By: Mark Guterman
When I teach and coach about meaningful work, I try to show people that meaning occurs at the intersection of competence (what we do in the world), intention (how we do what we do), and purpose (why we do what we do). The reality of the process for most people is something deeper—what I would call the “inner dynamics” of finding meaningful work.
These dynamics are: Choosing, Claiming, and Committing. They are often seen and felt as separate things, yet, as people make their way toward meaningful work, each needs to be tended to as part of the whole process. The chart below shows how they fit together and makes the point that each is necessary and important in the quest for meaningful work.
Meaningful work is fundamentally about making free and informed choices, while recognizing that nothing about how we see and experience work is set in stone or irrevocable. This dynamic reminds us that we are the authors of our future and that we have a great deal of power in deciding what we want that future to look like. As we develop the ability to choose, our experience of clarity grows proportionally.
Our capacity to define, articulate, and share our “story” is key to crafting a path to meaningful work. We need to know and own what we value, what we seek, why we seek it, and how it is of benefit to others. Making our choices manifest keeps on the path to meaningful work. As we develop the ability to claim, our sense of courage grows proportionally.
We will only get so far toward meaningful work until we become disciplined, patient, and persistent. Meaningful work is not easy or obvious for most of us, and for those who really want it, there are always ways to overcome the obstacles and barriers along the way. As we develop the ability to commit, our sense of power grows proportionally.
Ultimately, finding meaningful work is more than claiming, choosing, and committing. It really is about our willingness to recognize the interplay between the external and internal parts of the process, while continuing to move steadily and courageously forward. There are, of course, many challenges and difficulties to be encountered along the way, but it is our decisions and actions every day that will get us there.
MeaningfulCareers.com was created by Mark Guterman and Dan King, two guys with a shared commitment to the power of meaningful work. They help professionals find greater meaning in their careers, lead happier, more satisfying lives, and instill lasting value through their work. For more information and resources visit: http://meaningfulcareers.com.