Over the past several months, we have been walking through the guideposts for wholehearted living as defined by Brene Brown in her book: The Gifts of Imperfection. Today, this journey brings us to guidepost #9: “Cultivating Meaningful Work: Letting Go of Self-Doubt and ‘Supposed To’”.
Here at WECHC we often define an individual’s “spirit” as his/her source of “purpose, meaning, and love”. As such, it totally resonates for me that to remain spirit-led, we must be supported by pursuits that are meaningful. Whether “work” to each of us translates as something we get paid for, something we consider more of a hobby, or a way we volunteer our time, the significance of engaging in work that is meaningful makes sense.
One of my longtime favorite quotes by theologian Frederick Beuchner is: “The place God (or Spirit, or Higher Power, or the world) calls you to, is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.”
Meaningful work is all about honoring both your deep gladness and your strengths to the benefit of others. Brene talks about the benefits of owning our strengths and talents and the risks of “squandering our gifts”. Part of this process as she explains it involves letting go of the gremlins of self-doubt and “supposed to”.
We each have a unique version of these gremlins. Common versions I’ve heard working here at WECHC are: “I don’t have any gifts”, “I’m not good enough”, “I’ll never be able to…”, “I’m supposed to do what ______ expects of me”, and “I’m supposed to be ….”. These life-depleting voices keep us from living lives of meaning and fulfillment. They keep us stuck.
Instead, over the next thirty days, I invite you to put energy into more life-giving companions. Companions such as: “I deserve to be happy”, “I may not know what my strengths are at the moment, but I am willing to explore them”, and “My individual pursuit of meaning and fulfillment benefits others”.
With these voices to accompany you, take some time to explore how you can start or continue to cultivate meaningful work in your life. If you don’t know where to begin, perhaps consider taking a strengths-based assessment such as the Clifton StrengthsFinder or doing a spiritual gifts inventory.
May we all live spirit-led lives of purpose, meaning, and love. May we all support one another in such a worthy pursuit.
Many blessings and happy cultivating,
Nikki Holm, Chaplain, MA