In today's hectic and ever-changing work environment, finding meaning and purpose in our professional lives can be a significant challenge. While many of us are driven by the desire to succeed and advance in our careers, success alone does not necessarily lead to a sense of fulfillment or purpose. In fact, research has shown that curiosity is a critical factor in unlocking meaning and purpose at work.
Today we will explore the concept of curiosity and its role in creating a fulfilling work experience. We will also examine four practical ways to cultivate curiosity and intentionally create meaning and purpose in our professional lives.
Crafting Your Work
Crafting your work involves approaching your job as a craftsman would approach their craft. It requires a mindset shift from simply doing a job to creating art. When you view your work as a craft, you take pride in every detail, and you're constantly looking for ways to improve and refine your skills. Craftsmanship is about more than just producing high-quality work; it's about pouring your heart and soul into every project, task, and interaction.
For example, a software developer who views their work as a craft takes the time to understand the customer's needs and preferences, and they continuously look for ways to improve the user experience. They take pride in writing clean and efficient code, and they collaborate with their colleagues to ensure that the final product meets the highest standards.
Making Work a Craft
Making work a craft means approaching your job with a sense of creativity and passion. It involves looking for ways to innovate and improve processes, rather than simply following a predetermined formula. When you make work a craft, you're not just going through the motions; you're actively seeking ways to make a positive impact on your organization and its customers.
For example, a marketing professional who makes their work a craft continuously looks for new and creative ways to engage with customers and promote their company's products or services. They experiment with different channels and strategies, and they use data and feedback to refine their approach.
Connecting Work to Service
Connecting work to service means recognizing that our work is not just about us, but about the impact we have on others. It involves understanding that our work is a means to an end, not an end in itself. When we connect our work to service, we're able to see the bigger picture and understand how our contributions make a difference in the lives of others.
For example, a nurse who connects their work to service understands that their job is not just about administering medication and treating illnesses, but about caring for and comforting patients. They take the time to listen to their patients' concerns and provide emotional support, knowing that their work has a profound impact on the patient's well-being and quality of life.
Investing in Positive Relationships
Investing in positive relationships means building strong, supportive connections with our colleagues and customers. It involves recognizing that our work is not a solo endeavor, but a team effort. When we invest in positive relationships, we create a sense of community and belonging, which can lead to increased job satisfaction and productivity.
For example, sales professional who invests in positive relationships takes the time to get to know their customers and understand their needs. They build trust and rapport, and they continuously look for ways to provide value beyond the sale. They also collaborate with their colleagues to ensure that the customer's experience is seamless and exceptional.
Curiosity is a powerful tool that can help us unlock meaning and purpose at work. By crafting our work, making work a craft, connecting work to service, and investing in positive relationships, we can create a fulfilling and meaningful work experience. These practices allow us to approach our work with intention and mindfulness, and they help us to see the significance behind our daily tasks and interactions. By adopting a curious mindset, we can transform our work from a mundane obligation into a source of purpose and fulfillment.
Jonathan H. Westover, PhD is Chief Academic & Learning Officer (HCI Academy); Chair/Professor, Organizational Leadership (UVU); OD Consultant (Human Capital Innovations). Read Jonathan Westover's executive profile here.