August 1, 2012

Look for the Higher Meaning of Your Work

One of my favourite magazines is Harvard Business Review. It provides a refreshingly human look at new world of work. In a recent issue, Xerox PARC guru John Seely Brown said something that really made me think: “The job of leadership today is not just to make money, it’s to make meaning.”

In the old days, most of us were content to have a job that simple paid the bills. But now, we crave so much more in our work. We want fulfillment, creative challenge, growth, joy and sense that we are living for something more than ourselves. In a word, we seek meaning. One of the best ways to find the higher meaning in the work you do is to use the technique of creative questioning to become aware of the impact your work has on the world around you. Ask yourself questions like, who ultimately benefits from the products and services my company offers? Or what difference do my daily efforts make? Once you do so, you will start noticing the connection between the work you do and the lives you touch.

For example, if you are a teacher, stop focusing on all the tremendous changes in your profession, and remember that every day you enter that classroom, you have the privilege to shape a young mind. There are children and families that count on you. If you are a financial adviser, remain centered on the fact that your services help people retire early build the homes they have always wanted and fulfil their dreams. If you are an insurance professional, remember that you help people bring security to their lives and serve them in times of need. And if you are a retail clerk, think about how your work serves people and how the products you offer them add joy to their lives.

By concentrating on the value your work adds and the contribution you make, you will see quantum improvements in your satisfaction and motivation levels. Few things energize the human spirit more than the desire to make a difference in the lives of others. Mahatma Gandhi knew this. Nelson Mandela knew this. And Mother Teresa knew this. The simple shift of mind I am encouraging you to make can bring a whole new sense of enjoyment into your life.

Source: Who Will Cry When You Die? By Robin Sharma
Photo: Google

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