Finding Meaning & Having a Purpose
When I tell people that "I make Mondays feel as good as Fridays" I either get a rather odd look along the lines of 'oh no - some ridiculous sales line is coming next' or "that sounds fascinating - how?"
I love the second response obviously but how do I deal with the first response? I ask questions (to be honest I do this to the second response too) - I ask whoever I am talking to about them; their life, their work and what they want to get an idea of how best I can help them or at least understand the challenges which they face.
By doing so I discover what is really getting in a person's way from them enjoying their life or realising their full potential at work or even doing what they have always wanted to do.
You see - I strongly believe everyone needs to have meaning in what they do.
A purpose which gives value to our work and to our lives is essential for us to get going each day, it helps build social connections and friendships, it brings us joy and lasting happiness.
I am in no way dictating we need to love every second of every Monday (or any day for that matter), however, we do need to believe in what we do and that what we do brings benefit to others.
This is key as we generally find meaning by being meaningful to others whether that be our family, our partner, our friends, our colleagues, our clients - when we are meaningful to and make a positive impact in other people's lives we recognise our value.
As psychology professors Roy Baumesiter and Mark Leary claimed in The Need To Belong way back in 1995 "a need to belong is fundamental human motivation" and this theory backed by Antti Kauppinen in his paper Meaningfulness and Time when he suggests that 'for those who love us, we are irreplaceable'.
Simon Sinek is a great proponent of finding your why in your work - once you find the meaning then perhaps it will no longer feel like mere work.
When it comes to work I tend to focus on what drives a person - what is the work that you cannot not do? For a recent client of mine this was realising that she needed to find or create a cause to work for and in
Given the current situation, a huge part of our working lives which we may have previously overlooked is the need to be connected to others. We have been used to a huge amount of freedom in with whom we connect, how and when - now we are actively realising how vital in person connectivity is for our businesses, not to mention our individual wellbeing and mental health.
Often, the real magic comes when people are able to connect their deepest drivers to their work - their life's purpose - this may sound supercilious for some which is fair enough. I often work with clients who have found their purpose and gaining of meaning outside of their work and their job remains just a job.
However, when I work with people to uncover their true calling, a fire is lit within them and they are energised to a whole new level. Suddenly work begins to be a joy for them, other areas of their life brighten and improve - as we begin to make things happen in one are of our life we discover all that we are capable of doing and more thereby driving us to make positive changes and impacts across all areas of our lives.
This all sounds marvellous and a huge amount of the initial work I do with clients is to discover what they find meaningful and uncover their purpose so how do you find your purpose?
As always with coaching it starts with some questions:
Firstly, list 2 of your unique personal qualities e.g. optimism & enthusiasm
Then add 1 or 2 ways you enjoy expressing those qualities when interacting with others e.g. to inspire, to support
Next, assume the world is perfect right now (you may need a great leap of imagination here!) and ask yourself:
What does this world look like?
How is everyone interacting with everyone else?
What does it feel like?
This is a statement, in the present tense, describing the perfect world as you see it, hear it and feel it. (Remember it is a fun place to be!)
Finally, combine the 3 elements you’ve captured so far, into a single statement. For example: “My personal purpose is to use my enthusiastic optimism to support and inspire others as we champion each other and leave each other feeling happy and fulfilled.”
My personal purpose is to ...
I'd love to know what your personal purpose is and how you intend to use this to find meaning.