Purpose = Joy.

What is the core purpose of your work? Does it bring you joy?

After what felt like a refreshingly normal dinner out on King St the other night, (after so many dinners in), we were driving past Lamport Stadium and I made my husband pull over so I could jump out and stand by the fence and simply watch JAM soccer and ultimate frisbee in action.  25 years after starting JAM (formerly the Sport & Social Group), any time I drive past JAM players out playing it fills me with joy. 

I haven’t always clearly known my “Purpose”. It was only in looking back at how I spent my time when I was in my mid-40s that I realized “connecting people through PLAY” is my core purpose.  

In high school, I started the ‘social committee’ for my student council, leading car rallies, scavenger hunts, and ‘whodunnit’ type games. In university, I was the captain of the ski team, organizing deals with bars that would agree to pay my team (the largest team in our division), cash or free drinks, in order to come to their bar on race weekends. As I convinced the bar owners, doing so would then attract all the other school teams to the same place – it worked. Shortly after university, I started the “Toronto Sport & Social Club”, which has gotten over 1.5 million people playing adult recreational sports in the last 25 years. Around 2010, I started an adult community musical theatre group, so that friends of mine who were doctors, lawyers, teachers and CEOs, could gather once a week to sing, dance, and play and raise money for charity. Clearly, there was a theme – I enjoyed organizing people to play and be social.

In 2016, after 20 years of running JAM (Sport & Social Group), I was feeling a bit bored and needed a new challenge. I was trying to figure out what the legacy I wanted to leave would be. I asked myself “what brings me joy?”.  It didn’t take me long to realize that when I see people PLAYING soccer or softball or volleyball, because of the work that I do, that this is what brings me the most joy in life. Thus, instead of moving in a totally new direction as I had been considering, I decided to go all-in with keeping people playing. I decided the legacy I wanted to leave would be to help get 1 million people playing annually.

I have no idea how long it will take me and my team to reach this vision of 1 million people playing, or whether we ever will. Frankly, it doesn’t matter. What I know is that by all of us being very clear on the fact that our Core Purpose at JAM is “connecting people through PLAY”, it brings my entire team an incredible amount of joy to see the results of work each day.  

What is the core purpose of the work you are doing each day? Does it bring you joy?

Keep playing!