Guidance for Defining Meaningful Work

  1. You don’t need to save the world, but you do need to make a difference.
    Great work doesn’t require that you change the planet, but it does make an important contribution.
  2. It’s not important for people to applaud you for your work. Work that feels worthwhile to you is important.
  3. Great work is needed and often not wanted. Many firms settle for good work. Great work can upset the status quo and threaten people.
  4. Great work, is not about doing what you don’t enjoy, well. Many people can do inferior work in a superior fashion. Think of how many worthless PowerPoint presentation you’ve endured. They look impressive but they waste your time. In contrast great work will stretch and inspire you.
  5. The first step is to know the difference between results-oriented goals and activity-oriented goals, as described by Shane Murphy, a sports psychologist who has worked with many American Olympic athletes. Results-oriented goals appear to be sensible and specific but they often set us up for failure because they occur too far down the line. They’re a destination whereas we should focus on the journey. Action-oriented goals on the other hand should always be stated in positive terms – rewards not denials. Action oriented goals are specific manageable steps that lead to the desired results. Successful people often owe their success to a combination of factors, some skill, a balanced life and a bit of luck, but most importantly, they did what they truly loved to do and knew in their bones that they were good at it.
  6. “The most successful and happy people are those in tune with the things that excite them. They tend to have goals or areas of interest that they pursue with vigour. Identifying the activities, you want to spend your time on, and who you want to spend time with, is the first step. The next step is to work those areas into your busy ongoing life and make them priorities”. Steven J Stein and Howard E Brook
  7. “Happiness combines self-satisfaction, general contentment and the ability to enjoy life. Happy people often feel good and at ease in both work and leisure; they are able to “let their hair down” and enjoy the opportunities for having fun. Happiness is associated with a general feeling of cheerfulness and enthusiasm. It is a by-product and or barometric indicator of your overall degree of emotional intelligence and emotional functioning. A person who demonstrates a low degree of this component may possess symptoms of depression, such as a tendency to worry, uncertainty about the future, social withdrawal, lack of drive, depressive thoughts, feelings of guilt, dissatisfaction with life and in extreme cases, suicidal thoughts and behaviour” Steven J Stein and Howard E Brook
  8. “Happy people are able to take pleasure in what they have done and can do, rather than being driven to think they should or must do more. Happier people live longer, while miserable people die sooner. That in itself may be enough to spur us to take the first steps toward learning new skills, reaching out to others and looking for happiness within ourselves and in what we do” Steven J Stein and Howard E Brook