3 Steps To Finding Meaning In Your Work
To be honest, we all know what we’re thinking. The commute, getting dressed, and attempting to relax at the end of a hard day add up to more than 40 hours each week in the office. The last thing anybody wants to do is spend the greater portion of their lives doing nothing productively. But it doesn’t have to be useless; in fact, it isn’t worthless at all.
Every job is important; if it weren’t, the role would not have existed in the first instance. Finding significance in one’s job, on the other hand, is not always straightforward. It has gotten obscured by the increasing complexity of the environment in which we find ourselves. Sometimes it’s simple to see, but other times it’s difficult. Now, please allow me to explain.
Seeing the lack of significance in your job while working on an assembly line is simple to detect. In the olden days, a shoemaker was responsible for the whole process of creating a shoe. Upon completion of the shoe, the cobbler was able to take pride in their accomplishment. There was no doubt about the value they were bringing to the table with their work. The assembly line, on the other hand, completely altered the landscape of things.
A worker on the assembly line was able to produce an additional hundred pairs of shoes every day, but there was a hitch in the system. Because they were unable to see the fruits of their effort, they were discouraged. After a hard day of labor, they were unable to derive meaning and purpose from their experience. They were generating more, but were experiencing less pleasure as a result of their efforts. The same is true for creatives and white-collar professionals, who are both going through similar challenges.
Hundreds of individuals are involved in the creation of a single item. Currently, we have five teams working on my projects, each of which is responsible for a minor component of the final solution. Taking pleasure in your profession is tough when you have such a little part to perform. Everyone, on the other hand, has an important role to play in this. It is necessary for every single individual to be involved in the project in order to come up with a good answer. Even when it’s difficult to perceive it, the significance in everyone’s work may be found in it.
1. You are significant in the overall scheme of things.
Making sense of things may be done in two ways: from the top down and from the bottom up. Everyone should be able to see how their job contributes to the overall success of the business with the assistance of their supervisor. Otherwise, you’ll have to go out and find it yourself. How I go about it is as follows:
A huge cloud service provider is where I work. Manage and maintain the technology used by our customers. I am just a little piece of the jigsaw, yet I make a significant contribution nevertheless. When it comes to helping customers realize the value in what we do, my emphasis on Microsoft technology is important. When it comes to the grand picture, my little contribution is really important. Nonetheless, I am not working on my own.
On this project, each team contributes significantly. In order to compete, each team must bring their own set of talents. The fact is that I can’t replace a single person on the project or do what I do without everyone’s help. I’m confident in the quality of your work.
It is vital that every position in a company be performed well. It’s important to take a moment and reflect. Pay attention to how significant you are in the overall scheme of things. Invest the necessary time in learning about the company as a whole and how you fit in.
Task and time management are important.
If you’re anything like me, your days, weeks, and months are jam-packed with dozens, if not hundreds, of obligations. Certain individuals were large and certain individuals were little. Others are tedious and cause you to dread going to work, while others are enjoyable and result in a feeling of accomplishment.
If you adjusted how much time and effort you put into each activity, what would happen? If you concentrated on activities that added more meaning to your job, what would you accomplish? Let’s conduct some research first, and then I’ll talk you what I do in more detail.
It has been discovered via research1 that individuals may find significance in their job through three different channels.
Inspiration: What gives you the most zeal and vigor? Enjoying personal development and making new acquaintances are two things you could love. Choosing projects that are aligned with your own drive can help you achieve a deeper sense of fulfillment in your career.
What makes us unique is that we all like doing what we do well. Tasks such as problem-solving and communication, as well as a specific set of responsibilities The achievement of a high level of expertise in a specific field may have significant significance. You’ll get better outcomes if you concentrate your efforts on a certain region. You should be pleased with your results.
What are your passions? What do you find yourself to be interested in? I’m curious as to what you like doing. Love to study and solve problems? Do you like a challenge? Do you want to be a mentor? It is possible to build greater significance in your daily life by concentrating on what you like doing.
Productivity is something I adore. The thought “Wow, how I wish I could execute the same work over and over again and get more efficient at it” didn’t cross my mind while I was growing up. But, for whatever reason, that’s where I ended up in the end! All three of my attributes happened to fall into the same spot, which is a blessing in disguise.
Finding a better approach to do the same activity has piqued my interest.
Automating tasks has become second nature to me because of my technological experience in scripting and the Microsoft Office suite. From constructing sophisticated ecosystems to producing an email template, there is something here for everyone! The prospect of acquiring a new skill is one of the things that “tickles my fancy.”
In the middle of the day, I can’t sleep because I’m working on a new script or enhancing a procedure. To be honest, I’m a little taken aback by the prospect of shaving one hour off a 40-hour job. That’s why I put my energy into certain tasks.
In addition to the chores that cannot be completed inside my productivity bubble, I have a number of other obligations. Several one-time requests for which I am unable to make any improvements. However, I set aside time every day to devote to the project that I am most enthusiastic about completing. Stuff that makes my work easier and helps the company as a whole enhance its performance.
Not everything that is beneficial to an individual is also beneficial to a larger group.
Making your job more meaningful does not have to be at the expense of your employer. It is possible to have your cake and eat it, as well. In order to devote more time to your hobbies while still making a significant contribution to the business as a whole, what modifications might you make?
Three, assist others as a means to assist yourself.
You may discover purpose in your life in the most counter-intuitive and scientific manner possible. Were you a fan of the comedy Friends when it first started?
You may be familiar with Phoebe’s issue in the Friends episode when she is trapped in an ethical quandary. A fully altruistic effort is being undertaken by Phoebe. It brings her great joy to know that she has assisted someone else every time she does something wonderful for them. Even though it’s amusing, science has demonstrated that it’s correct.
Elizabeth Dunn has an excellent Ted Talk in which she explores the science of happiness, which is worth seeing. It turns out that those who assist others are happy in their own lives as a result. Applying these principles and finding pleasure and purpose at work is also possible.
Compared to your colleagues, do you possess superior information technology abilities?
Don’t mind taking 20 minutes out of your day to assist someone who is having computer problems. So, what occurs next is as follows: This exercise will provide you with a lasting feeling of achievement.
Is there a new employee? Think about it: what if you took the time to assist them through each and every tough process? You would get a feeling of success as well as a new buddy in the process, wouldn’t you?
Each of us may support each other in a variety of subtle ways. Everything from holding a chat to assisting someone in repairing a printer that breaks on a weekly basis is acceptable. What if you were able to achieve a little victory every day for a month straight? Our passion would emerge, and I have no doubt that your colleagues will as well.
Relationships must be redefined as well.
A mountain of evidence1 exists. In order to achieve greater significance in your life, you must cultivate high-quality connections. For introverts like myself, this is terrible news; nevertheless, I’ve discovered a couple techniques to get around it. First, let’s talk about the good, the bad, and the ugly of the tricks before we get into the tricks themselves.
Complaining, as well as other types of negativity, spread like a contagious infection. When you’re battered down by negativity, it’s difficult to find purpose, drive, and pleasure. Everyone in a team of five is a bit less pleased as a result of one person voicing their dissatisfaction. You are more prone to complain if your level of happiness decreases. Consequently, you are dissatisfied, and everyone else is as well. At all costs, avoid being caught in the deadly spiral!
A good atmosphere is also created via high-quality connections. People who are passionate about something may captivate us. Knitting is brought up by someone, and before you know it, you’re thinking about how great it is. What strategies can we use to redefine our relationships in order to foster a more positive environment?
When someone is in need of venting, listen and provide sympathetic words, but do not participate yourself. Remember why you came to work, whether it was to support your family or drive a high-end vehicle, after the chat.. Consider pausing for a bit. Make a mental note to remind yourself that what you do has an impact.
Bring a bottle of water to work if a certain group of folks congregates around the water cooler to gripe. Make sure you have headphones handy if someone in the cubicle next to you is always complaining. Try whatever and everything you can to stay away from the situation. There are certain areas where cutting through the rubbish is difficult, therefore we will have to use water to put out the fire. You may influence the culture of your company by adding some optimism to it.. To do so, follow these steps:
In addition to assisting those in need, you may help to foster an atmosphere of support among your colleagues. Remove the negativity from the situation if someone is experiencing PC troubles. A society of mutual empowerment may be created by you. Redefining your connections doesn’t need the knowledge of computer programs.
You may create a more meaningful connection by altering the way you interact. Let me be clear: I’m not a hater. Making small chat isn’t always a negative thing. However, conversing with someone just about the weather or sports does not result in the development of an excellent friendship or romantic partnership. Allowing someone to express themselves about something they are passionate about accomplishes this objective.
Almost everyone of us has a subject that we’re enthusiastic about. Everything from children to skiing to Dungeons & Dragons is available. Passionate individuals may be found in a variety of fields. Isn’t it better to let them discuss it? Allow someone else to introduce you to their interests. Find out what they are interested in doing or watching. What gets them pumped up is something you should know. Listening about something that is significant to them might help you build a meaningful friendship.
– Design Your Own Feedback Loop
With the development of relationships comes the creation of a brief and positive feedback loop. What this little bugger does is elevate the mundane to the sublime. It re-energizes those who are depressed or depressed by anything. When it comes to crushing it at work, this is what you should be eating.
What video game creators have found out, but the rest of us haven’t for whatever reason, is this: Is it possible to level up or unlock new features in a video game that you haven’t played yet? My favorite part is when the music starts. Finding fake things or discovering a new and intriguing choice may be really rewarding. Using incentives to motivate people is effective, and it is not limited to video games.
Also, they’re utilized to keep users posting to social media, sharing their content, and connecting with others. Individuals go to extraordinary lengths to increase their social media following. Why aren’t we putting it to use in our place of employment?
Every person with whom you come into contact may benefit from good remarks. Someone’s day may be brightened with a simple thank you and a few minutes of your time. A culture where people are putting their best foot forward may be created.
Recently, I had the opportunity to fulfill a lifelong dream of mine.
There are not many of us who can say anything like that. That’s why I concluded that sharing this significant milestone on my leadership blog is well worth the time I’ve invested.
Was it a dream, exactly, that came true for me? In any case, this past Sunday, I had the honor of participating in the TEDxConcordia event as one of the presenters, as you can probably see from the photo above, which shows me on the TEDxConcordia stage.
In addition to realizing a lifelong dream of becoming a TEDx speaker right here in my hometown of Montreal, the fact that I delivered this talk at the renowned Place des Arts – a performing arts venue that has hosted performances by Jerry Seinfeld, Leonard Cohen, Ella Fitzgerald, Ray Charles, and many others, not to mention the Montreal International Jazz Festival – made this experience even more memorable. Consequently, I’m certain you can see why this is unquestionably a once in a lifetime experience for me.
Now, it’s understandable that it will take some time before my talk is uploaded to the TEDx channel on YouTube. Despite this, I didn’t want to wait until then to share some of the ideas that I presented during my TEDx talk, especially in light of the overwhelming response and heartwarming comments I received from attendees during the intermission and at the after-show cocktail reception.
I’d like to share with you the three key steps I shared in my TEDx talk “Forget Passion – Purpose is the Real Spice of Life” in the hopes that they will inspire you to not only be the kind of leader your employees require, but also to be the kind of person we all need in order to live the lives we were created to live:
1. Develop a vision that is greater than your own personal goals.
While preparing for my TEDx presentation, I chose to share two personal anecdotes that mirrored one of my greatest and worst job experiences, respectively, to demonstrate how important it is to have a sense of purpose in order to actually flourish and grow in our lives.
When I shared the story of one of my favorite work experiences, which I wrote about in a previous piece on my leadership blog, I stressed the importance of having a clear vision of what we want to achieve as well as a sense of personal ownership in that vision.
Consider how a sports team works together to achieve a common goal. This is an excellent way to think about it. Players’ interest in the result of the game is not confined to the time period in which they are participating in it. The ultimate result is more important to them because they feel a feeling of shared ownership in what the team accomplishes, regardless of who may score the winning goal in the final game.
It’s true that we all want to feel like we’re a part of something greater than ourselves, and that we are needed [Twitter logoShare on Twitter]. To do this, we must construct bridges across departments so that workers believe they are all in this together and are motivated by a similar goal.
We need to address the question – why does this matter? – when we are setting objectives.
In one of the more interesting conversations I had about my TEDx talk, I was introduced to someone who works at a tech company in Montreal that is experiencing exponential growth. It is not simply a matter of attracting new talent to assist them in their growth, but also figuring out how to lower their high turnover rate that they are facing.
Considering that the Millennial generation accounts for the vast majority of their workforce, this attendee informed me that several members of his organization’s upper management attributed the high turnover rate to the Millennial generation’s “feeling of entitlement.”
I told them that, although it’s tempting to fall back on prejudices and biases, we also need to acknowledge that the employee contract has fundamentally evolved in recent years. Our generation will not be working for the same organization for 20-30 years, after which we will get a gold watch as a thank you for our many years of service, like our parents’ generation did.
Instead, workers of all ages and generations are now expected to assume full responsibility for their own professional growth. To avoid issues such as high turnover rates, leaders can no longer afford to set goals that are only important in terms of the organization; instead, they must cultivate a sense of purpose among employees that is aligned with their personal aspirations as well.
That is to say, if people know that you care about their goals, they are more likely to care about your organization’s goals.
3. Concentrate on developing your true strengths rather than merely your perceived ones.
In order to achieve success, I believe that one thing we can all agree on is that concentrating on our own personal qualities is essential to the whole process. Most people make the mistake of assuming that their strengths are reflected in the things that they are good at.
It is important to recognize, as I stated in my TEDx talk, that our true strengths are the things that help us to grow and become more confident. Every one of us possesses an internal drive that compels us to strive for greater levels of achievement and personal development in order to realize our full potential.
I learned from one of the TEDx attendees who came up to me after my lecture that she didn’t know what her true talents were until we spoke about them. To that end, I engaged her in a brief exercise in which she detailed numerous jobs, projects, and volunteer endeavors that were thrilling for her since they were both demanding and fulfilling on a personal level that she had undertaken.
As soon as she finished describing all of the events, I asked her to look for the common thread that tied them all together — the element that made them memorable and pleasurable. With each link she made, I could see the growing awareness on her face of what her true skills were, and even more importantly, what she needed to watch out for in future projects in order to get that feeling of purpose and meaning she was seeking.
We all need to recognize that our true skills not only help us achieve, but they also assist us in finding meaning in what we do.
To be able to live out one of your aspirations, and in my instance, one that was even on my “bucket list,” is a genuinely extraordinary experience. And the fact that so many attendees expressed their gratitude for my story is more than just icing on the cake; it is the very reason that I have been sharing my insights on my leadership blog for nearly a decade.
As with my TEDx talk, it is my sincere hope that by sharing these three essential steps for finding meaning in your work, you will be inspired to not only dream big, but also to be empowered to make those dreams a reality by connecting what you do with the life you were meant to lead.