Finding Meaningful Work

I had a spectacular holiday that included love, gratitude, plenty of red wine and way too much good food. Coming home is always a wonderful way to hit reset, and I feel rejuvenated and ready to get back to work.

I finished two books over the weekend.  “Turning Pro” and “The $100 Startup” (in that order).

If creating something new and turning it into a steady paycheck is a fantasy you’ve long considered, I’d recommend both books.  “Turning Pro” is “about the transition from wannabe/part-time/half-assed, “aspiring” artist and entrepreneur … to the real thing, a working pro.”  “The $100 Startup” is a practical, how-to guide for finding “a life of adventure, meaning and purpose — and earning a good living.”  The book profiles people who are “rewriting the rules of work” and provides “the most valuable lessons from those who’ve learned how to turn what they do into a gateway to self-fulfillment.”

The books offer actionable advice and serve as a prompt to make the move from idea into execution.  That first step forward often involves conquering fear and our own self-imposed limitations.  I am asked questions about that very specific inflection point every week, and it is precisely why I am recommending both books for anyone interested in making an inconvenient choice to become “who we always were but had, until then, been afraid to embrace and live out.”

The books also served to stimulate some fun conversations over the course of my weekend about passion, purpose, meaning and work.

We pretty well aligned around the notion that “meaning isn’t a first world problem – but a human challenge.”  In accepting the challenge to find meaning in our work, we move a step closer to fulfilling our potential and making a more significant, enduring contribution.  That realization has been a more recent revelation for me, and it has completely transformed both my approach to work and perspective on the future.

In a perfect end to our weekend we were winding down Sunday with “60 Minutes” and one of the segments profiled Free The Children.  The mission of this charitable organization is “to create a world where all young people are free to achieve their fullest potential as agents of change.”  They have started a movement that is making a difference and empowering children that otherwise might have felt powerless to effect change.  The knowledge that we can effect change and change our own lives in the process is a worthwhile lesson to learn at any age (the segment is worth watching).

If more meaning and fulfillment from work is a personal quest, there is no time like the present.  You may also be able to cash in on that passion. Many of the traditional barriers to entry no longer exist and long term career planning is fading fast.  This is becoming the era of the Change Agent, where adaptability, creativity and risk are rewarded.

How empowering would it be if you were free to achieve your full potential as an agent of change?

If the question resonates, you’ll enjoy the reading and what happens next.  Turning Pro is hard work but worth it.

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