A great question! Especially where it relates to work.
Last week as I was putting my groceries in the car, an onion dropped to the ground and disappeared underneath the car behind me. When I bent to look, I saw it was too far to reach. I tried to rescue it with the ice scraper from my car.
A young boy said, “I can help.” He shimmied under the car and brushed the onion to the side where his mother retrieved it.
Even before I thanked him, I noticed he was beaming. As he said goodbye, he skipped down the street.
Though I was happy my onion was retrieved, I was more taken with this boy’s delight. The act of helping is contagious.
Later I thought of Anthony Robbins’ list of human needs and in particular, the one on contribution. We all have a deep desire to be of service, to support others. Contributing to others is hard-wired as I saw in that young boy.
When I was work on the meaningfulness module for the Finding Work That Matters model, I realized that helping others was inherent to meaningfulness.
To get at the root of what is meaningful to you, ask yourself the question, what is my greatest contribution to others? This will translate directly into job satisfaction.
But job satisfaction is in short supply.
A 2013 Report conducted by the Gallup organization found 70% of workers were not engaged at work. With only 30% of people experiencing job satisfaction, what does this say about the state of our workplaces?
In addition to the demands of the modern work life, dissatisfaction is also a measurement of people not doing work where they are using their gifts and talents. In the Gallup survey, only 36% of the respondents said they had opportunities to do what they did best.
What a loss for the workplace!
When workers are contributing in their own best way, they make their businesses shine because they will get better and better at what they do and then do better and better work. Motivation to learn more increases and impacts directly on the business’ success.
Work becomes more meaningful when we are contributing our best. But contributing our best also needs to help others.
The desire to help we expressed as a child is intrinsic to a motivated employee.
How to create such workplaces? We develop a “how can I help?” attitude. Here are some thoughts:
1. Look for the opportunities where you can contribute your best.
The first step is to find out what your gifts and talents are and the next one is to find places where you can contribute.
2. Become a giver.
What this means is giving to others without expecting anything in return. The value of being of service is what you see in admired leaders.
3. Look at the big picture.
How do you see what you do as making an impact? Understand this will be unique to you.
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