What does Ash Barty’s retirement have to do with purpose?

It’s hard to identify a public figure – sporting or otherwise – who Australian’s love more than Ash Barty. She role models hard work, honesty, humility, integrity, transparency and the list goes on.

Yes, she has many outstanding tournament titles to her name, but it’s more about the way she goes about it. Like any ‘brand’, it takes hard work and consistency to create such an image, exemplified in her media conference earlier today.

So what does her shock retirement at the ripe old age of 25(!) have to do with purpose? I don’t know her so I can’t say anything for sure, however her interviews and statements provide some clues.

Purpose is about aims and goals, and meaning is about the significance of those goals. Her Wimbledon victory felt like a major milestone and then the Australian Open was an opportunity to reward herself, her team and her fans. She’d lost the passion and drive to keep on achieving at the highest level, and that drove her decision to retire.

There are two key dimensions to purpose: intrinsic and extrinsic motivations. Earning a living, attaining good health and wellbeing, finding the right job or being excited about jumping out of bed every day are examples of intrinsic motivation.

Extrinsic motivators are more about giving, helping and supporting others. When we do it we get good vibes and feelings, however it stems from an intention and focus on others gaining rewards.

What I see in Ash is someone who is no longer thriving in tennis, and looking to thrive in other aspects of life. Spending more time with family and friends – not to mention a pending marriage – is a shift to a new type of intrinsic motivation for her.

We also see a shift toward extrinsic motivations, or ‘higher purpose’, with her stated desire to encourage Aboriginal and indigenous kids in sport, for example.

Purpose is never a fixed or static thing, it evolves with us and as the world changes around us.

I sense that we will hang on her sporting wins and successes in the short term, and over time we will come to realise there’s a lot more to the Ash Barty story, and that she has done what very few high achievers manage to do – to go out on their terms when they are on top.

What impact does Ash Barty have on you? Has it prompted you to reflect on your direction in life?

I invite you to add your thoughts.

Phil Preston is a purpose development expert who helps people and organisations maximise their impact. You can find out more on his speaker website, or visit the business purpose project.

You might like to follow him on LinkedInTwitter or make contact via hello@philpreston.com.au

Announcing the Launch of The Business Purpose Project

I’m pleased to announce the official launch of The Business Purpose Project!

If you’re concerned about the challenges we’re facing in our world, the harsh reality is that charitable giving and responsible business practices cannot solve them on their own. So where do we turn?

We’re here to help people and organisations navigate the shift to the purpose economy – a world where businesses must learn how to create win-wins with society in order to prosper and grow.

It’s the only way we can lock in a better lives for ourselves and future generations.

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Recent Articles

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Please do check out our resources because they’ll help you and your people no matter what stage you are at on your purpose journey.

We’ve been head-down for months getting all this in place. Apart from talking to you, I’d love to receive introductions or connections to the right people, so the question I have is: Who in your network would benefit from this?

 

Phil Preston

The Business Purpose Project

ceo@businesspurposeproject.com

+61 408 259 633