The current global crisis has put a spotlight on medical/healthcare professionals and first responders in recent months. Rightly so.
Every day, they risk their health and wellbeing while sacrificing their own self-care and work-life balance. But these professions have always been in the public eye and appreciated for their efforts.
Now, as so many of us are trying to find meaning in our work, we are finally recognizing that they aren’t the only professions making a difference in the lives of others.
Sharing the Spotlight
Professions that have often been taken for granted are being noticed in a new light. Rightly so.
~Parents who are now homeschooling their children have a whole new appreciation for the teachers who have to corral, engage, and entertain 30+ 4th graders for 6 hours a day.
~Janitorial staff tasked with maintaining clean facilities are serving a vital function in keeping us safe by minimizing the potential for the spread of germs not only in hospitals but in stores and other essential businesses.
~Automotive line workers who usually produce the vehicles that allow us to travel from one place to another are now saving lives with the ventilators they are currently manufacturing.
~Drivers are delivering meals and shopping purchases not just because it’s convenient for us but because it’s essential to survival in quarantined areas and for high-risk individuals.
~And truckers transport the products that retail employees are unloading from receiving docks while others are stocking the shelves with necessities that we mostly took for granted in the past.
All of these workers, and so many others, can now clearly see the impact they make on the lives they touch every day. And we can see it too.
The pandemic has caused disruption, panic, and fear but if your eyes are open, you’ll see that it has also brought many blessings. We are seeing through a new lens.
With that, we are taking notice of the work that is done that makes a difference in our daily lives. Work that we have previously overlooked but now we see how those roles serve the greater good.
Who Do You Serve?
Looking inside to reflect on how the work we do affects others is the first step to finding meaning in what we do and that leads to greater personal fulfillment and reward when we understand the impact we can make.
Do you see who you ultimately serve and how your work affects the world? You may be a cog in a wheel but if your job was not being done, how would that impact the bigger picture?
Do You Feel Connected to Something Bigger than Yourself?
What are your unique talents and how do you use them in service to the greater good? For example: How does your… engineering knowledge, sense of humor, artistic or musical talent, medical skills, caring nature, listening skills, analytical abilities… have an impact on the lives of others?
Know Your Work Matters
How does your work affect other people or the world in general? Do you believe that what you are doing, or your role in the greater cause, is worthwhile? Is your contribution meaningful?
You can find purpose in your work by making the correlation of who your job is ultimately serving and how/why it is impacting those lives.
Pride in your work and understanding how you serve a purpose is the first step to finding meaning in your work. But no matter how much you love your job, be mindful that you can’t do your best work unless you are at your best. There’s nothing noble about self-sacrifice because you are not helpful to anyone when you are not fully functioning.
Prioritizing self-care is vital and to be effective and successful at work you need to serve yourself first. If you put yourself last you risk burnout which is detrimental to your health – mentally and physically. You’ll lose interest in your work and your purpose because there won’t be anything left to offer others.
“Embrace the concept that rest, recovery, and reflection are essential parts of the progress towards a successful and ultimately happy life.”
The importance of that statement cannot be emphasized enough. Create harmony in your life by satisfying your self-care needs. What that looks like is for you to decide but always put your own oxygen mask on first. When you make time for yourself you’ll find that you are more effective and successful in your work. Feed your soul with whatever brings you joy, peace and satisfaction to find a balanced and fulfilling life.
Saluting Those Who Are Behind the Scenes
We don’t have to be in crisis mode, and you don’t have to be on the front line, or be a first responder to impact the lives of others. You can find meaning in your work by knowing that you are part of something bigger and you are making a difference not just today, but every day.