Meaning is the 4th element of Martin Seligman’s PERMA model, as described in his 2001 best-seller, Flourish. To optimize our flow, our creativity, our productivity, and our well-being, we need to find meaning and purpose in what we do.
As I have for each aspect of the PERMA model, I’d like to explore meaning from a job search perspective, beginning with a basic question:
What specific goals are you trying to achieve in your job search?
Don’t stop with the obvious – yes, you need a job. But what for?
You need to pay the bills, keep a roof over your family’s heads, but is that all? You probably also want to:
- Secure or protect your standard of living?
- Create a new career challenge for yourself?
- Propel your skills to another level?
- Develop your potential?
- Contribute to society? Give something back? Pass something on?
Now we’re getting somewhere: we’re approaching the real reason you’re engaged in this career search. Push yourself past easy answers until you get to the true heart of the matter – that which is fueling your need for change.
Once you identify the heart of your motivation, try crafting a statement that captures it. Perhaps something like, “For me, this search is about taking care of my family and creating a home life that helps each of us realize our potential.” Whatever yours says, write it on a piece of paper and place it where you will see it daily. Remind yourself of this “why” every time you sit down to search, answer job search email, or seek new contacts on LinkedIn.
Keep your goal firmly in mind so it can motivate you every step of the way. After all, it may be a long journey. Be prepared.
Here’s to a more meaningful search,