Have you ever had a moment where you thought, “there has to be more to life than paying bills and going to work, right”? Like, you have the urge to help make the world a better place, but at the same time, you want to live comfortably and be able to eat.
This was me when I was working at a career I hated. I was making decent money and living pretty comfortably, but I wasn’t making anyone’s lives any better.
“So,” I thought to myself, decidedly, “I’ll just find meaningful work instead.”
I had the best intentions when I thought this, but I soon realized that “find meaningful work” wasn’t a thought that could really help me get to where I wanted to go.
I’m willing to bet you’re in the same boat I was if you’re here reading this. If you are, then stick around, because I’ve got some helpful tips when it comes to finding fulfilling and purpose-driven work.
Listen to this as a podcast episode here
Being vague won’t help you find meaningful work
There’s a cruel oxymoron we get wrapped up in when it comes to discovering your passions or trying to find meaningful work. We stay broad when it comes to explicitly say what it is we want in a job (or a business) like how we want to leave each day feeling. At the same time, we’ll get super wrapped up in details that ultimately don’t matter as much. Think like benefits, salary size, etc.
So before you throw your phone, and say, “I HAVE to care about how much money I’ll make! I have bills to pay”, think about this.
Have you ever been in a situation where you compromised your values for momentary comfort? Maybe doing something in your current job you felt icky about, but you did it anyway for the bonus on your paycheck? Or perhaps the time you overheard gossip about someone who didn’t deserve it but didn’t say anything because you didn’t want the heat on you? (Don’t worry, my hand is raised here, too, friend).
My point is, you know that feeling that comes after you compromise who you are to temporarily feel comfortable? Yeah, that stomach-sinking gnawing feeling? That’s what we want to avoid when it comes to looking for meaningful work in either a career change or starting a business.
So back to the “broad” idea I mentioned earlier. If you’re *just* looking for meaningful work, you’re staying too broad in the area that will matter most when looking back on your life. The phrase “Meaningful Work” is too general because it could mean almost anything.
Does it mean that you’re making enough to give money to the needy?
Does it mean that the company you work for *tries* to recycle all their paper?
Does it mean you’re out doing humanitarian work?
What exactly do you *mean* when you say, “I want to find meaningful work”?
Something I work on with my coaching clients is helping them get clear on exactly what they want in their life. Often times, they’ll stay stuck where they are because they * aren’t* clear, so they don’t know what their next steps are.
I whole-heartedly believe that indecision and confusion stop us dead in our tracks, no matter how *badly* we want something. But we CAN overcome that. The kryptonite to uncertainty and ambiguity is clarity and action.
Getting clarity is the key to overpower indecision, and then you can take ACTION to clear the confusion.
So first things first, how do you get clear on how to find meaningful work? Think purpose-driven instead.
This concept applies regardless of if you want to become an entrepreneur and start your own business, or if you want a career change with a different company. Keep on readin’ because you’ll see how purpose-driven gives you more clarity than just “find meaningful work” ever will, no matter what road you choose.
Thinking of becoming an entrepreneur? Make purpose-driven your biggest motivator.
I’m not going to lie, being purpose-driven was *not* my number one priority for a long time when I started my business. I wanted to make a difference, of course, because I was still in the “find meaningful work” mindset.
But my biggest motivator was making money.
I regularly had thoughts like, “Will this post go viral, so I can start getting clients and quit my job?” and “I need to make sure anyone will like this website so I can start making money.” Basically, the thought of making money ruled every action I took and every decision I made.
I didn’t think about what was *actually* vital in my work, which was helping people find their *own* dreams and take action on them. I thought of what would get me to the finish line faster.
I had the goal of replacing my income with revenue from my business after a few months of getting started. Guess what? It didn’t happen.
The motivation to keep going all but evaporated.
I had to take a while, sit back, and *really* think about what I was doing all this for. Like the *look-back-on-my-life-and-be-proud-of* reason. It definitely wasn’t the money, I learned that the hard way.
No, it was the transformations I could help my clients achieve by getting them to get out of their own way. My purpose is to help other millennial women take their skills and knowledge and apply them so they can find their passion and fulfilling work.
This purpose *drives* everything I do now.
Long story short, if you are starting your own biz, don’t make the same mistake I made in the beginning. Don’t let a short-sighted goal like money be your primary motivator. You don’t have to find meaningful work if you build a purpose-driven business.
Looking for a new career as a way to find meaningful work?
The same purpose-driven idea applies if you’re looking for a new career at a different company! Getting more specific than *find meaning work* is perfect if you’re in the job-seeking and applying phase. You want to totally understand what that company is about, their values, and the purpose that drives them to do what they do.
I’ll give an example.
In my career, before I started coaching, I worked for a company that sold high-end clothing. I initially started working for them because, at the time, they were prestigious, and they were well-known for their customer service.
I thought that aligned with me enough to keep me happy there.
Well, as I got promoted and moved into higher positions, they shared their values and mission in a manager meeting one morning. I’ll never forget the day.
Among other values, one of their most significant was “Here to Win,” and the meeting went on about how we were going to “crush” the competition.
I could feel my body literally started to convulse. Everything felt wrong.
One of my most important core values is collaboration over competition, and I was NOT aligned with what they were going on about. It felt so wrong to me; I was sick to my stomach.
Now, don’t get me wrong. There’s nothing wrong with valuing competition. It can be a HUGE driver for some people. Just not for me. So I knew at that moment, I couldn’t stay there any longer.
It was clear to me that their financial bottom line was what was driving them.
So my suggestion to you is to do research about the company you’re applying for. Read their “about page,” or if they are *really* purpose-driven, they’ll have a page dedicated to their values or purpose. Make sure that they are aligned with your own core values.
PIN FOR LATER
NOW I WOULD LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU
Are you a purpose-driven entrepreneur? Or are you going to look for a purpose-driven company? Let me know in the comments below!
If you’re still stuck and don’t know what your purpose or passion is, make sure to download my free “5 Steps to Figure Out Your Passion and Find Fulfilling Work” guide. It’ll help you make find clarity on what you want and take the first step to making it come to life.