Want to Live Longer and Make Work Easier? Reach For Meaning in Your Daily Tasks

By I. Jeffrey Pheterson

We all want to live in a better world, though our definitions of what that looks like may differ.

Do you do something every day that is meaningful to you, something that adds purpose or passion to your daily activities? Do you have a driving force behind you that adds fire to your days and gives you a reason to get out of bed in the morning?

If so, you may be making yourself more productive at work, and you may even become physically healthier as a result.

Current social science research is revealing data that shows what positive results will occur for those who act in ways that promote meaning or purpose in their lives. Each day brings its challenges, but how we react to them is key. Regardless of the trials we may face, we all have a lot to be thankful for. That’s why gratitude is so important.  

However, according to recent research, a positive attitude is not enough. You must also operate with a purpose in mind. Below are two recent examples of this research:

The Power Of Purpose-Driven

In a recent Forbes article titled The Power Of Purpose-Driven, Hayley Leibson reported that purpose-driven companies can result in more motivated employees, better satisfied customers, and more profitable business outcomes.

Those companies tend to attract the best minds: people who want to engage in a common effort to move the organization forward, toward goals that are financially rewarding. They have a mission that permits people to share in a common vision, encouraging employees to feel passionate about finding themselves—and simultaneously losing themselves—in their work. Focusing your organization on better outcomes for clients or patients infuses your work with deeper meaning.

Also, encouraging your team to engage in community activities—like sponsoring a Breast Cancer Walk or participating in Angel Tree holiday gift collections—is another great way to get everyone involved for a higher purpose. At Ward Damon, we actively seek out opportunities to help others find purpose and meaning in their own ways, and we work to create an environment of engagement in the life of our community to pursue purpose-filled days and activities. We participate each year in the Salvation Army Angel Tree, Peggy Adams Walk for the Animals, Take Your Dog to Work Day, and recently even held a toy drive for detained immigrant children in partnership with the Center for Child Counseling, Inc. These activities not only bring camaraderie to the team, but also offer meaning to our team members and create more interesting water cooler conversations.

The organization also can support their employees’ involvement in leadership in their church, synagogue, or mosque, or in non-profit volunteer work. Ultimately, this creates a win-win situation. Getting passionate about something through your business or employer can be very fulfilling, and it’s good for the employer’s bottom line.

Finding Purpose for a Good Life. But Also a Healthy One

Another excellent article on the link between finding a purpose and its effects on health and well-being is Finding Purpose for a Good Life. But Also a Healthy One, published in The New York Times. Written by a practicing pediatric oncologist, Dr. Dhruv Khullar, the article explores the scientific fact that there is a strong relationship between having a vital sense of purpose in your life and your physical, biological health itself. Go figure! Dr. Khullar’s job is a tough one, but the daily rigors of that profession dealing with cancer in children also provide a unique window into the way patients and families respond to the stresses and setbacks that one encounters in life. Dr. Khullar reports that what helps patients and families survive is not being “happy,” but rather doing something that has meaning. Whether that’s volunteering to help others in a charity, working with children, or even having a cat, meaningful involvement in something is what matters most.

Purpose and meaning are connected to what researchers call eudaimonic wellbeing. This is not simple happiness (or hedonic wellbeing), as happiness is superficial and transient. Eudaimonic wellbeing, on the other hand, is a deeper, more durable state. Both articles link to peer-reviewed research and are data-driven, so employers can trust that the advice is solid.

What are you doing in your business, or in your life, that has meaning to you? Do you encourage your employees or co-workers to pursue what brings meaning and purpose to their lives? If you can find something to be passionate about–and encourage others to do the same–you may end up more profitable, find yourself in a more stable organization, and maybe even sleep better.

Help others; help yourself.

Jeffrey Pheterson is a partner at Ward Damon, a multi-disciplined law firm primarily serving South Florida. Jeff is based in the West Palm Beach office and focuses on labor and employment law, business and corporate law, and complex commercial litigation as well as healthcare law, administrative law and probate litigation. If you need help with business matters or labor issues, you may reach Jeff at jpheterson@warddamon.com or 561-842-3000.



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