Having a sense of meaning to some can seem like such a fuzzy and intangible task, especially when it comes to work. Unlike analytics and data in our spreadsheets, meaning seems hard to measure. And yet, at some level, we all yearn for it. This yearning can get so strong, it can override what seems logical and task oriented at work, and leave us seeking answers. In these times, we are often charged with the question “How on earth do I figure out what my purpose is? I really don’t think what I do is meaningful at all”.
The secret to bringing this vague but valuable ingredient to the surface lies within flipping your metrics on success. Looking beyond money as an incentive and digging deep into transactions that highlight interests, values and strengths. Off the back of recent conversations with clients, we’ve pulled together these three tips below to help you kickstart your very own meaning mapping journey.
The struggle is your strength
A willingness to dive straight into your pain points and frustrations will accelerate your exploration. In a recent interview with Thrivhers, Lisa Messenger said
“Frustration can be a very motivating and energising force, if you make the decision to harness it to propel you forward, rather than seeing it as something that is holding you back.”
Frustration can signal the seed for growth. When stuck with your own frustrations, step outside for a moment. What are these frustrations holding you back from? If they were removed, and things were different, what might you be able to accomplish? Chances are, by flipping the struggle into an opportunity to seek solutions, you’ll give voice to your core strengths. An important step, since research shows that finding ways to use strengths at work increases not only enjoyment, but your engagement and productivity levels too. Two beneficial outcomes for anyone driving their own business!
Look where money doesn’t motivate
Consider what interests and activities you pursue outside of your formal work arrangements. From time spent with family and friends, to sporting or creative outlets, your favourite place to hang on a Friday night or community organisations or committees you volunteer your time to. What drives you to make these things a priority? What about the ones that sometimes feel hard, but you go back to them anyway? Why do you persist? In the answers to these questions are the goal posts to your values. Mark them on your map!
Interests and Values Inventory
Research on meaning reveals three important contributing factors; significance, coherence and purpose. Put more simply, uncovering your meaning is about recognising what brings you a sense of value, how you make sense of your experiences and the world around you, and what goals you pursue that feel worthwhile. As you unpack significant interests and strengths that reflected values, patterns that inform a more coherent work and life story that recognise and value your strengths will emerge.
Now, read your map!
What does it all boil down to? When you gather the stories and the things that matter the most, what are the themes? Grab a pen and paper and friend to brainstorm wildly with. Uncover as many big ideas as you can that compliment rather than compete with your work. And get started trying one! Set an intentional goal that feels worthwhile and reflects the gold you’ve uncovered. Purpose projects are the doing side of things. They help us feel motivated toward a more meaningful way of moving in the world. By paying attention mindfully to the things that create more meaning, we have a greater sense of knowing where we are in the fabric of existence, as well as figuring out what big tasks we want to pursue in our lives, for ourselves and for others. So what are you waiting for? The sooner you start, the clearer you’ll be on the purpose projects you wish to prioritise!
Keen to learn more about meaning mapping? Contact The Posify Group to discuss how we can assist you, your school or your workplace in using evidence based strategies to boost your optimism, increase your productivity and wellbeing, and discover where your purpose projects might take you!