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How To Find Meaning as a Person and Company

by Dave Nieuwstraten


“It is the very pursuit of happiness that thwarts happiness.”

These words come from famous psychiatrist Viktor Frankl, who spent three years in a Nazi concentration camp. It was there he learned about the difference between happiness and meaning. Serving as a therapist in the camp, he saw how helping fellow prisoners identify something or someone to live for (meaning) provided great power to make it through suffering. In 1946, Frankl published his book Man’s Search for Meaning and in 1991, the Library of Congress listed Frankl’s book as one of the top ten most influential books in the United States.

More recently, researchers have been revisiting this topic of meaning and happiness. In a 2013 article in The Atlantic, the authors noted that “research has found that having purpose and meaning in life increases overall well-being and life satisfaction, improves mental and physical health, enhances resiliency, enhances self-esteem, and decreases the chances of depression.” So, how does one find meaning? The article talks about how happiness can come from getting, while meaning comes from giving. When we seek to help others in need, when we live for something bigger besides ourselves, we can find meaning, and “meaning” lasts longer than feelings of happiness.

As I read this article, I thought about one of my favorite proverbs, which says, “Whoever brings blessing will be enriched.” Science is finding there is great truth to that statement for those who want meaning in their lives. I think it can also be true for companies. I am humbled that Pivot has so many “givers,” and it has been a journey for us to explore what that looks like as an organization.

Recently, Pivot walked through a process to document our company values. It was rewarding for me to see the team trying to capture the words that express our company’s desire to embrace our clients’ needs and come alongside them. Words and phrases like “giving,” “truly understanding,” “showing concern,” and “genuine care” dominated over “making money.” The group also said, “We support local and global communities by serving organizations making an impact around the world.”

Pivot has the honor of serving many amazing nonprofits, and I see how it enriches our team. We also have the honor of serving many awesome for-profits with missions and hearts that extend beyond the bottom line. That, too, gives us joy as a company.

We’ve all heard “it’s better to give than to receive,” and with that attitude Pivot will continue to grow and thrive. Pivot is not perfect, and there are many things we are working on to get better, but I’m proud of our team’s desire to serve and touch the world. I think it will serve us well in our effort to build a great company that is healthy, profitable, and makes an impact. In so doing, my hope is that our team finds meaning at work as well as in their individual lives.

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