa has extensive experience in learning and development, at both strategic and implementation levels. She has worked with leaders in 80 percent of the Fortune 500 and Global 1000 companies and has broad and deep knowledge of the challenges facing top executives, employees, and managers as they strive to bring their best to an organization and to their own lives.

Steve Jeffs is the Chief Scientist, Senior Faculty and is co-leading the international expansion of People Acuity. Integral to the People Acuity Analytics team, Steve recently presented the validation of our Foundations of Interdependent Teams Scale at the World Congress of Positive Psychology. He is a registered Psychologist, multi-award winning Executive Coach, energetic facilitator and scientist. Fascinated by interdependence and synergy, Steve is completing his Doctorate in this field, and applies this learning, consulting with organizations and in Executive Coaching with Senior Organizational Leaders around the world. Steve lives in Dubai, UAE, and operates globally.