It seems that just about whenever polls are taken on the subject, a shocking number of people – by some accounts the majority – are actively dissatisfied with what they do for a living. And this is such a sad and disheartening statistic!
Generally speaking, when people set themselves goals for the course they want their professional lives to take, they will emphasise things like earning potential and status.
Perhaps not often enough, however, do people emphasise the importance of doing work that they find meaningful, and pursuing avenues for making their current day jobs more meaningful as well.
Ultimately, while things like earning a larger salary are great, it’s the meaning you find in your work that will have some of the greatest overall impact with regards to your sense of well-being and satisfaction.
Here are a handful of tips for finding meaning in your professional life…
Start Where You Are, and Pivot
First things first, if you feel as though your current job, or professional situation, isn’t meaningful – then it’s probably a good idea to start looking for ways to begin pivoting it in a more meaningful direction.
The thing is, it’s often a lot easier said than done to just drop everything, retrain, and completely reposition your professional life overnight.
Instead, a much more realistic path for most people will be to take a deep breath, and look for opportunities where you currently are, to subtly pivot your career in a more uplifting and interesting direction.
That might involve signing up for certain on-the-job training courses, seeing about being moved around internally within your company, or applying for new positions that are closely related to the one you currently hold, but which move things subtly in a better direction.
Dare to Follow Your Calling
These days, it’s perhaps easier than ever before to find information about how to follow your calling – more or less regardless of what that calling actually is.
You can, for example, learn more about online learning options for occupational therapy within a few short clicks, or can find out how eligible you are to begin training as a tree surgeon. The possibilities are endless.
Often, people don’t dare to follow their inner callings, partly because they have been trained to think that doing so is “impractical.”
Ultimately, however, there are so many benefits that are likely to come along with following your calling and actively pursuing something that you find deeply meaningful in life, that the “practicality” of the situation often shouldn’t be put front and centre as the make or break factor.
Maybe your first effort at pursuing a given dream of yours won’t be a runaway success. But you’ll gain a lot from the attempt, and will develop plenty of understanding and insight that you can then use to reorient yourself and pursue another path towards your meaningful destination of choice.
After all, it’s better to try that to not try at all! Daring to follow your true calling is one of the best ways on how to find meaning in your professional life.
Strive to be Present and In The Moment While Working
As a general rule of thumb, just about nothing is likely to come off as very “meaningful” if you are totally distracted from the moment, and are caught up in whatever else is going on in your mind – whether that’s your dwellings on the past, or concerns, plans, and projections for the future.
There’s a good chance that you’ll be able to find far more meaning in your current job than you would have ever expected, if you are able to hone your ability to be present in the moment while working.
Not only can being present in this way make your tasks and projects significantly more engaging and relevant to you, but it can also help to reduce a lot of the stress and uncertainty that can undermine your sense of meaning.
Look for Ways to Get into “Flow States” At Work
In psychology, the term “Flow State” is used to describe experiences where we are so engaged in the task at hand that everything else – including our own conscious thoughts – seem to fade away, leaving us blissfully “switched on.”
Flow states involve engagement, working at the threshold of your abilities, and various other factors.
Importantly, it seems to be that the more often you get into flow states, the more meaningful you will find your work, the healthier and happier you will be, and the more productive you will likely be, too.
In your professional life, look for ways to get into flow states more often.
I hope these tips on how to find meaning in your professional life have been enlightening and helped you in some way!