New Year’s Resolutions and Creating Meaningful Work

This morning, I began 2014 not unlike many other days in 2013…

Soon after waking up, I begin scanning facebook on my iPhone while drinking a cup of coffee that is entirely too strong for my tastes.


After getting “caught up” from the night before (and likely wasting even more time), I soon shift gears into behaviors that make me feel slightly productive – such as reading 48 Days to the Work You Love.

Why this book and why the need to feel so productive?

Before I get overly psychoanalytic about this, I would like to point out that the New Year is merely coincidence.  I am not one to drum up a whole lot of resolutions and speak of what I am *going* to do this upcoming year.  However, this time of year *does* get me thinking about what I’ve done, what I’m doing and what I’m planning to do.

Before I expand on all of this, there may be some new readers out there…if you are one of them – Welcome!   You have boarded the crazy train and are about to join me as I share my thoughts on humanity with you.  For those of you that are unfamiliar with me and my current situation, please feel free to take a moment to get caught up by reading some of the back story here.

While there are many complexities within this story, the reality is that I am feeling uncertain about the security of employment with the company I am currently working for.  It appears as though driving restrictions I currently have will factor heavily into my reassignment.  Bottom line?  I’ll likely need to begin looking for new work in 2014.

So…back to the question I previously wrote, “Why this book and why the need to feel so productive?”

In my back story, I wrote about how life is truly lived on life’s terms.  I realized this completely when I attended the memorial service of a college friend whose wife passed from cancer last month.  My own challenges, coupled with life experiences with people who are challenged with much greater burdens have made me realize what blessings I have in my life.  Personally, it is important for me to acknowledge this.

Perhaps, the need for me to feel productive is summed up in a quote that Dan Miller provided in his book.  He mentions that we should “…expect change and workplace volatility to enhance your chances of creating meaningful work.  It is often in the midst of change and challenges that we find our true direction.”

At the time Dan Miller had been writing about this, he was also discussing Ralph Waldo Emerson and his concept of “divine discontent.”  I don’t want to begin drawing comparisons between the challenges with my continued employment and a friend’s battle with cancer…but the bottom line is that when we are presented with challenges we must look inward.

Looking inward allows us to find the place that causes the pain we feel and the root of the challenge that life has presented us with.  Moreover, it allows us to reflect on this with God and find the solution to the challenges and begin acting accordingly.  Only then can we begin creating meaningful work.

Dan followed up his writing by quoting Ralph Waldo Emerson:

“A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesman and philosophers and divines.  With consistency a great soul has simply nothing to do.”

emerson divine discontent

This is important to understand.   It is also confusing.  Frequently, we associate consistency with productivity and success.  This is partially true.  However, when our consistency leads us to living a life of complacency and apathy, we begin constructing barriers that prevent us from exploring alternative paths towards the very destination we set out for from the beginning.

We all have our own individual destinations and goals in life.  If you find yourself at this time making resolutions for the New Year, consider the foolish consistency that we all have experienced from time to time.  Consider how this foolish consistency may factor into the greatness that your soul is.  Consider how this foolish consistency may be hindering you from creating meaningful work.

Rather than creating a simple New Year’s Resolution, consider reflecting on what your individual destinations and goals are in life.  Allow your New Year’s Resolution to include those destinations and goals.  Do not submit to foolish consistency.  DO think about what you’ve done, what you’re doing, and what you’re planning to do.  Then…stop planning and start DOING.

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