by Mark Guterman and Dan King
It’s a fair question — and one we are asked frequently. Clients seek us out for help making a job or career change that is a more complete expression of what brings them meaning. They want to know that we’ve succeeded in helping others find meaningful work. And we have.
But it’s a challenging question to answer because it implies that we are the primary drivers of our clients’ success. And we’re not. We are facilitators in the process of finding meaningful work, but our clients are the drivers. Our success is contingent upon our clients’ success — or in other words, upon their driving skills.
So the short answer to the question is that for those who “stick with the process,” the chances for finding meaningful work are very high, approaching 100%. Our success is influenced by the degree of “stick-to-itiveness” we can instill in our clients. How long it might take (another question we are regularly asked) requires “steadfastness”, a spirit of dogged persistence and tenacity, however long it takes.
Of course, it’s easy to become overwhelmed and daunted by the process of finding meaningful work — from clarifying “what meaning means,” to creating and committing to a plan, and acknowledging the time and effort necessary to achieve it. Starting the process is relatively easy — hanging with it to a successful resolution is something else altogether. It takes discipline to sustain your momentum through the inevitable twists and turns of the journey. Those who do, find success — and subsequently, so do we.
What makes the difference between those clients find meaningful work and those who do not?
Those who achieve a successful outcome do the following:
- They set small goals, putting their attention on those things over which they have control, and celebrating both big and small successes.
- They find time every day (even if its only a few minutes) to work on the process, establishing momentum that comes only through discipline.
- They have someone (a coach, a partner, a friend, a mentor) who supports them and holds them accountable.
- They practice self-care as an important and necessary part of the process.
- They hold a vision, anchored by their values, in their mind’s eye and relish it as if they were already there.
- They find their own way to move forward, following their curiosity and improvising, when necessary.
- They make learning an integral part of the process.
There is no magical formula for success at finding meaning in our worklives. It comes down to three things: Passion, Patience and Persistence. Meaningful work is within the reach of everyone — and each of us can exercise the power needed to achieve it. Are you ready to get started? And, more importantly, do you possess the stick-to-itiveness and steadfastness to see it through to a successful outcome?