If I asked you what the purpose of the Post Office was, you might answer “to deliver the mail.” While you would be correct, there is a deeper purpose to their work.

The official mission states: “The Postal Service shall have as its basic function the obligation to provide postal services to bind the Nation together through the personal, educational, literary and business correspondence of the people.”

It reminds me of Simon Sinek’s appeal to organizations to Start with Why and to articulate their underlying purpose instead of just sharing what they do or how they do it.

Clearly, the mission states a deeper reason for the Post Office’s existence, but the Smithsonian Institution’s National Postal Museum (the former DC Post Office) has an even more emotional “why” chiseled on its building:

Messenger of Sympathy and Love
Servant of Parted Friends
Consoler of the Lonely
Bond of the Scattered Family
Enlarger of the Common Life

Carrier of News and Knowledge
Instrument of Trade and Industry
Promoter of Mutual Acquaintance
Of Peace and of Goodwill Among Men and Nations.

Think of how you describe the work you do. Is it: “deliver mail”, “provide postal services to bind the National together” or to be a “Messenger of Sympathy and Love…”? Your work may be more meaningful if you articulate the meaning behind it.

Source: USPS Historian

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