What makes work feel purposeful?

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    Laura Simms

    Many people desire a greater sense of meaning in their work. What makes some work feel purposeful, and some feel like going through the motions?

    Lori Deschene

    Great question! For me, I’ve found that work feels more purposeful when it’s aligned with my personal values and priorities. When I worked in mobile marketing, I had a lot fun on the job, since travel was a big part of it and I was frequently in new environments, but it didn’t connect with anything that mattered to me on a personal level. I don’t travel for work now, but it’s much more personally fulfilling because I’m immersed in a world where people share their feelings, lessons, and insights. Growth and authentic connection are huge priorities for me, so this type of work naturally feels more meaningful.

    Kenneth Vogt

    As the adage goes:

    Before enlightenment, carry water and chop wood.

    After enlightenment, carry water and chop wood.

    Your work doesn’t necessarily exist solely to serve your purpose but you can demonstrate your purpose in most work. Sometimes we set the bar too high for our job. It doesn’t have to be the complete embodiment of our purpose. If your work is such that you can find no means to demonstrate your purpose, find new work. But likely you can find ways big and small to align the job with who you are.

    Andrew Bee

    I believe there is a saying that goes “Love your job and you never work another day in your life.”


    I often feel like I waste a lot of my life at my job. It is a job that is somewhat enjoyable. It serves a purpose, not my life’s purpose, but the next best thing, I guess. If I look at it in a more positive light, I am very thankful I have my job, and can use it as a tool to move forward in my life. This job can help me dedicate more and more time to my true passions. Even with it’s not so enjoyable aspects, I chose this job. It feels purposeful, only because I am aware that it was my choice. I agree with the above saying, “Love your job and you will never work another day in your life.”

    Asnat Greenberg

    Laura answering your question is really difficult because every person feels differently about their job. Some don’t mind toiling away at a job they do not enjoy, while others can’t bear the thought of working at something that they don’t view as meaningful.

    I can only give you some examples of people who I’ve encountered who’ve found a true purpose in giving back to their community and doing as much as they can for others. Be it volunteering at homeless shelters, or tutoring children, they have found great joy in giving back and have dedicated their lives to doing so. They have done so at a great personal cost to themselves, but I guarantee you they don’t regret it for a second.

    Anyway, I think you have to be honest with yourself and if you feel like you’re going through the motions at work then you’re probably not at the right job.



    I am a rancher and work on the fences a lot. I have to ride to the back side every week to go thru the fences. I camp out for several nights. I take a pack mule and cook my food. Its a time to slow down. My cell does not work back there.I take a book and do some carving. I take my dogs. I like stopping for lunch, it feels like I earned it. I am always glad to get home to a hot shower and Netflix.

    Something about the rhythm. The work progress. The old tools and the presence of the dogs. My late wife would always go and we made love under the stars. I think of her a lot when I an there. I was dominate and she was submissive. I was her hero. She was my love. We never had an argument. You can’t replace that. So I live a different life now. No sex and no loving.

    I like things that work. Good saddles, strong rope, old tools, good gloves and heavy jeans. I like good food and a campfire. I like to have dogs with me. And a good horse is a blessing. I think the old west cowboys got it right. Honesty and integrity. Simplicity.

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