What is impact?



Youth with purpose tend to have prosocial intentions--the desire to contribute to the world beyond the self (Liang et al., 2017). Research has shown that prosocial impact leads to better health and higher life and work satisfaction; increased self-competence, self-determination, and social value; experiences of increased social support, trust, learning-oriented achievement goals, self-regulation, and goal progress; and decreased likelihood in experiencing symptoms of depression and anxiety (Wresnicwski et al., 1997; Grant, 2007; Crocker et al., 2009). Our prosocial intentions can originate from many sources including adverse experiences, scarcity, gratitude for privileges one has, one’s values, self-oriented purpose, religious beliefs, or recognition (Staub, 2003; Moran, 2009; Volhardt, 2009; Quinn, 2012; Liang et al., 2017; White, 2020). Where do your prosocial intentions come from? Understanding the origins of our prosocial intentions can help us engage in the process of meaning making.


Key Terms:

  • End goals: Outcomes where you’re unwilling to compromise - they describe exactly what you want. The end goal has the answer to the question, “Why is this goal important to me?” embedded in the statement itself.

  • Means goals: One of many paths to reach your end goals.


Ask Yourself...

  • Write down your goal, and ask yourself “Why is this goal important?” Now why is that important? Keep on going until you get to your final answer.

  • If you achieved your end goal, what impact would you have? Who would you be helping?

  • How specifically would you be making that impact happen?

  • Why is your end goal important to you?

  • What people or lived experiences have helped contribute to your desire to make this impact?

  • Where do your prosocial intentions come from?



Why are we creating this purpose playbook?

I want to help students understand purpose. Why?

So students can apply these skills to their lives. Why?

So students can connect their purpose to school. Why?

To empower students to pursue meaningful lives.



Crocker, J., Olivier, M.-A., & Nuer, N. (2009). Self-image Goals and Compassionate Goals: Costs and Benefits. Self and Identity, 8(2–3), 251–269. https://doi.org/10.1080/15298860802505160

Grant, A. M. (2007). Relational Job Design and the Motivation to Make a Prosocial Difference. Academy of Management Review, 32(2), 393–417. https://selfdeterminationtheory.org/SDT/documents/2007_Grant_AMR.pdf

Liang, B., White, A., Mousseau, A., Hasse, A., Knight, L., Berado, D., & Lund, T. (2017a). The four P’s of purpose among College Bound students: People, propensity, passion, and pro-social benefits. Journal of Positive Psychology, 12(3), 281-294. https://doi.org/10.1080/17439760.2016.1225118

Moran, C. D. (2001). Purpose in life, student development, and well-being: Recommendations for student affairs practitioners. NASPA Journal, 38, 269-279. https://doi.org/10.2202/1949-6605.1147

Quinn, B., (2012). Other-oriented purpose: The potential roles of beliefs about the world and other people. Youth & Society, 46(6), 779-800. https://doi.org/10.1177%2F0044118X12452435

Staub, E. (2003). The Psychology of Good and Evil: Children, Adults and Groups Helping and Harming Others. Cambridge University Press, New York. https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511615795

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