Feel Fulfilled? Find Meaningful Work

Meaningful and engaging work is the key to a profitable business.  When people feel their work is meaningful the end result is a more productive office with a satisfied and fulfilled staff.  The workers are happy at work! What do I mean by meaningful and engaging work?  Here is an often told story to illustrate:

There once was a traveler who journeyed all over the globe in search of wisdom and enlightenment. In the midst of one village, he came upon a great deal of noise, dust, and commotion.

He approached the nearest laborer and asked, “Excuse me; I’m not from this village. May I ask what’s going on here?” The laborer replied curtly, “Can’t you see? I’m busting rocks.  It’s unpleasant dirty work but it’s a job.”

The traveler approached a second laborer who was doing the same thing and seemed intent on the work and asked the same question. The second laborer replied, “Can’t you see? I’m earning a living to support my family.”

The traveler then approached a third laborer who was also breaking up rocks and posed the question a third time. With a broad smile and a gleam in his eye, the third laborer replied with great pride: “Can’t you see? We’re building a cathedral.”

Clearly the last laborer was engaged in his work.  It became meaningful to him because he had a larger purpose – the cathedral.

How do you find meaningful work for yourself?  What is it that would make a job engaging and fulfilling for you?

The easy answer is money.  Does money motivate you?  It may for some people but for others once they have what they consider “enough” money, then money no longer motivates them.  The first laborer was clearly doing it for the money.  It was “a job” to him. The second laborer in the story was doing the work intently.  He was engaged but not fulfilled by it.  Earning a living to support his family was his motivation.

So how do you find what engages and fulfills you?  One place to start is with your values.  Values are ideas or activities that are most important to you.  People whose work is aligned with their values are usually happy at work.

Clearly for the second laborer family was most important to him.  If family is an important value for you, then ask yourself a second question, “What do you get from family.”  The answer might be love, connection, security or support.  Each of those is what would be called the end value.  Family is the means to that end value.

The second laborer might have had an end value of security.  He wanted to insure his family’s and his own security by providing enough money for life’s essentials i.e. food, clothing, shelter etc.  He is working from his values.

From the story we can see that the third laborer valued building.  Instead of viewing his work as “busting rocks” he saw it through his value of building something.  Equally important his purpose was to build a cathedral.  Using your values and having a purpose are the two keys to finding meaningful work.

Sometimes a good boss is able to link your work to your values and purpose. Most often however it is up to the employee to see the connections.  Even a job that seems just tolerable can be made more meaningful by finding a way to use your values in doing it and linking it to a purpose that you are committed to. Knowing your own values and purpose is important.  It will help you to find meaningful and engaging work so you can be happy at work.

Take Action:

  1. When you first signed up for my ezine I sent you a values assessment.  Hopefully you found your values then.  If not and you would like another copy, send me an email (asparker@asparker.com) and I will send you another one.
  2. In my practice I offer an assessment called Driving Forces.  It will identify your values. With the knowledge of your values in the workplace, you will be able to use your inner drive, so your purpose is fulfilled and you are “plugged in” on the job. Ask me about the Driving Forces and the DISC for you and your staff.  Don’t make a hiring mistake or take the wrong job!  Use this to find the right candidate or work opportunity.  Call me at 781-598-0388 or email me at asparker@asparker.com for more information.
  3. If you want to find meaningful and engaging work, I’d love to help you.  Once you have meaning and purpose in your work, you will feel more fulfilled and happier.  Call me for an exploratory conversation.  781-598-0388.
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