Not everyone will be fortunate enough to do work that has heart and meaning for them. Let’s face it, this is a “first world” problem. All over this planet many people struggle just to survive each day and that is also true for many in our country as well.
While this may be true in terms of our life’s work, there are many ways to find heart and meaning in life. Without this, I believe our lives can feel somewhat empty. Finding what has heart and meaning can take us to extraordinary places and show up in the most unusual ways. It could be a spiritual calling, helping a cause you feel deeply about, sharing yourself fully as a parent, spouse or friend or just taking time to be in nature. I had a client who insisted that no matter how crazy and intense his day was, he would go to the beach and swim in the ocean. He said it washed away all the troubles of the day and helped him connect to his true creativity and authentic self.
If you are considering leaving your current career or organization because you no longer can work without a deep sense of purpose, heart and meaning, I say go for it! If you believe that staying in your current position even though it may not be your hearts desire, I say go for that too. There is no “right” way to do this. Only you know what is right for you. Either way, making sure you build into your life those things that truly bring you a sense of purpose, expand your heart, and uniquely define meaning for you are essential for each of us.
The Cultural Imperative
We are most certainly a culture that thrives on success as defined by our career and income. LinkedIn is a perfect example of an entire network of people who are working hard to become successful in their field ( I include myself as one of “those people”). I read posts on just about every subject related to success, strategic planning, technology, leadership, managing people, I even read an article on Lean Sigma Six for goodness sake! If you want to find out about business all one needs to do is scour the thousands of posts, updates and commentaries. But, I have to ask myself “Where is the Heart and Meaning?” Someday, when I look back at my life I wonder what I will see? Will I be reminiscing about the projects I worked on or luxuriously thinking about my days as a Flamenco Dancer? I kind of hope it’s the latter.
Time to Wake Up!
I happen to be one of the lucky ones who is doing work that has heart and meaning for me. Everyday I get the honor and joy of helping others. I won’t lie to you, I treasure my work but I also know that it lives because there are other things in my life that have nothing to do with work. There was a time when this what not the case. I was so completely immersed in work, in being a “success” that I sacrificed relationships, hobbies, family and my health because I believed I must succeed. But to what end? My heart ached and felt restless all the time. I thought I just needed to work harder. I believed that if I took my foot off the gas the whole damn thing would come crashing down. Surprise! It didn’t. In fact the more I embraced that which had heart and meaning for me the more my business grew….and sometimes it slid backwards. Honestly, it didn’t matter. I’ve been at this long enough to know how cyclical business is. While I still have moments of worry, as any entrepreneur may have, I know that waking up from the illusion of success as being the be-all and end-all of a happy life was one that I needed to release.
Calling All Devotee’s of Fun!
It is a New Year and while I just posted an article about making 2016 “The Year of Taking a Leap”, I would like to add that we all don’t forget about having fun, laughing until our sides ache, hug a tree, watch a sunset, dance, sing, paint, skateboard, go surfing and do whatever brings you joy and awakens your heart. Are you waiting until retirement to have time for those things that are meaningful? If so, I suggest you reassess that strategy. Tomorrow is a maybe but the present is a sure bet.
Amy Green, CEC, PCC- Amy has been helping clients improve the quality of their professional and personal interactions for over 18 years. Amy brings an array of diverse experiences to her practice and a compassionate understanding of the challenges currently facing our changing world. Amy brings to her coaching an ability to delve deeply beneath the surface to explore and identify meaning, challenge and life purpose for developing leaders.