How to use the Venn Diagram of Purpose in a sustainability career

Venn Diagram of Purpose

A useful thinking tool when considering a potential switch to sustainability:

Everyone has different ideas about what can create the greatest change for positive environmental impact. Some people view policy as the ultimate career for change; some see working in carbon capture or reforestation their dream profession; and for some, family planning is the pinnacle of vocation pursuits for positive planetary impact. We can set our sights on that one mission and can feel downtrodden if we aren’t in that field.

Personally, I recognize that policy is an extremely important lever for change, and an area where I could likely make an outsized positive difference for energy systems or animal welfare. However, I didn’t go to law school, and am so out of my element in that field. The time it would take me to get trained enough to influence policy as a profession is time that the world does not have. Besides, I don’t know if practicing law would bring me joy, or if I’d be any good at it.

As Colleen Patrick-Goudreau says in “The Joyful Vegan” (highly recommend), “You’re going to be most effective if the work or advocacy you do is coming from a truthful, authentic, joyful place.” My personal journey has been a process of understanding and acting on my “Venn Diagram of Purpose” to find that place. I’ve found the Venn Diagram of Purpose exercise, commonly found online in self-help articles, to actually be extremely useful in planning my career.

The Venn Diagram of Purpose consists of four concentric circles: What I love; what my strengths are; what the world needs; and what I can get paid for. The theory (that I buy) is that finding the confluence of these circles is where you personally can be most effective. Read the full article on GreenBiz.

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