By Tracy Brower – Forbes
You’ve been working on finding your purpose at work by identifying your priorities, crafting your tasks and more. But what about your own perceptions? When it comes to finding fulfillment at work, the way in which you think about your job is key.
As the saying goes, “Change your thinking, change your life.” Here’s how to get started.
The most important thing to remember is that you can create your own purpose and meaning at work. Don’t fall into the trap of believing that you must find the right role to be fulfilled, or that it’s the responsibility of your boss or your company to create purpose for you. All work has dignity, no matter what you do for a living. Your work matters, and you can foster your purpose and create meaning for yourself.
Focus On Three Things
People often attribute their sense of purpose to three elements: feeling connected to something bigger than themselves, knowing their work matters and, perhaps most importantly, understanding how their work affects other people—not just the organization’s bottom line.
So how do you achieve these three elements of purpose? Make a mental logic train from your work to the things that matter most. If you process applications in a college recruitment office, know that your work matters to the prospective students whose futures you are shaping. If you welcome guests at the neighborhood fitness facility, know that you’re helping people feel more positively about their health. You get the idea—connect what you do, no matter what it is, to the bigger picture.
Remember Your Unique Talents
As you think about how you’re contributing to the world, consider how your talents may be making a difference, too. Maybe you have a sense of humor that brightens others’ days, or perhaps your unparalleled level of organization provides structure so that tasks can be done effectively. Remembering the unique value you bring to the table is a big part of feeling fulfilled and purposeful at work.
Think Beyond Your Work
As you shape the way in which you perceive your work, it’s important to keep in mind that you don’t need to derive a sense of purpose from your job. You can also find fulfillment through your family, relationships with friends and contributions to the community. In fact, having a sense of purpose outside of your nine-to-five can actually help you discover more meaning in your work. Think about the non-work contributions you make through activities like coaching little league or building houses for low-income families on the weekends. When you think about purpose in a more holistic way—through the lens of family, friends, community and work—your job is more likely to feel satisfying because you’re not relying on that and that alone to find fulfillment.
A change in perception ultimately requires self-awareness. Being aware of the power you have to shape your purpose, your connection to the bigger picture and your positive impact on others inside and outside the office can help you feel more fulfilled. Surely the saying is true: When you change your thinking, you do change your life, and your purpose at work is a great place to start.