The Beginner’s Guide to Meaningful Work: Step 1
Imagine setting out to do work that is fulfilling and also makes an impact in the world.
Imagine waking up every morning excited for what the day will bring.
Imagine getting out of bed and preparing for your day with complete freedom.
It’s possible. I’m living it every single day.
Over the years, I’ve received hundreds (maybe thousands) of emails from readers. Some of them are short and conversational, while others are long and a beautiful representation of their future life. (I love receiving these emails, so thank you all for reaching out.)
From all the emails I receive, there is one common desire I see:
The desire to do meaningful work.
But what does “meaning” mean to you?
How are we supposed to do work that is meaningful if we are not sure what that word actually means? Defining the word meaning is the first step.
Rest easy, though — you don’t have to decide just yet.
My definition of meaning has changed significantly from one month to the next. That’s okay. It’s all a part of this beautiful ride.
Over the past year of my struggle in entrepreneurship, I have defined more and more closely what exactly my version of meaning truly entails. It got me through some of the toughest decisions I have ever had to make, including:
- Deciding my business should only have one employee: me.
- Focusing on flexibility and low overhead.
- Putting my freedom first, instead of taking on more clients.
- Scheduling in time for my must-have’s, like exercise and coffee dates with peers.
I have never regretted a thing.
Creating a life full of fulfilling and meaningful work sounds mind-boggling, but it doesn’t have to be.
This may not be rocket science, but it has worked for me.
Here’s my approach:
Step 1: What does meaning feel like?
A great guide for figuring out what you are passionate about is asking yourself what breaks your heart.
Another way is by asking about feelings.
When you think of creating work that is meaningful, what does that feel like? How about the people you are creating for?
In my life, I want to feel:
Helpful. That is why I focus on writing articles for you. The more feedback I get from readers, the more I know I am on the right path.
Free. That is why I evaluate how any new projects will affect my life before I say yes or no. Lately, that means saying no a lot more.
Energetic. By waking up early and taking care of my sleep patterns, I can bounce off the walls like you have no idea. By showing other people around me that this is possible, I encourage my peers to live a similar life (in a way that works for them).
Ready. Learning never stops. I experiment constantly by trying new things, like coding my own website. Showcasing my experiences and sharing what went right and what went wrong can help other people feel more ready for their own lives.
Put all of these emotions all together and I feel pretty damn meaningful. And these are the emotions that guide my day-to-day actions.
Meaning feels freaking awesome.
If you truly want to create meaningful work, ask yourself this:
How do you want to feel?
Jot it down on a piece of paper, in Notes or in your Evernote. Whatever works for you. Keep it safe — we’ll be referring back to it on Thursday.
Next Up: Step 2
The next step to creating a lifestyle of meaningful work is analyzing who exactly you want to creating meaning for. I’ll cover that in my next post, so watch out for that on Thursday.
We all want to do meaningful work. Let’s figure out how to do that — together.
BONUS: I’m preparing a community for all you seeking to live a perpetual vacation full of amazing work and incredible experience. It’s called The Quest of Awesome. Watch out for that on the last post in this series of meaningful work — next Monday.
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