I recently noticed that the word avoidance is a mishmash of three words: A void dance. It’s an apt metaphor for the clumsy way many of us cope with the purpose void that sullies our work. We ignore this gaping deficiency and focus on performing the choreographed steps in our job description: attend staff meetings, respond to emails, smile at customers. We awkwardly waltz around what we sorely miss. We perform a void dance or avoidance.
Imagine if instead of sidestepping it, we stood at the precipice of meaninglessness and peered into its darkness. Why? Because by charting the contours of the emptiness that ails us, we discover the terrain of our own heart. We learn to navigate our way to wholeness. Interested? The simple exercise that follows will get you started.
A First Step in Filling the Workplace Purpose Void
Set aside 30 tranquil minutes a day for one workweek to answer, ideally in writing, these questions:
- Where in my body do I feel the yearning for meaning? How would I describe that feeling?
- When do I tend to feel work is most meaningless? What’s the context (what am I doing, who am I with, what time of day, etc.)?
- When do I, instead, feel fulfilled? Again, what’s the context?
- What small change to my workweek might lead to more fulfillment?
- What bold change to my career might lead to more fulfillment?
- What do my answers to questions 1-5 teach me?
Your week of reflection won’t instantly imbue your work with purpose, but will likely reveal a lush path to meaningful work. No dance moves needed for this journey, only an openness to embrace new horizons. If you’re so inclined, I would love to hear how it goes!