Our lives are marked by continuous movement and change. Yet for many of us our jobs and careers do not necessarily move in tandem or in sequence with this movement or with these changes.
Movement, in relation to work, refers to our evolving skills and capacities, our varied experiences of work, the perspectives we develop along the way, the level of our engagement and commitment to what we are doing, and the meaning(s) we ascribe to work at different stages of our lives. As a career counselor I work with movement and change. I work with the life-long relationship we have with work and help my clients develop the capacity to personally re-define meaningful, engaged and fulfilling work.
A life-long relationship with work - we want to feel meaningfully engaged
I frequently hear the following when clients first contact me: “I am at a crossroads”, “I want to do something I am passionate about”, “I want more meaningful and fulfilling work”; “I want to find my life’s purpose”, “I want to reach my potential”, “I want my potential to be recognized”, “I want work that better reflects my skills, strengths and personality”, “I want work that values what I have to offer”, “I want work that is inspiring”, “I want to contribute to the world in some way”, “I want a renewed direction”.
These statements describe the desire (all those “wants”) to experience the work we do, the work we choose, as fulfilling. But these are also statements of purpose and commitment to ourselves, to the movement of our lives and the relationship we have with work. These are statements of personal striving and motivation. We want the opportunity to expand our unique skills and expertise; this is what makes our lives feel vibrant and purposeful. We also want to feel engaged with the world around us, we want to be part of something, to contribute and offer our talents; this gives us feelings of deeper connection and meaning.These are statements about movement and change, about how we can re-define, actively re-create and fully re-engage in work.
What keeps us excited about what we are doing and fuels our motivation? What are some of the ingredients of fulfilling work?
- We feel connected to, engaged with, and interested in the specific work we are doing.
- We are fully present (practicing awareness) in our daily work lives and the tasks at hand
- We have goals - we are committed to something in the future.
- We experience a sense of purpose, we feel we are part of something.
- We value what we do and what we do is congruent with our values.
- Our unique skills, talents, experiences, personality, capabilities, education, and accumulated expertise are fully active - we are acknowledged and valued for our unique assets and how we do our work.
- We have opportunities to grow and to discover new potentials within ourselves.
- We experience our lives as interconnected – we relate and are dedicated to others and to the world around us – we feel connected to our colleagues, we enjoy healthy interpersonal relationships.
- We feel that we are making a contribution - this deepens our engagement in the work we do and in our lives.
- We are learning, developing and expanding our expertise – we experience movement and meaning.
How do you define meaningful, fulfilling and engaged work at this moment in your life? How has this definition, your engagement with work, and your expertise changed over time?
Britt-Mari Sykes PhD is a Career Counselor/Coach, Certified Career Strategist and Certified Work/Life Strategist with an extensive background in existential psychology and teaching. She helps clients create the building blocks for meaningful and resilient career paths. For more information or to schedule a consultation call please contact her at email@example.com