At some point, you have to decide whether meaningful work is a priority for you.
Whether consciously or through a non-decision, decision, you will pick a path. When I ran my first Reclaim Your Dreams program, I was focused on vocational *dreams* (I thought those were the dreams everyone desired to claim); I learned quickly from some participants that work is not a priority goal for everyone. For some, a job they like, fun leisure vacations, some local volunteer work, their children/family and a community of friends they socialize with, make for the life they desire.
If that’s you, then you don’t have to read any further.
However, for people…for women like me, not getting serious about vocational work will lead to heartbreaking regret down the line — listed among the top five regrets at end of life.
…So it’s a critical question to ask yourself. When looking back on my life is impactful work important to me? Will I regret not having a vocational legacy?
(Inside voice…screaming, please do not let this go because your life is too important to procrastinate, avoid, delay this discussion with yourself.)
Meaningful work can come in many forms. You can create meaning in your current work, use your job as a method for funding your vocation, or start the process of creating work that you believe will have an impact that you can be proud of. This doesn’t mean quitting your day job immediately, foregoing financial concerns (don’t do this) or thinking your way into a singular life purpose.
It does mean intentionally considering your career path options, choosing one that you will look back and feel proud and satisfied with, and creating a plan of action to set you on the path.
I had a career for many years in the start-up software industry where I liked the lucrative and fast-paced work (though the politics were soul crushing) and did well financially. But I didn’t find the work meaningful. Although I could have done a better job at finding meaning in the day-to-day, it would have always been a compromise choice, as I had a deep sense of calling to make a difference in people’s lives.
Eventually, I started my own business in the same industry, which was freeing, satisfying, financially rewarding, and exponentially improved my quality of life.
However, it wasn’t until I combined my love for entrepreneurship and writing with my deep-down desire for social impact that I began to feel that my work was soulful and meaningful.
What I see over and over is that it’s not complicated to figure out what meaningful work will look like for you, but it does take some intentional time devoted to exploration and conscious decision-making.
If you are satisfied with your work (or don’t see it as a priority), you can ignore all this, but if you feel called internally to something more vocationally, then join your fellow sojourners here.
DO NOT LET THIS GO…instead learn from those who did and take the time now to consider what meaning looks like to you.