I recurringly hear, from clients and others, that they want more meaning in their life. Be it from their career or otherwise. This is understandable since having a sense of purpose tends to make one feel more fulfilled.
One of the most interesting, but not surprising thing is that each of these people describe meaning to be a contribution in some form. I agree, contribution provides meaning for me as well. To this day, I continue to enjoy mentoring students and watching them develop more confidence with their studies and career choices.
Being focused on individual concerns and goals get us so far. This said, I do believe there is a hierarchy of needs and if basic needs are not met it’s tough to think about how to support others.
If contributing resonates with you, and you can do so, you may want to make some collective new year goals versus just individual ones. Especially with the unpredictability of Covid-19. If you're already doing this then great, kudos to you.
Contributing doesn’t have to be just volunteering or donating, there are other ways to give during this time. For instance, you can become a pen pal to an isolated elder at a nursing home, develop open-source software to make something more accessible or send a thank you card to a frontline worker that you know.
Giving is important but not at the expense of you or your health. I know some people feel they are only valued by giving and that’s not what I’m suggesting here. Healthy boundaries are essential in all of this.
My collective goal for 2022 is to donate 3% of all sales to Food Banks Canada, a vetted charity by Charity Intelligence Canada. I’ve donated for many years and to several different organizations (e.g., Fred Victor, Toronto Rape Crisis Centre, Wikipedia, etc.), however, I recently thought about donating a certain amount of my sales to something I believe is much needed during this time.
Of course, there are other ways to experience meaning (spiritually, etc.), however, if you are inclined you can do something for others or for the environment for 2022 and, hopefully, feel good about that too.
Whatever you choose, I wish you a healthy and meaningful new year.