Taking Your Place as a Change Maker
These are the words of Kahlil Gibran from his poem “On Work” from The Prophet.
Gibran’s writings gained popularity in the 1960s and 1970s during the counterculture movement, which responded to his lyrical language and mystical treatment of such subjects as love, death, nature and longing. When I was questioning the meaning of life in my 20’s, The Prophet was a guidebook for me.
The synchronistic circle of life is a marvel. My tatter torn copy of The Prophet disappeared during one of my many house shares and moves over the past decades. Then today, during a heartful conversation with a dear friend about how vital meaningful work is to our happiness and fulfillment, she reminded me that “work is love made visible.”
So many people feel anything from mild discomfort to miserable about their work. In our 20’s we embody an idealistic vision of how the world can be and believe in our ability to change it. Then for so many of us, we sacrifice those dreams and too often our values, and hunker down to the work of responsibility and survival. Often until years later when life catapults us into a life transition that forces a reflection on our place in the cosmos.
If you believe that your work should be a daily slog so you can pay your bills, think again. Your work is your service to the world. What you deeply love and are passionate about, made visible to the world, connecting your life purpose with your work.
Viktor Frankl, an Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist and Holocaust survivor, said, “Those who have a ‘why’ to live, can bear with almost any ‘how’.” Purpose is a self-organizing central life theme that guides how we prioritize the actions we take and how we impact the world. We want to know our lives have meaning and that we matter. Whether our unique gift is to inspire, teach, support, encourage, uplift, transform, or create, the energy of it drives our goals and creates meaning.
These are the 5 key categories of what really matters to human beings:
1. Growth – The desire to become better humans
2. Happiness – Feeling excited to get out of bed in the morning
3. Abundance – Leading a lifestyle where you FEEL you have an abundance of goodness
4. Significance – Feeling important, like you are making a difference
5. Meaning – Knowing you are giving back to humanity
We spend anaverage of 90,000 to 125,000 hours at work during the course of our lifetime. Is your work fulfilling these 5 critical human needs? Life purpose is one of the greatest predictors of life satisfaction.
If you’re ready to make a change in your work so that’s it’s more aligned with your purpose and what deeply matters to you, create a strategy of small, deliberate steps. Although there are exceptions, most people aren’t ready to make a change in one giant leap. Build a mound of tiny and big steps forward with many experiments to discover what you love.
1. Assess your life and work values. What are you guiding values? Your values guide your way of being in the world and the beliefs that you hold most important. Your values are what you hold true above everything else, and give you direction. If you find you’re getting stuck figuring out exactly what meaningful work is for you, your guiding values can help.
2. Lay out your potential options and directions. There is no one idea for your life. All of us have more than one life in us and the average is 3.4. There are multiple great designs of your life so generate lots of crazy ideas. We tend to choose better when we have lots of good ideas to select from.
3. Create your 100-day plan. Every day commit to making one tiny action toward a new beginning. Even if you don’t know where you’re going. Ask a friend or colleague to support you and hold you accountable.
4. Give yourself permission to explore any little thing you’re curious about and start launching little projects. Start a blog or a podcast. Design an app. Write a poem. Weave a rug. Create a collage of your bucket list. Learn to play the guitar. Literally anything is okay! The only rule is that it brings you joy, engages and energizes you.
5. Innovate 3 Real Alternative Lives
Create a six-word title for each.
Write three questions for each around what would you want to investigate, test and explore about each alternative (geography, experience, impacts of this alternative, what your life will look like, what your role will be, what training might be required.)
For each, gauge your resources (time, money, skill, contacts,) likability (rate how it feels in your body–negative or positive,) your confidence level, coherence (consistency with your values.)
1) Life One – This is centered on what you’ve already got in mind–either your current life expanded forward or that hot idea you’ve been nursing.
2) Life Two – That thing you would do if Life One were suddenly gone.
3) Life Three – The thing you would do or life you’d live if money or image were no object – you knew no one would laugh at you or think less of you for doing it. (This should be a little bit wild, far-fetched and crazy.)
Explore your alternatives. Find someone who is living this life and set up a time to chat. This is someone who is doing what you’re contemplating or has real experience and expertise in an area about which you have questions. This will give you an opportunity to get a glimpse of what this path might feel like. Gather the story of how that person got to be doing that work and what it’s really like to do what he or she does.
Research has shown that meaningfulness comes from being a “giver.” If you aren’t ready to make a change in your work, yet you want to amplify the meaning and fulfillment level, cultivate your acts of giving. Meaning is premised on an entirely different way of interacting–that is, giving to others in service of the “greater good.” Find ways to innovate your role and workplace so it feeds your soul in ways that matter most to you.
This is how work becomes love made visible.
I believe in you.
BEGIN THE IMPORTANT WORK OF YOUR LIFE:
Schedule a free 30-minute consult. Are you ready to live into your full potential? Let’s talk about what needs to change for you to do that. Schedule a complimentary 30-min consultation here: Schedule Your Discovery Session
Email us if you would like to receive a free copy of our Purpose & Passion Worksheet. firstname.lastname@example.org
Overcoming Imposter Syndrome
The Significance of Your Brand: The Impact You Are Making Through Your Work
The Self Integrity of Boundaries: Honoring Your Own Values
Creating a Culture that Changes Lives
What are the Next Right Steps When You Feel Afraid or Unsure?
I would love to hear from you. What defines meaningful work? Please share your comments below or email me directly at email@example.com
Tricia Acheatel has been supporting women in their personal, professional, and entrepreneurial growth for over 30 years. She teaches women how to access their inner wisdom, develop self-confidence, and create with conviction – to shape a life of meaning. Her unique approach blends inner work with practical mindset and business development tools that teach women how to find the courage to live their authentic and brilliant lives.
From her combined experience – as a corporate executive, business owner and coach, herbalist/healer, life coach, author, life designer, success team leader, and teacher – Tricia brings wisdom, intuition, compassion, and clarity to her work. Her clients and students access newfound clarity, resilience, freedom, inspiration, and the knowledge necessary to launch their dreams.