10 Ways To Find More Meaning In Your Job

The name of the game these days is meaningful life work, and almost everybody is getting on board. We grew up hearing that we should follow our passions and that anything is possible, and while those messages are invariably true, they come with a lot of Fine Print Disclaimers (such as that "passion" has to be met with "purpose" and really, really hard work, and so on).

The point is that we're taught more how to strive for delusional greatness than we are how to love the moment we're in, and all the simplicity it brings. Truly happy people are not just the ones who have achieved extraordinary feats, they're the ones who are able to bring an extraordinary amount of love and gratitude into whatever it is they do. They don't wait for something else to make them happy, they learn to be happy where they are, and that doing so doesn't mean they have to give up on doing more.

You don't have to be doing Your Life's Purpose to be doing meaningful work. At the end of the day, your "purpose" isn't some cosmic transcription you must decode to fully realize the effects of... it's just something you decide. You can just as easily decide what what you're doing is what's "meant to be" for right now... and that what you learn from that is maybe more important than the discomfort you feel in the meantime. Here, a few things you should know about finding more meaning at work... even when you don't do something you "always dreamed of."

Accept That Not Everything Will Feel Meaningful — And It's Not Supposed To

If you're waiting for every moment of the day to feel meaningful, you're setting yourself up to fail. Learn to be comfortable with a little monotony, a little boredom, a little resistance, a little apathy. These things are normal and usually only become issues when we try to resist them even more rather than just accepting them as a natural part of life.

Focus On What You Do For Others, Not What It "Means" About You

Rather than what your job says about who you are, focus on what your job lets you do for others. If you focus on what you give, rather than what you get, you'll immediately feel like you're doing more than just serving your ego (you are).

Be Grateful To Even Have A Job, Period

Be grateful that you have income, that you can pay the bills, that you're employed, that you're qualified, that you have somewhere to go each day. A lot of people would kill for a job they hate. That's the reality.

See What You're Contributing To The Bigger Picture

Rather than focusing on how mundane your tasks feel, focus on what they create, why they are necessary, what they do for you, or your company, or someone else's business at large. The truth is that most day-to-day tasks feel mundane, even if, in the bigger picture they're necessary and valuable.

Give Love Wherever Possible

Connect with your cube-mate. Really engage with each client. Put your heart into what you're doing. The problem usually isn't what you're doing, but how you're doing it.

Do Everything With Intent And Mindfulness — Even The Smallest Tasks

Be mindful and very present for everything you do. A lot of your dissatisfaction probably comes from letting yourself be distracted by thoughts rather than just doing what you have to do. (Note: the ability to be distracted is just a lack of focus. Don't worry about staving off distractions, but rather, about focusing on something more.)

Adopt An Innovator Mindset

Figure out how it can be better, or how it could be done differently. Don't be afraid to present alternative ideas, concepts, plans to your boss, or to scrap and re-create your ideas again and again and again. Don't be afraid to innovate your life where possible. Realize that the way things are is not the way they must be, and there's almost always something you can do about it.

Realize That Your Current Situation Is Not The Final Destination

Every step is a stone, and you're not done until you, you know, die. That's crass but what I'm really trying to say is that this is not the situation for the rest of your life. You won't have to be here forever. You could apply to a new job this afternoon if you really wanted. You never know. Stop extrapolating the moment and thinking that what's right in front of you is all that there is.

Let Go Of Work When You Walk Out The Door (Or Close The Computer) And Find Meaning In Something Else

The more meaning you find in other parts of your life, the less you'll feel the need to derive from work. Moreover, if the only meaning in your life is found in your work, you'll be that much more desperate to maximize it as much as possible.

Focus On The Fact That You Won't Be Able To Do It Forever

If you realize that things are transitory and nothing is forever and you'll one day look back on your time there and be sad that you didn't enjoy it more, all of a sudden, things take on a new perspective.

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