My father, Ed, passed away recently. In addition to all the events and services that surrounded his death, I’ve had the opportunity to reflect on his life and the impact he made on his little corner of the world.
I think very few people, at the end of their lives, focus on money, their salary, their title, or the power and fame they’ve achieved.
My dad certainly didn’t.
He viewed success through his relationships and the deep connections he made with friends, family, God, and fellow church members. Material success can look hollow and cheap compared to the richness of the lives Dad touched and influenced.
Many of us are busy navigating our current position or thinking about pursuing something new. Some of our jobs are consuming a large part of our energy and our lives without meaningful impact.
It’s easy to lose sight of our life’s purpose. We end up chasing bigger positions and bigger salaries without much thought as to why we’re doing that.
Instead, I challenge you to reflect on how you can live a life of meaning and purpose.
How do you define success?
Are you being fueled by your work, or drained? Does your current job offer you meaning, engagement, challenge, and positive relationships? Do you feel valued for your skills and talents? Reflect on how you define success and adjust your thinking to create a life that’s full of meaning and purpose.
In his book, the HBR Guide to Crafting Your Purpose, John Coleman proposes that a flourishing life is full of purpose — including love, hobbies, beauty, good work, religious or philosophical beliefs, and service to others.
The best time to conduct a reflection is often during a life transition, like graduation, pursuing a new job, or a big life change like marriage, kids, divorce, or retirement.
Questions to ask yourself
When you reflect about what success and meaning means to you, ask yourself these five questions:
- What is the core purpose of my work? In what ways does my work make the world better?
- What do I do that helps others accomplish more?
- Who am I serving at work, and outside it? What more can I do to serve others?
- What are the important relationships in my life, and how can I deepen and enrich them?
- How can I become better each day? How can I continue to pursue meaning in my personal or professional life?
You don’t have to wait until a crisis hits to reflect on the passion, purpose, and meaning of your work.
You can choose to commit yourself to specific relationships of great importance to you, or you can deepen your service to others.
You might find that your work is not truly serving you and that it’s time to look elsewhere for a meaningful position that will.
Whatever that reflection and change looks like, it’s worth taking time to evaluate where you are today and what makes your life joyful and fulfilled.
This is what I help my clients do: find a vantage point to see the value and the positive impact of their work, especially when they’ve become disconnected from their original passion.
Exploring your meaning and purpose can help you boost your overall well-being. It often becomes the inspiration for greater personal and professional growth.
Reach out to me if you’d like to learn more.