This last one is an integral piece of what I need in order to feel like the time I invest in my work - time I can never get back - is worthwhile. If there's no meaning, it doesn't really matter how much fun it is. Ultimately it will be a little like cotton candy. Meaning turns it from an empty snack into real sustenance. It's a major factor in keeping me interested and engaged for the long term.
For me, meaning comes from making a substantial positive impact on people's lives (again, remember that this is all an exploration into my own definition of success, not a prescription for others'). I want the work I do to leave people's lives significantly better than before I came into the picture.
Writing this, I realize that I am defining that in terms of the work that I'm doing now - personal growth, awareness, positive change, etc. That begs the question then, "Are there other ways to have an impact that would bring that kind of meaning?"
Would being the catalyst for a program that had a significant positive social impact - for example, a youth tutoring program that empowers kids to believe in themselves, or a microcredit program with a focus like Grameen Bank - have the same feeling of meaning as being the catalyst for deep personal growth and change?
I think it would (FYI, this is a stream of consciousness post - you're getting this as it's trickling out of my brain ). I think I'm drawn to the personal growth arena less because that's the only place I can find meaning and more because there's more of a clear overlap there with my gifts and abilities.
My gift lies in being a catalyst for insight and action. It most definitely does not lie in creating programs, organizations, and structure myself.
For me, things like the youth tutoring program or microcredit organization are more likely to happen as a once-removed result of my work. That is, my work might be the catalyst for somebody else whose gifts do align with creating a program, and organization, etc.
Which gets back to something I often say, only partially tongue in cheek - "I want to change the world. I just don't want to do all the work."
This is one of a series of posts exploring my definition for success in my own journey. You can see the original post with the big picture here.
Curt Rosengren, Passion Catalyst (sm)
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