A lot of people think that in order to love what you do every day, you need to be living the dream — the dream job, the dream salary, the dream team.
But the truth is, loving what you do isn’t reserved for celebrities or high-powered executives. You can find meaning in your work no matter what you do or where you are in your career — and as a small business owner, chances are, you have more opportunities than most.
But what, exactly, is the blueprint for loving what you do every day and living a life of purpose? What are the small changes you can make to your day-to-day routine that will infuse more meaning into your work — and help you fall in love with it in the process?
The practices that will help you fall in love with what you do every day
You don’t have to completely change your business (or your life!) in order to find more purpose or meaning in your work. All it takes to love what you do every day are a few simple shifts:
Start your day with intention
How you start your day is how you’ll continue your day. So if you want to find more meaning and purpose at work, start your day with more meaning and purpose.
The right morning routine is an essential part of getting more meaning out of your work and loving what you do every day. But what does the “right” routine look like? It’ll vary from person to person, but your morning routine should include practices that help you:
- Start the day from a calm, centered place
- Help you gain greater clarity into who you are, what you want, and where you’re going
- Increase your energy
- Foster personal growth and development
- Increase productivity and get more done
If you don’t have a morning routine in place, there are plenty of activities you can do to help you get centered and start the day on purpose. Exercise will get your blood flowing and encourage creative thinking. Journaling can help you get clear on what you really want from your business — and make sure you’re working towards that goal every day. Meditation can increase your psychological resilience, which can help you shift your perspective on difficult situations at work, bounce back from setbacks, and find the larger meaning (and growth opportunities) within your challenges — even when things get tough.
You can choose whatever practices that feel right to you, but the point is, practicing the right morning routine (instead of immediately hopping onto your phone) can help you better connect with who you are, where you’re going, and what you want out of business and life. And when you foster that connection, it’s pretty much inevitable that you’ll start to find more meaning in your business — and spend more time doing things in your business that feel meaningful to you.
Look for opportunities to mentor
Studies show that volunteering increases your sense of well-being, with a whopping 96% of volunteers claiming the experience of volunteering enriches their sense of purpose in life. So, if you want to find more purpose at work (or really, in life), why not volunteer?
It doesn’t matter if you’re a brand new freelancer, a seasoned business owner with decades of experience under your belt, or somewhere in between — there’s someone out there who can benefit from your expertise and experience. Mentoring other people and devoting your time and energy to help them succeed in their careers can help infuse more meaning in what you do every day — and knowing you made an impact on someone else? Well, that will just plain make you feel good about yourself.
Look for opportunities to volunteer your time. Mentor a more junior person on your team, sign up with an official mentorship program in your industry (like the Professional Association for Design’s Chapter Mentorship Programs or SCORE’s Business Mentorship Program), or partner with a local university to provide mentorship to students. If you see a group that’s under-represented in your industry, you can also volunteer with organizations that aim to level the playing field (like Women Who Code, which empowers women in technology).
Mentoring is a win-win situation. Your mentee benefits from your experience, guidance, and expertise — and the experience of helping your mentee infuses more purpose into what you do.
Find more opportunities to do what you love in your current role
A lot of people think that in order to do what they love, they need to make a huge career change. But that’s just not true! You don’t have to make huge, sweeping changes in order to find more meaning in your work — you just need to look for more opportunities to do what you love in your current role.
If you’re not happy with how you’re spending your time every day, look to expand your reach and focus more on the tasks in your business that bring you joy. Do you love to write? Partner with your marketing team and roll up your sleeves on your business’ next content marketing project. Do you love planning events? See if you can chip in on planning your company’s next office retreat. Are you passionate about sustainability? Initiate an in-office recycling program.
The point is, you can find opportunities to do what you love in any role or business you’re in. You just have to look for them — or, in some cases, create them.
End your day with a gratitude
Even if you absolutely love what you do, no career is perfect — and it’s easy to get caught in the day-to-day struggles and forget why you started a business in the first place. Ending your day with a gratitude list can help you see the forest for the trees — and remind you why you love what you do and why being an entrepreneur is so awesome.
Before you go to sleep, take a few minutes to write down the things you’re grateful for in a gratitude journal. Aim to write down five things you’re grateful for at work and five things you’re grateful for in life. It sounds simple, but there’s a reason some of the world’s most productive people (including Oprah Winfrey, Richard Branson, and Tim Ferriss) swear by it. This simple practice can completely revolutionize your business (and life!) — gratitude has been shown to improve self-esteem, reduce stress, increase mental strength, improve physical health, and reduce toxic emotions. In a nutshell, practicing gratitude in the workplace (and in life in general) is like a wonder drug — a wonder drug that will help you feel happier, healthier, and more fulfilled every day.
Fall in love with what you do today
No business is perfect. But with these simple shifts, you can find meaning, purpose, and joy in what you do every day — and completely change your business and life in the process. So what are you waiting for? Get out there and fall in love with what you do — today, tomorrow, and every day.