When I was in my early twenties and just beginning my working life, I was already preoccupied with the idea that if I was going to spend so much time at work, it had better be something meaningful. I had joined a large multi-national corporation, with the intention of leaving as soon as I had paid off my student debts to go and do something more meaningful. I thought that a more meaningful career would be in international development, working on global issues and challenges. Whilst I was learning a lot of really useful stuff, selling margarine to the masses wasn’t quite doing it for me in terms of meaning. Then I saw an advert in the Economist for a Masters in Responsibility and Business Practice, signed up and found myself amongst an amazing bunch of co-learners including Lani Morris, who was also searching for how we can bring more meaning into the workplace. We formed a long lasting friendship despite being on other sides of the planet (Lani is based in New Zealand).
Since then, the last 15 years have been an exploration of how to build more meaning into my life and work. I worked in corporate sustainability both internally and as a consultant, I developed corporate branding strategies and helped organisations find their purpose, I quit my job and went on a round the world trip for a year volunteering in a fair trade cooperative for three months, I came back and worked on the development of cross-sector partnerships, I set up a fair-trade advisory business for a while, I became a trustee for a charity, I started a family, I trained as a coach, I developed a coaching model to help people find their unique point of impact on people and planet, I started Do What Matters, I joined Future Considerations to support leaders and institutions to evolve and influence the great challenges of our time… and it’s still evolving. It’s been a constant inquiry and has required lots of self-awareness and trial and error along the way. What feels meaningful and what doesn’t? What creates a sense of meaning and what destroys my experience of meaning? What I’ve learnt is that Meaning is not found in the destination, it about how we set the intention of our life and experience the journey.
So fifteen years later, on the 5th and 6th of July Lani and I will be sharing some of our experiences and hosting a Masterclass in Creating Meaningful Work and Workplaces. The workshop is based on the Map of Meaning which is an amazing tool developed by Lani and Dr Marjolein Lips-Wiersma. I’ve been working with the Map of Meaning for the last 6 years as one of the foundational tools of the Do What Matters approach, with transformative results. Anyone who wants to create a greater sense of meaning in their life and work, can work through the map and intuitively discover how to do that and what’s missing.