I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the role the work plays in our fulfillment as human beings. What are we pursuing in life? What are we pursuing in work? Where are those objectives are aligned or out of sync? And further, what do we do with all that?
Since I’m quite happy in both work and life these days, I’m lucky to approach this topic from a positive perspective. I sat back to think: How does work contribute to my fulfillment?
There are two ways that work helps me follow my broader purpose in life:
First, my work is aligned with my mission and sense of purpose. I believe that my work – in and of itself – allows me to accomplish part of what I would like to do in my short human life. Because of this, I deeply care that it’s successful. I see myself in the process and the outcomes. Further, I learn things that matter to me, and I improve skills that are important to me. Work itself is meaningful and purposeful. That fundamental passion for my work contributes strongly to my sense of fulfillment.
Second, not only am I fulfilled by work, but work leaves room for me to find fulfillment in other ways. True, I work hard. Sometimes I devote entire days to work and work alone, starting conference calls early and finishing slides late. But I find that over the long run, there’s time and space for all parts of me to be fulfilled. In addition to work, there’s room for family, friends, community, exercise, hobbies, life administration, fun, travel, sleep, recovery, and beingness. Perhaps every day does not have every element, but the balance works out over a not-insignificant period of time. The impact is that not only is work fulfilling when I’m doing it, but work allows me to find fulfillment outside of the office as well. This ability to lead a full life is the second connection between my work and my fulfillment.
And so I leave you with another nerdy framework to ponder all this. Does work contribute to your fulfillment? Where do you find yourself in the view below?