Having a sense of meaning in one’s life has been validated in a range of research studies to increase your overall sense of wellbeing. But how realistic is it that we all have access to meaningful work. Is it beyond most people’s reality?
In this post I want to get real practical about how you can access meaning in your work-life so that you can reap the benefits that meaning can add to your overall sense of wellbeing at work.
There is of course, the big or macro-meaning that many find in their religion, and again, studies show that the sense of meaning people gain from their religion can add to their overall sense of wellbeing.
However, in this post I want to discuss a different type of meaning and one which I refer to as intentional-micro-meaning in life.
Victor Frankl wrote in Man’s Search For Meaning “What matters, therefore, is not the meaning of life in general but rather the specific meaning of a person’s life at a given moment…”
What I find inspiring about these words is it places squarely on all of our shoulders to be more intentionally mindful in more moments more often, throughout our working days.
If you feel your days at work are a repetitive drain on your sense of wellbeing, I’ve got a practical solution for you… and it all has to do with developing more intentional-micro-meaning into your work.
It’s one thing to ask yourself WHY you do what you do (and whether that’s on an individual, team or organisational level), but the more important question is what is the impact of why you do what you do, not only on yourself, but on the other people you impact, either directly or indirectly, when you do what you do?
This is not an exercise in philosophy – this is an exercise in practically anchoring you in intention, because when you are, you will find more meaning in your work life, and with more meaning in your work life, you’ll increase your overall sense of wellbeing.
And the really good news is that it’s a relatively easy process.
All it takes is the courage and discipline to get clear on your intention for the impact your various work tasks have not only on you, but on others.
If for example, at the start of a day, you go through the process of planning the key tasks you’re wanting to get done (the basic ‘to do list’), all you need do is as you start each new task, stop for a moment and think about when you do what you’re about to do, what’s the impact you intend it to have on yourself and on others (directly and indirectly). This takes you out of just ‘action’ mode, and into ‘intentional action mode’.
The more you’re anchored in intentional connections with what you’re doing, the more readily you’ll find meaning in your work, beyond just doing the work.
So get that ‘To Do List’ out and give intentional-micro-meaning a try. I know you’ll be impressed by the results you achieve, and even more importantly, how you feel about yourself and what you’ve achieved by the end of the day.
This process brings meaningful work within the reach of many more, if not potentially every worker – self employed or employed.
Let me finish by paraphrasing the wisdom of Victor Frankl where he suggests “to life (we) can only respond by being responsible.”