Meaningful Work Equates To A Meaningful Life

We all feel this pull to do something bigger with our lives.

But many of us aren’t living in alignment with our values and priorities, and we find ourselves engaged in the wrong kind of work.

It isn’t always easy to make a shift in the way we approach life and the way we work. Identities that stem from our careers, communities, and the expectations of others can sometimes hold us back from pursuing something more meaningful.

The truth is, we are constantly evolving and the ability to reinvent ourselves is a skill we must adopt in order to make our highest contribution in this world.

In a study done by Harvard Business Review of a group of people across five generations, they discovered that even though they described meaningful work slightly differently, these were the three statements commonly used by the groups:

  • Meaningful work is intrinsically motivated.
  • Meaningful work creates lasting relationships.
  • Meaningful work helps others.

What does this mean in a nutshell?

Meaningful work gives our lives purpose and connects us to something bigger than ourselves.

Meaningful Work Equates To A Meaningful Life
Meaningful Work Equates To A Meaningful Life

It gives us personal value that matters to our well-being.

It shapes our identity (how we see ourselves and how others see us).

It gives us greater self-esteem and confidence (how we feel about ourselves).

It contributes to our sense of contribution (why our work matters and why we’re proud to do it).

And finally, it rewards us with financial income (how we’re compensated for giving value).

The ripple effect also trickles into other areas of our lives we deem important…like our health, family, community, and of course, happiness.

“It is very difficult to have a meaningful life without meaningful work.” – Jim Collins

As I have grown more of my own understanding about the origins of purpose and meaning through my work with clients, I realized the journey is about more than just escaping a bad job:

People shouldn’t sacrifice their lives for work, but they still need work in their lives.

Meaningful Work Equates To A Meaningful Life
Meaningful Work Equates To A Meaningful Life

The right work.

Meaningful work takes time to create but it’s worth the journey for what we want to experience for the rest of our lives.

As you start reimagining what work can mean to you, and what it looks like, I’ve loved sharing something Todd Henry says in his book, Die Empty: Unleash Your Best Work Every Day

“What am I willing to lay my body down for and say…not on my watch?”

In this era of global connection, there’s never been a better time to lead an unconventional life and do meaningful work on your terms.

New opportunities have shifted how we can make a living and allowed us to dream bigger, bolder, and way beyond the conventional path.

More than ever before, we need individuals to share new ideas that can shape the world we live in.

We all want to create meaningful work that deeply satisfies us, with the freedom to do it on our terms.

And perhaps now, it can be your time.

Meaningful Work Equates To A Meaningful Life
Meaningful Work Equates To A Meaningful Life

Here are 4 questions you can ask yourself to identify where you can start creating meaningful work…

  1. If you could use your most valuable skills and knowledge in a way that may be different from how you’ve used them before in your career, how would you like to impact instead?
  2. Is there something you are proud to say you’ve accomplished personally in your life or career that you wish you could teach to others? Maybe you’ve already been doing it for free without realizing it?
  3. What’s the work that enables you to make your highest contribution? What influence do you want your life to have?
  4. Does my work align with my values? If not, how can I be responsible for creating work that does?

This is a guest post by Lydia Lee, who is a business coach to purpose-driven solopreneurs & changemakers, and a meaningful work advocate. You can find more about her work here.


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