Meaningful work for you and the world

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It has been an awe-inspiring week. The Pope visited the US and spread a message of humility, service, and human connectedness to each lunar-eclipse-767808_640other and the planet. The total eclipse of the moon was spectacular here in Maine, with a clear sky full of stars and the moon turing red as the eclipse progressed. The Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association Common Ground Fair celebrated rural, organic farming practices and food over its 3 day celebration of healthy living. I felt privileged to participate in these  events – they seemed to change the fabric of our lives for the better, at least for a few days.

What struck me about this past week was that the events, activities, and messages were not only inspirational but delivered by people who were passionate about what they were doing. The Pope demonstrated his passion for people, especially marginalized people, by visiting a soup kitchen instead of schmoozing with politicians. Friends were abuzz for days about the eclipse, posting factoids and other details on social media. The farmers and gardeners at the Common Ground Fair gave lectures, demonstrations, and advice freely (and free) to attendees and peers.

We hear a lot about follow your passion to create your dream job in the media as well as online. According to Dave Baer of Business Insider, there are more than 1,300 business books on Amazon just about following your passion. He quotes Steve Jobs’s biographer, Walter Isaacson, reporting a conversation about work and passion with Jobs:

“Yeah, we’re always talking about following your passion,” Jobs reportedly said, “but we’re all part of the flow of history.”

“You’ve got to put something back into the flow of history that’s going to help your community, help other people … so that 20, 30, 40 years from now … people will say, this person didn’t just have a passion, he cared about making something that other people could benefit from.”

The Pope and the farmers and gardeners at the Common Ground Fair embody this type of passion for work – making a difference in the world.

How do you find work you love that also makes a difference?

Scott Dinsmore was on such a quest when he discovered his niche and founded Live Your Legend, an organization dedicated to helping people find work they love that makes a difference in the world by connecting like-minded people together both online and in person. Scott believed there are 3 principles to finding your passion, or as Scott says in this TEDx Talk, finding “the work you can’t not do to change the world”:

  1. Become a self-expert. You have to know yourself in order to find out what you want to do. There are 4 steps to this: what are your unique strengths? What do you care about? What are your experiences and what did they teach you? What is your definition of success that includes your values and beliefs?
  2. Do the impossible. Push your limits – you don’t know what you are capable of until you leap out of your comfort zone.
  3. Surround yourself with passionate people who are already doing what you want to do. They will show you it is possible to work and live another way – the way you want to live. This makes it real – you can do it, too.

Watch his TEDx Talk for more detailed explanations of the 3 steps:

Lisa Girard of Entrepreneur.com lists these 5 creativity exercises to help you find your passion. These fall into Dinsmore’s Step 1 – Become a Self Expert:

  1. Revisit your childhood. What did you love?
  2. Make a Creativity Board – make a collage of images, poetry, etc. that make up a new job, business, or next step.
  3. Make a list of people who are where you want to be.
  4. Start doing what you love, even without a business plan.
  5. Take a break from business thinking and just let go.

These activities help you move from linear thinking to creative thinking and open up new possibilities or get to underlying thoughts that help you move forward. Plus, they are fun!

Not everyone wants to create their own work, but does want to do meaningful work. Millennials, Generation Y and Z have this mindset and look for work that is meaningful to them and also will make a difference in people’s lives. Making a job change can be a hard decision – when is it time to leave current employment? There are several good articles on when to know it is time to quit your current job.

Jeff Hayden’s article, 10 Reasons to Quit Your Job as Soon as You Possibly Can, from Inc.com, has a great reason to quit your job: life is too short.

Life’s too short to go home every day feeling unfulfilled. Life’s too short to work for a terrible boss. Life’s too short to go home every day feeling taken for granted, feeling taken less than seriously, or feeling taken advantage of.

His last reason to quit your job is also compelling: You don’t think you can do anything else. He says:

You just have to believe–and trust that your creativity, perseverance, and effort will take you to new, happier, and more fulfilling places.

Sounds like Scott Dinsmore, doesn’t it?

Kristi Hedges  agrees with Hayden in her Forbes article, 5 Really Good Reasons to Quit Your Job, on the following quitting criteria:

  1. Your job is affecting your health or causing extreme stress.
  2. There is no where to advance.
  3. Your job isn’t letting you grow your skills.
  4. Your living with chronic uncertainty.
  5. You’ve mentally checked out.

Dinsmore has free tools to guide you through his 3 steps on the Live Your Legend website, and his blog posts concentrate on helping you find

The Creed of Living Legends, from the Live Your Legend website

what you “can’t not do”. He also has an online community of over 100,000 people from 180 countries around the world who support each other through online comments and discussions, and there are face-to-face groups that meet around the globe for that purpose as well. It is the third step – surround yourself with people who will support you and show you a new way of working, connecting, and succeeding. Live Your Legend members are called Living Legends. The power of networking on his site is evident in the many testimonials and posts from users. Sadly, Dinsmore was killed in a climbing accident in September, but the site, tools, and community live on.

Whether you want to start your own business or find paid or volunteer work that is more meaningful to you, exploring your passions, values, and beliefs will lead you to a more satisfying experience. Using online groups, such as the Living Legends on Dinsmore’s site, to surround yourself with people who are already doing what you want to do and are able to support your new direction can get you over the rough spots in your work or volunteer transition.

What is your passion? What steps did you take to find it? What were your experiences along the way? What have you learned that you can share with all of us?

 

 

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5 replies
  1. Lyn Boyer
    Lyn Boyer says:

    Lisa, Thanks for a very inspiring blog this week. Passion is more than doing what you want. Fulfillment is such a large part of being human. Beautiful examples and very worthwhile steps to follow. I know you and Doris are following your passions in this way.

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