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Creating Successful Leaders

It’s no secret that the modern workforce is discontent. The Great Resignation has brought many issues to light including disengagement, long hours, and unfair expectations. People have also cited a lack of meaning/purpose as one of the factors that created job dissatisfaction. Especially for younger generations, it is important to find purpose in one’s work.

When you wake up in the morning, do you feel excited for work? Are you energized to begin your day?

If not, you may need to infuse a little more meaning into your work. You have more control over your personal path than you might think. Oftentimes, workplaces offer some degree of flexibility to carve out your own path and exercise purpose-driven actions.

No matter what industry you’re in, there’s usually an opportunity to integrate art, altruism, community, or whatever piques your interest into your work. It only takes a little creativity, initiative, and perseverance. Let’s explore some of the ways to do that.

NOTE: While it IS (usually) possible to take proactive steps to add purpose to your work, sometimes the job itself is fundamentally flawed or simply not right for you. In that case, consider talking to a career coach (drop me a note if you’d like).

1. Look For Existing Opportunities

Depending on your organization, meaningful opportunities may already exist. Some businesses have groups devoted to community projects, art, or forming bonds between like-minded co-workers. Affinity groups, like the ones offered at Wells Fargo corporate, are useful for making meaningful connections and inciting positive change. Do a little research and see if your workplace offers anything that aligns with your interests.

2. Integrate Interests With Daily Work

Interested in photography? Volunteer to take pictures for the monthly newsletter or company website. Love writing? Ask your boss for writing-heavy assignments or, if you’re working in a team, offer to take on the writing tasks. Want to contribute to environmental responsibility? Host team lunches that use reusable or compostable plates and cutlery.

In short, see if it’s possible to meld your interests with your everyday workload.

3. Take Initiative!

Create your own meaning by initiating groups devoted to volunteering, artistic endeavors, or other projects related to your interests. Of course, you’ll want to go through the proper channels to do this, but you might be surprised by how willing organizations can be when it comes to volunteer or enrichment programs. Chances are, other people will also be interested in your endeavor, which translates to a more tight-knit, content work community.

Some ideas you might consider:

  • Creating an artists’ club for knitting, painting, photography, or whatever you’re interested in (Instead of a weekly happy hour, host an “art session” instead!)
  • Start a “meaningful” book club that focuses on books with a strong purpose
  • Volunteering in the local community (soup kitchens, book drives, etc.)
  • Initiating fundraisers for schools, safety, health and wellness, or whatever you’d like
  • Starting a “green” group that occasionally gets together to do roadside cleanups or raise money for parks, clean water, etc.
  • Founding a wellness program that focuses on clean eating, meditation, weekly yoga, or whatever you’re passionate about

4. Look For Resources

Some organizations have funds set aside for “extracurricular” work activities. Do your research! Your company might be willing to sponsor your initiative. Don’t forget, people count as resources too. You may be surprised by others’ excitement and willingness to help.

Do you feel invigorated? Energized? Ready to dive in and figure out how to make work more meaningful for YOU? I hope so. Finding meaning in your work is vital for your sustained happiness.

If you’d like a little more guidance, I’m here to help.

MARGARET SMITH IS A CAREER COACH, AUTHOR, INSIGHTS® DISCOVERY (AND DEEPER DISCOVERY) LICENSED PRACTITIONER, AND FOUNDER OF UXL. SHE HOSTS WORKSHOPS FOR PEOPLE WHO NEED CAREER OR PERSONAL GUIDANCE. 
CHECK OUT MARGARET’S ONLINE LEADERSHIP COURSE. 

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