Last Monday evening, a great group of curious and like-minded Millennials came together for our Find Meaning in Your Career workshop. They were all from diverse professions, including banking, social work, on-line marketing and even dog walking with one goal: to Find Meaning in their Career.
So what is meaning in your career?
Some ideas the participants came up with were:
Something that makes your heart sing, being part of something bigger, feel-say-do, in sync, feeling motivated, knowing your purpose, using your unique gifts, doing something because you want to do it, free from own expectations, free from other’s expectations, using your strengths and feeling good.
A good place to start is to remind ourselves of “why” we do the work we do. In our society we often get bogged down with the details of “what” we do and focus less on “how” and “why” we do it. Simon Sinek’s thought provoking, inspiring Ted Talk Start With Why explains how great leaders inspire action by focusing on Why they do, rather than What they do.
I recently coached a teacher who wants to “embed coaching skills into his school” (the What), his Why is “to make the school a better place”. There’s also the famous story of the NASA janitor who when asked what he does, replied, ” I help send people to the moon”.
When I worked in recruitment, I could easily get bogged down in billing fees, the What, fortunately I had a manager who coached me on my Why, which was “to change people’s lives by helping them into new roles”. It helped me make meaning of the work I was doing.
In addition, when we start thinking of our Why, other options that we hadn’t thought of before begin to open up. One of the participants at the workshop who currently works in banking, got back in touch with Why he first went into his role, which was “to develop himself and others”. He had gotten lost in his What’s of report writing etc. One action he went away with was to speak to his boss about a team development initiative that had been mentioned and to find out how he could get more involved.
What about if you haven’t yet discovered your Why?
Our Why is much broader than our career, so if we try to understand what our purpose is at a higher level, then we can align our careers with it.
I like this recent article by Daniela Naido A Simple Yet Difficult Exercise to find the why to our existence,
In it she talks about how she found her meaning through asking herself the following questions:
- At what times in your life have you been the happiest?
- What were you doing during those times that made you feel so happy?
- What events, people or activities get you the most excited, or give you the most satisfaction?
- What topics are you always able to discuss with genuine enthusiasm, without ever getting bored?
- What are you doing when you feel the most useful? The most needed? The most appreciated?
- When do you feel the best about yourself and your contributions?
She says “Answering all these questions may not be easy. It took me a lot of honest, in-depth analysis as well as a lot of time to find my answers. But once I was able to find the answers, my “why” became clear to me. As a result, not only did it become much easier for me to set personal goals, but more importantly I was able to start following through and achieving them as well.”
In our forthcoming MTG Signature Programme, we have a Purpose module when you get to explore your Life Purpose and your Why?
The programme starts at the end of April. If you’d like to find out more about it you can contact us directly or we’d love to meet you face to face at one of our forthcoming free Discovery Evenings.
The first is Find Your Own Happiness workshop on Monday 11th April
and due to the popularity of the last event we’re running the Find Meaning in Your Career on Monday 18th April.
We look forward to meeting you.