How do you find meaning in the work you presently do?
Finding meaning in our lives is a basic human need. Meaning is a powerful form of self-care and a primary determinant of health.
The other day I was listening to a story from Rachel Naomi Remen M.D, about a study into our experience of work and it's impact on work burnout.
Researcher, Tate Shanafelt, at the Mayo clinic recently completed a study on work-life balance, he interviewed almost 3000 oncologists about their experience of work. Through his interviews he discovered that we all experience our work in 3 different ways:
We experience work as:
1. A Job: the motivation here is financial reward. We're working for money which we use to fund the parts of our lives that have meaning to us which are not our work; something outside of our work. We work only to make the money so we can do meaningful things elsewhere.
2. A Career: here the focus is on recognition, on personal reputation and personal advancement in the field. The primary motivation of a career is to be a success, get ahead of the competition, accumulate power – basically to rise to the top of your field, to become a name.
3. A Calling: those people who experienced their work as a calling, all spoke about the deep meaning that their work had for them. That they saw their work as an opportunity to express core values that had a deep personal meaning and importance to them. These people felt they were using their natural gifts, they felt that in some way they were born to do this work. That the work was an expression of who they were, and for them their work was a joy. The primary motivation for work as a calling is to make a difference in the lives of other people, to make this a better world. All these people said the same thing about their work, no matter how difficult it was, they felt grateful for the opportunity to do this work, to make a difference, to make it a better world and they felt lucky to be able to do their work.
Another significant finding that Tate discovered was that all of us experience our work in all three ways, everyday. There are parts of our work that are a job, parts that are a career, and parts that we experience as a calling.
Those people who experience their work 43% of the time as a calling, had a much lower rate of burnout. So finding meaning in your work is intimately connected with resilience.
Resilience is the ability to face difficult situations and rise above them with ease.
Whether your job is a calling, career or job, it's not about the content of your work at all, any work can be experienced as a job, the very same work can be experienced as a career, the very same work can be experienced as a calling.
This gives everyone the power to transform their lives.
What parts of your work feels like:
I’m a Naturopath, Transformational Coach, Mind-body Medicine Specialist & Speaker, and I love supporting modern women who are overworked, busy & burnt out.
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