Making Work More Meaningful
Having been forced to step back with more time in our hands, I’ve come to thinking – Why is it that some people who are more professionally privileged can still feel lacking or empty, while others who sweep the streets or peddle under the sun manifest contentment? At first I thought it was simply mind setting but having had encounters with different extraordinary individuals, I now understand that it has got to do with PURPOSE.
Find Your Purpose
Years ago when I was choosing what course to take in College, I remember my Dad telling me to chart my future based not on what I’ve always wanted to become, but on how I would want to live my life with purpose. Having observed friends and colleagues working without purpose for years, I began to understand what Dad truly meant.
Working with a sense of purpose is not an epiphany; it is an act of will, a choice and a decision, that takes thoughtfulness and practice.
Learning from leaders and inspired by colleagues, allow me to share some inputs on how to consciously endow your work with purpose, regardless of your profession, your title, or your pay.
Connect Work With Service
There can and should never be a disconnect between the two. Everyday we clock in for work, we begin with two things in our mind: who we serve and why we serve. The COVID-19 crisis awakened the world to many inspiring stories of how one’s work is built on purpose.
Medical frontliners faced health risks – even death – to fulfill what they have sworn in. Grocery personnel walked or biked their way to work to keep stores open and make available food and sanitation essentials for customers.
While not all of us may handle life and death situations at work, each one of us do serve someone in what we do. Teachers see the young minds and lives they shape everyday. Everyone in the office owes it to the office assistant who makes sure each day starts out right for the boss with every perfectly brewed cup of hot coffee.
Value Your Contributions
While you’re at it, help others understand the mission and how the mission depends on their contributions to achieve it.
I recall an anecdote I read about President Kennedy asking a janitor on duty at the NASA what he was doing. Without batting an eyelash, the humble man replied, “Well, Mr. President, I’m helping put a man on the moon.”
To many of us, he may be simply cleaning the building. But in the larger scale of things, he was doing his job to help achieve the greater mission. He understood the vision, and the part he played to achieve it.
That is service. That is work with a higher purpose.
Invest in Healthy Relationships
Who we work with is just as important as what we do. Remember that cliche It’s teamwork that makes the dream work?
Well, that is true. Work does seem easier as in life, when you’ve got friends and colleagues who support and respect one another. In a research done Research by Oxford University’s Saïd Business School, happy workers do not put in more time than discontented colleagues. They are simply 13% more productive within their time.