Creating Meaningful Work

Doing what I love creates meaningful work for me and brings tremendous value to others.

Doing what I love creates meaningful work for me and brings tremendous value to others.

My friend Joy Baldridge gave me Malcolm Gladwell’s book Outliers – the Story of Success. FANTASTIC read. He talks about what makes work meaningful – autonomy, complexity, and a link between effort and reward. It’s not about the money – yes we all have to make a living. It’s better for your overall well being though to take the lower paying job that gives you more meaningful work than to take the high paying job of repetitive labor with no autonomy where you are shut down at any turn for innovation and effort. It is by paying your dues with the lower paying work where you develop meaning (and skills) for your life, where the opportunities for significant advancement arise.

For the past four months, I have been advocating that we all learn how to leverage our four sources of capital as a way to muscle past the current worldwide credit crisis. By leveraging your four sources of capital – you will be creating more meaning in your life. You will be creating the tools that can help you thrive in any environment. Here are some examples of how to better develop and leverage your four sources of capital:

Social Capital – this is your relationships. How do you build good relationships? CARE about others. Find opportunities for them to be successful. Be grateful for how others help you. If people slight you, forgive them FAST. Grudges make you old, mean, and slow. I like to apply two of the four agreements here – don’t take things personally and don’t make assumptions. Most of us judge others by their behavior and ourselves by our intent. Reverse that and you will have relationships that stand the test of time.

Knowledge Capital – this is what you know and how you can use it. How do you build your knowledge capital? Do what you love and do it and do it and do it. Practice makes perfect. Gladwell points out in his Outlier’s book that for people to rise to any level of success in a field, they have to have at least 10,000 hours of practice in what it is they are doing. If you are doing what you love to do, that 10,000 hours goes by in the blink of an eye. Also, learn how to learn – the faster you can learn, the faster you can change. When you get to the level of mastery in what you love, the learning happens effortlessly and often. You will then start to find the opportunities all over the place to apply what it is you have mastered to help others every place you turn.

Brand Capital – this is your credentials and your reputation. How do you build your brand capital? This is where I live by the other two of the four agreements – Be impeccable with your word and always do your best. Word of mouth of your capabilities is the best endorsement you can get. Yes you have to get the requisite credentials in any field you want to go into. But credentials will only get you in the door. To keep finding open doors, your reputation needs to be rock solid for being able to deliver on what others need from you. This is where I find being great at doing projects comes in especially handy.

Operating Capital – this is your infrastructure for delivering value to others. If you rely on your car to get to locations where you create value for others, you better make sure you keep that car in good working order. The same of your computer systems, your internet connections, anything you need to keep yourself operational. Over time you can create more infrastructure to create more value – but that takes time and maintenance. Only create and maintain that which you truly need to create value for others. For example, when I started my company, I thought I needed bricks and mortar – at one point in time I had six training centers. These did not create value commensurate with their cost. Now my company is essentially virtual. I have one small training center in a city where it is the more cost effective route than using public venues. We still create tremendous value for our students, my team is much happier working virtually, and my overhead and risk is way down. My main infrastructure is my web system that enables me to support my business worldwide. We take extremely good care of that and are very vigilant in it’s performance and upkeep.

For more information on how to create meaningful work, check out my free downloads.

One Response to “Creating Meaningful Work”

  1. Everyday Project Management » Blog Archive » Believe in Yourself! Says:

    […] Project Management Home « Creating Meaningful Work […]