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Finding Your Work Archives - Page 3 of 7 - The Meaning Movement

Category "Finding Your Work"

Behind All Great Work is a Memory

Behind all great work is a memory:

  • A memory of a pain you’ve suffered.
  • A memory of a success you’ve had.
  • A memory of a kindness you’ve received.
  • A memory of a moment you wish you could repeat.
  • A memory of a joy you’ve experienced.
  • A memory of a love you’ve witnessed.
  • A memory of a hope you’ve known.
  • A memory of a suffering in need of alleviation.
  • A memory of an injustice you can’t shake.
  • A memory of words that stay with you.
  • A memory of thirst that’s gone quenched.
  • A memory of harm left unattended.
  • A memory of healing that you’ll never forget.
  • A memory of a freedom unlike any other.
  • A memory of a delight that still brings a smile.
  • A memory of relief that you didn’t realize you needed.
  • A memory of a presence who filled a hole.
  • A memory of a conversation that changed everything.
  • A memory of an object that brought comfort or change.
  • A memory of hospitality unlike any other.
  • A memory of being welcomed and affirmed.
  • A memory of feeling important and valued.
  • A memory of having someone in your corner.
  • A memory of being supported unconditionally.
  • A memory of having the right thing right when you needed it.
  • A memory of having more than enough.
  • A memory of being carried, even if only for a moment.
  • A memory of learning something new that changes everything.
  • A memory of teaching that new thing to someone else.
  • A memory of being thanked for something you didn’t realize mattered.
  • A memory of being caught up in a moment and losing track of time.
  • A memory of a feeling of spaciousness in life or even in your physical space.
  • A memory of a problem that was finally solved (FINALLY!).

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The Four Phases of Your Life’s Work (Which Describes You?)

- - Finding Your Work, Tools, Work

When I go on hikes, there’s this odd thing that happens. On the way in everything moves slowly. Everything is brand new. The trail twists and turns and every turn brings a new view and a new terrain to traverse.

This is some of the fun of hiking: you get to see new places. But it also is where some of the challenge comes into play. I know roughly how long the hike may be, but I don’t know how far I’ve come or how far I have to go. When it’s late in the day, your pack is weighing on you, you’re hungry, and almost out of water— the joy of the journey is often replaced by an anxious impatience to arrive. I just want to sit down, take my pack off, catch my breath, take off my boots and relax.

But then on the way back down the trail everything seems to move much more quickly. I remember aspects of the terrain. I recall that we crossed a bridge at about half way. I know that the steep section is only so long and that soon we’ll be past it.

The same experience happens on long runs or bike rides.

Once you’ve walked the path before, you have a frame of reference for where you are and what comes next.
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An Agile Approach to Life and Career Planning

You can’t plan your whole life out. It’s just not possible.

In his book Stumbling on Happiness, author Daniel Gilbert makes the point again and again that humans are consistently bad at predicting what will make us happy.

Isn’t that funny? We’re simply bad at anticipating in the present what we’ll want and what will make us happy in the future.

So even if you could plan out your entire life without any unexpected twists and turns, you’d have created a stagnant map to a moving target.

This is something I keep coming back to when it when it comes to career planning and your life’s work. For most people, your life’s work doesn’t change very much, but what will change is how you go about making that impact. You can say that your work is about helping people in a certain way, but you can’t necessarily be sure how you’ll go about doing that work 10 years from now.

Some of the difficulty in predicting and career planning is that at this moment you only know what’s possible at this very moment. Possibilities open and close in sets. What’s available and even imaginable to you right now is based on where you are and what you’ve been exposed to.

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10 Things You Can Do Right Now to Find Your Purpose

A couple of weeks ago, I spoke at an event about finding your life’s work and how finding it can change everything.  But I had to give this disclaimer:

This process takes a long time. Though I’m going to give you a foundation for thinking about your life’s work and some tools to get you started, you have to be patient. It’s a journey to be taken, not a problem to be solved.

Finding more passion, more purpose, and more meaning in your work and life is a process of identity formation. It’s a process of discovering more of who you are and what you have to offer the world.

It’s not a problem to be solved simply, and it can’t be found in quick quizzes, a single blog post, or even a whole book. It’s something that you learn and discover over time.

The challenge with any large undertaking like this is that it can be overwhelming. And we can be impatient. Where do you start? What can you do now to actually make a difference?

There is a lot that you can do. You can even start on it today. You can start right now, in fact— if you have a few more minutes.

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You Have the Power (So Keep It)

I had a conversation with a friend who just changed jobs.  She had been a stylist for a big company for product and promotional shoots.  She’s great at what she does and is full of creativity and passion.

Unfortunately, the company wasn’t interested in her great ideas.  They had systems and processes that were more important.

Structure and procedure have their place— the company is doing well.  But its priorities are to play it safe and not rock the boat (along with barely paying their employees).

That’s a tough environment for a highly creative and forward-thinking stylist.

It was only a matter of time before she quit. After all, why would she stay?

She has too much to do in her life to wait around hoping the company will promote her to a place where she can make a difference and where her ideas can be heard.

Some time ago I worked for an organization that did the kind of work I wanted to do, but my role wasn’t in a place of impact. I didn’t mind what I did, but I wanted to move up and have my chance at the work I longed to be a part of.

I felt that way for more than a year. It was like I was in limbo— waiting for the chance to do the real work and stuck doing the other important, yet not energizing work.

It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t good. I kept asking for more, and I kept being told more would come… someday. Continue Reading