I have had it wrong all of these years.
Desperately trying to find meaning, purpose and fulfillment in one job; one career. I was “supposed” to find it all in one place, wasn’t I? “They” said I should. “They” said that you stick with a career until you retire. “They” said I shouldn’t complain, I was employed. “They” said you can’t quite your day job to follow your dream.
And the problem was, I listened too close to “they” and not enough to my inner voice. Over the years, creativity stifled as I longed to find meaning, purpose and heartfelt in that single, solitary 9-5 career. And after peeking around corner after corner, looking in dusty closets and under rugs, in binders and notebooks, the pit in my stomach ached, it growled and my heart began to harden. I didn’t think I was ever going to find it. Now don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t in a career that that I didn’t enjoy, but something was missing and I couldn’t find…anywhere…
Then one day the answer I had been looking for appeared. Meaning, Purpose and Heartfelt were sitting right in front of me, in the passenger seat just waiting to be seen. And I capitalize them on purpose as they are nouns; maybe not a person or a place, but they are definitely a thing.
I can’t seem to share enough how life-changing the book “The Gifts of Imperfection” has been. It has been no easy task reading though this book, so difficult that I can get through 4-6 pages at a time and I need to stop. There is too much reflection that needs to occur. I have been reading this book for 3 months now and for heavens sake, the book only has 130 pages. But as I read, I am also participating in Brene Brown’s e-class, and each week, we digest 1 single chapter and concept at a time. This past week is where the Slash/Career revelation occurred.
One of our thought activities was to identify the three words that best summed up meaningful work. For me, they came naturally and were my passenger seat drivers; Meaning, Purpose and Heartfelt. These words came so quickly to me that it was almost a shoc. But getting it down on paper felt SO GOOD! Our other exercise was identify who we are and what we don in an honest way. How do we define ourselves in the context of the work we do. Author Marci Alboher interviewed hundreds of people who had created this meaning I had been looking for and what she found was:
People have created meaningful work by refusing to be defined by a single career.
My passengers Meaning, Purpose and Heartfelt gently encouraged me to pull the car over. There was not a destination I was driving towards, but a journey I should be enjoying. Meaning, Purpose and Heartfelt looked at me as I breathed a sigh of relief. I was not defined by a single career, I brought my friends Meaning, Purpose and Fulfillment into my life by being a Slash/Career woman and didn’t even realize it until just then.
So who am I? I am and in no particular order…Manager/Wife & Mother/Blogger/Health Coach/Yogi/Future Author
And know for your homework. Get out a piece of paper and write down those three words that define your meaningful work. Then, instead of defining yourself as a single career person, write down all of those amazing opportunities, hobbies, extra-curricular activities that define you and give meaning to your life! What is your Slash/Career?