Do you find purpose in your work?
Do you feel like your work is significant? If so then you know first-hand how rewarding life can be. It may be hard work. It may drive you crazy some days. You may be worn out at the end of a day. But you carry a sense of purpose.
I often ask myself, “Why does my work matter?” Will investing my time in this way leave an impact or am I just filling my time? Will this work matter in a month, a year, long after I’m gone?
The people who inspire me most are the ones who’ve long been dead, but I still learn from or admire their work. I want my work to leave a lasting impact, not just fill up time and space.
When traveling to Rome this past summer, the centuries-old relics and ancient remains impacted me. The architecture standing tall after two thousand years. The paintings and sculptures lasting years of ogling eyes. You can see in them the work ethic of its artist and architect. The materials used speak of its care and value to the worker.
I wonder, do we spend more time just trying to make it another day, or do we dare think about how we can make tomorrow better for those coming behind us?
We often groan when we think of work. If that’s you, maybe you should re-evaluate why you are doing it. You may need a perspective shift on your current work, or a whole new kind of work altogether.
3 Ways to Find Fulfillment in Work
- Focus on financial freedom, not financial gain- We all need money for survival, we don’t need ALL the money to survive. There will always be a newer model car and nicer house, but one day you will wake up in your nice house and recognize it’s just a house, it’s not going to last. Financial freedom gets us out from under debt allowing us to invest more time in what matters. That new car isn’t going to last fifty years, but hopefully your relationship with your kids and grandkids will.
- Focus on others, not yourself- Self-serving work doesn’t fulfill our purpose. Work that serves people rather than just making a profit is meaningful. While human nature drifts towards self-centeredness, at the end of the day, it doesn’t feel good to work for yourself. If your work focuses on you looking good and people noticing you, re-think your work and why you are doing it.
- Focus on long-term, not short-term- Michaelangelo didn’t paint the Sistine Chapel on day one or day one hundred. Mastery cannot be short-circuited. It just can’t. That Olympian didn’t become an athlete after his first track race. That musician didn’t pick up the guitar and play like Chris Martin after a semester of lessons. Connect the short-term to the long-term and stick with it. If you quit every six months because you haven’t found success, you may never find it. You will spend your life chasing an illusion of success. Work isn’t necessarily meant to be cake-walk. It’s hard. It’s exhausting. But when it is work that matters, it’s fulfilling. After all, have you seen the Sistine Chapel?
God created you for a purpose, not just to take up space. He gave you gifts and talents to do work that matters and that lasts. Don’t settle for work that doesn’t leave an impact.
Question: Does your work give you purpose? How have you connected your day-to-day work to things that will last beyond you?