4 Steps to Get Clear on the Purpose of Work and the Meaning of Your Work

Tami Simon, the longtime head of Sounds True multimedia publishing company, beautifully said: “I have never wanted to work in order to accumulate money and retire… so that I could do something else more enjoyable and more meaningful with my time.” Yet a lot of leaders do just that. They work in order to not work.

This isn’t about work/life balance, it’s deeper than that. It’s about how you view the purpose of work overall, and how the work you are choosing to do brings meaning into your life (or not!). This ties to the third Amare Way principle: Get on purpose.

Imagine creating a situation that will let you meaningfully work and do many other things you enjoy, for a long time. Consider:

4 Amare Steps to Get Crystal Clear About Why You Work

  1. WORK: Go for a wonder walk. Get more clear about “work” on a short walk; simply wonder what work is about and what purpose it serves. Notice whatever thoughts come in, without judging them. Notice too what answers feel calm and true.

  2. COMPANY: Find your organization’s purpose. Answer management guru Peter Drucker’s famous “first question”: What business are you in? Do this with your leadership team too. If the answer is about what you make or sell, go back to the drawing board. 

  3. YOU: See what’s there. Picture yourself at work. Find in it things you care deeply about, important problems you solve, acts of service you provide. Imagine holding that more spiritual perspective as you go through the realities of your challenging day. Now give it a go!

  4. MORE YOU: Go a little deeper.  Clarify why you work with the “so that” technique, as in “I do this work so that________ so that _________ so that__________, etc. Somewhere in that benefits chain is your higher purpose.  

When you are really clear about what work is about, why you work, and what value you give and get, it’s much easier to stay motivated, inspire others, and lead with love.

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.

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