Michelin Man Seeks Tire
Let’s talk. What difference do you make on a day-to-day basis to others? Someone like Mother Teresa would be able to answer this question immediately. She was dedicated to helping the poor and suffering. This mission drove her. She awoke in the morning with a burning desire to help others.
Few have work as immediate and pressing as Mother Teresa’s. Most of us are disconnected from the difference our work makes. It seems like we are fulfilling these tasks and do not immediately know why. Consider this, what overall effect does your work or the works of others in your department have?
The Difference is You
It is essential to take time and reflect and reconnect with the difference your work makes. Why?
Big Paycheck, Small Payoff
Brian recently gave up his job as a realtor to be a computer analyst. He disliked working long hours for little pay. Now he works long hours for lots of pay but very little fulfillment. He misses seeing the spark in a customer’s eye when he hands them the key to their new home. Now he spends all day looking at his computer screen. He wonders, “Why do I do this job? What impact does it make?” He misses the connection to the customer and the final product.
Brian isn’t alone. Hundreds of people are looking for more meaningful work. How we think about what we do goes a long way in determining the satisfaction we derive from our work. Many people think the primary reason a company exists is to make a profit. Therefore there is no real benefit to anyone but the company itself. For most companies this is too narrow an assumption. In fact, management theorist Peter Drucker doubts that there is such a thing as a profit motive at all. Most successful companies have gone through many periods of ups and downs where they didn’t see a profit. There were other reasons driving them to go on.
When I speak at a company’s annual meeting about creating a meaningful workplace, I am surprised to find that most people haven’t actively considered this concept. They think work should be naturally meaningful if it is the right job or work environment for the person. This may be true in the beginning but if purpose and contribution aren’t continually renewed the work starts to suffer. The truth is, purpose doesn’t just hit you one day — it has to be cultivated.
Cultivate Meaning in Your Work
How do you cultivate more meaning on the job? Here are some concrete ways:
Visualize Your Success
By far one of the most powerful and inspiring tools to create meaning is vision. How do you craft your vision? The best way is to go directly into one. Here is a vision I use in my seminars: close your eyes and think about someone in your field that you admire and/or aspire to work with. Specifically think about what they have accomplished. Think about them on the job, what makes them successful? Now imagine yourself in a similar role, what unique qualities make you successful? Visualize it clearly enough that you can feel the feelings of success as if it is happening. Imagine yourself winning an award, feel the positive feelings of achievement. Others are complimenting you. Key clients and customers are thanking you for your contribution.
Go through this vision in your mind at the start of every day.
It’s Up to You
The way we view our job is essential to success. We each can only cultivate this attitude individually. That’s why it’s essential to spend time seeing how others benefit and grow from your work. Believe in the benefits of your service and this will naturally flow over to clients.
Author of “All Work & No SAY," Jody Urquhart, www.idoinspire.com, speaks at meetings and conventions on How to Build a Passionate & Committed Workplace. To book Jody to speak at your next meeting email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.