Do what matters to you

Most of us need a job; that much is true. But we would all be better off taking the time to specify what we really want instead of suffering in a role that is more mentally and emotionally draining than worth its yield in monetary income.

The work that matters most is the work that helps you to create what you ultimately want to create and become who you want to become. It is not a one-off event, but a process, and it will take on different forms at different times. Research shows that employees who thrive are those who are clear on what matters most to them. They incorporate these values into the way they plan their career, what they commit to and what they say ‘no’ to. Their values and their vision serve as a guiding compass, even if in the short run.

Doing what matters most can be risky. It carries with it a distinct potential for failure, for conflict, for discomfort – exactly the features most of us seek to avoid in our natural search for comfort and safety. We tend to develop habits and patterns that keep us safe, but stifle growth and change. Stepping out of the comfort zone to reflect on what truly matters to you can be risky, but with it comes the potential for growth and impact – for self and others. A fulfilling life is infused with doing meaningful, joyful things that light the fire inside you, and simultaneously add value to the life of others.

Below are a few questions for you to reflect on when considering meaning and purpose:

  • If you did not have to work for money, would you still want to be doing your work, even partly?
  • If the answer is no, then what work would you like to do if money was not an issue?
  • How clear are you on your values, goals and passions? And how much time do you take to actively reflect on these from time to time?
  • To what extent does your job reflect these values, goals and passions?
  • How much benefit does your work bring to you and to others?
  • Can you define what success or happiness looks like to you?