If like most workers you pine for more purpose in your job, consider the five New Year’s resolutions that follow. Don’t be fooled by how simple they seem. We humans are so sensitized to meaningful acts that even small acts of contribution ignite a sense of purpose in us – as well as positively impact beneficiaries. So, go ahead and consider a 2023 New Year’s resolution of:
1 – Deep listening. In our hectic modern world, many people feel ignored, misunderstood or invisible. What if you entered every workplace conversation committed to truly listening? This means that while another is speaking, you don’t interrupt, multi-task or plan what you are going to say next. Instead, you focus only on listening and understanding. This might not seem like much of a contribution, but research finds that you will boost happiness and health in those you converse with, including by strengthening their immune system!
Simply focusing on deep listening is a wonderful gift, but if you want to learn how to make an even bigger impact, check out:
- A short article on listening skills from Psychology Today.
- A short article on deep listening from Forbes
- A short article from Tony Robbins and Jan Hargrave on the four tenets of deep listening.
- An hour-long video from American psychologist, author, and proponent of Buddhist meditation, Tara Brach, on improving our listening ability using Buddhist meditation.
2 – Wear-a-cause Wednesdays. Consider featuring a cherished nonprofit on your attire every Wednesday of 2023. You might also want to print up small cards with key information on the nonprofit. When others ask about your charity-promoting attire, share what you love about the organization and hand them a card. Below are several ways to wear your heart on your sleeve, so to speak:
- Order caps, shirts or other branded clothing from your cherished nonprofit’s website.
- Order custom “Ask me” buttons.
- Order earrings branded to the cause.
3 – Episodic office hours. What if you scheduled a way to support coworkers or other work relations every week or month? This can be done in person or remotely. You might hold a tech support session every second Monday of the month via zoom, for example. Depending on your skills, your session might help coworkers struggling with PowerPoint, guide new employees or translate materials for coworkers with limited English skills. You get the idea! The possibilities are endless.
4 – Inclusive meetings. Did you know that women and minorities speak less in meetings? As the meeting facilitator, you can alleviate this bias. Instead of making general invitations for participants to speak (e.g, “Does anybody have any concerns?), ask the question to each (e.g. “Trina, do you have any concerns?). If time constraints disallow calling on every participant, call on those who are typically quiet, followed by a general invitation to others. If you’re inspired, consider additional facilitation practices to promote social justice. A bonus to making your meetings more inclusive is that they will be more productive.
5 – Purposeful purchasing. If your job involves purchasing anything, even if only occasionally, why not commit to buying from sustainable, minority-owned or other under-represented businesses in 2023? Following are resources to get you started:
- Amazon facilitates shopping with Black-owned, Hispanic-owned, military family-owned, small, sustainable and women-owned
- Intentionalist helps you buy from local businesses owned by individuals who are Asian, Black, disabled, LGBTQ, veterans, women and members of other underrepresented groups.
Research shows that any of the above tactics for making meaningful contributions to others or societal causes through work, what I call “job purposing,” will likely satiate your need for purpose. It’s also likely that they will boost your productivity, chances of a raise and chances of a promotion. Furthermore, brain imaging studies indicate that they will also reduce your level of stress, lower your blood pressure and increase your happiness. (For a more complete explanation of all the benefits of adopting one of these simple New Year’s resolutions, see chapters 1,2,3 and 10 of Do Good at Work: How Simple Acts of Social Purpose Drive Success and Wellbeing.)
However you choose to pursue meaningful work, may you succeed in 2023!