work that matters has a heartbeat

“I want a job that feels like I’m doing work that matters!”

Doing work that matters to you seems like it should come naturally.  But it can take some work to find the right work for you.

While you may not need to look for a new career to find meaning or purpose, finding a job that will make you happy could be helpful.

According to BusinessInsider, these 7 careers were among the most meaningful jobs in America in 2015:

  • Epidemiologists
  • Kindergarten teachers
  • Occupational therapists
  • Rehabilitation counselors
  • Anesthesiologists
  • Psychiatrists
  • Chiropractors

But does that mean going and getting training in one of these careers will result in you having a job that will make you happy?

Not necessarily.

And, it’s possible that you might even be doing work that matters to you, while being a little unhappy.

So what does it mean to be doing work that matters?

Your best work has a heartbeat.

The trick to doing work you care about is to allow your ambitions to remain high, while letting go of expectations for a specific outcome. Not easy to do, but worth it.

When you do work with a heartbeat, debilitating “shoulds” often dampen progress and squash dreams.

You’ve heard them—I should

… Know this by now,

… Have been picked for that opportunity,

… Have gotten another degree, certification or promotion by now.

Unrealistic expectations of yourself (often based on faulty comparisons) are what lead to stress, fatigue, and ultimately giving up.

As you embrace the good feeling that comes from doing the work, while simultaneously releasing attachments to the outcome, you give yourself a chance to progress in areas that matters most.

True feelings of great success are not tied to accolades, but to the good feeling you get while doing the work.

It’s entirely too easy to become the hamster that repeatedly pushes the lever for—praise, accolades, promotions, winning the sale, cars, sex, jewelry, clothes, and other items that trick you into thinking you are now worthwhile.

The good feeling that comes from other people’s approval is seductive, and can easily push you to want more. The problem with external validation is that it’s fleeting, which is why it’s easy to keep pushing the lever.

In reality, the harder you work at getting the accolades (approval, or a sense of worth) the more trapped you become. By remaining relentlessly focused on doing, you forget that you (and all the people around you) have a heartbeat.

You have interests, passions and desires calling to you. While you may have lost sight of the areas of life that make you giddy with excitement, they’re still there, waiting to be discovered and nurtured.

Each time you do the work you care about (sing, write, speak, design, lead, etc), you learn a little bit more about what works and what doesn’t work. The better you get the more opportunities will come to you.

Before you know it, your confidence, consistency and results will lead to an increase in opportunities to do the work that makes you giddy.

Start where you are, put yourself in the game, experience the difficulty of getting knocked down, along with the thrill of scoring. Neither is better—getting knocked down or scoring—they’re both simply providing the feedback you need to improve.

The great news is that you’ll be failing forward in the vocation that matters to you. Rather than simply getting through the day, you’ll begin growing from each day.

Here’s to your greatness,

Misti Burmeister