There is no one activity in our lives that takes more time than our work life. That fact tells us that doing work that matters to us, that matches our strengths and our “Why”, will give us greater life satisfaction.
How do we define work that matters? Work that matters allows you to flourish, to have a life of satisfaction and significance. We describe that as your Masterpiece Work.
Join the Masterpiece Work Tribe!
Did you know there is a place to connect with others who what to engage in their Masterpiece Work? Join us in the Masterpiece Work Tribe on Facebook by clicking here. It’s a place to explore the elements of flourishing by exploring all things Masterpiece Work. I look forward to connecting with you there.
5 Essential Elements of Flourishing
Martin Seligman, the father of Positive Psychology, wrote a book entitled, Flourish in 2011. In it, he describes the five essential elements of lasting well-being. They make up the acronym PERMA. As you explore each element, consider how you think you’re doing in each area.
Any positive emotion we experience contributes to our well-being. While every moment of every day may not be positive, do you experience positive emotions most of the time? Some of these positive emotions are joy, love, peace, gratitude, satisfaction, hope, curiosity, inspiration and pleasure. These positive emotions allow you to enjoy yourself in the present. It’s a framework for and a result of the next four elements of PERMA.
If you want more positive emotion in your life, what are some activities you enjoy that you could incorporate into your life more often? No matter our circumstances, experiencing positive emotions will help us persevere to our new place of flourishing.
Being engaged in the work we’re doing allows us to contribute our very best. When we’re in the place where we’re completely engaged, we are in a state called “Flow”, where time stands still, we lose our sense of self and we’re one with the work we’re doing. Flow looks different for different people. An artist may experience flow when creating a painting or a sculpture. A parent may experience flow when caring for their child. A farmer I know experiences flow when he’s in the field planting the year’s crop and getting dusty and dirty in the process. He’s engaged in his work at such a deep level that he doesn’t notice time passing or dust flying!
Engagement is a topic we hear about often related to the workplace. Engaged employees are productive. If you experience flow; high levels of engagement at work, you are more likely to be committed to the work you do and the company and products you produce. Your commitment benefits both you and your employer.
Realistically, none of us can be in flow all day every day at work. There are always tasks involved in our work that aren’t related to our strengths. When we can spend most of our time in our strengths and doing work where we’re engaged, we are more likely to flourish.
If you want more engagement in your life, where do you need to focus? What kinds of things allow you to reach a state of flow, of contributing at your highest and best level? How can you incorporate more of these activities into your life?
We are created for connection. Positive relationships are an integral component in flourishing. When we have positive relationships, we are free to contribute. These authentic connections allow us to give our best to others, while supporting us as we do so. We’re encouraged to grow and stretch by those who support us, who want the best for us and are honest and transparent in providing feedback.
Dr. Henry Cloud refers to the benefits of these positive relationships in his book, “The Power of The Other.” He calls these relationships Corner 4 relationships for their ability to not only build us up when we do well, but to give honest, constructive feedback when we fail. This type of relationship provides a place where we can be fully honest with self and the other so that we can grow to our highest potential. We don’t have to hide our failure or fear reprisal if we aren’t perfect. In this relationship, we can trust our friend to be there for us, to have our back.
Who are these Corner 4 relationships for you?
This element of Flourishing focuses on living your life in service of something bigger than yourself. It allows you to lead a “purposeful existence”, as Dr. Martin Seligman describes it. Even if you can fulfill every temporal dream you ever had, you will still end up with emptiness, a desire for something more. That something is meaning. Meaning propels you to do what you don’t think can be done. It motivates you to overcome obstacles and try the impossible. Meaning gives you a reason to keep going when you’re faced with difficult circumstances.
Meaning is different for everyone. It can be saving the whales or fighting human trafficking. It can be raising healthy children or providing water for African villages. Meaning is personal. It can also morph and change in different seasons of your life.
What gives your life meaning? Can you identify the “Why” that motivates you?
Using our ambition and strengths to reach goals or overcome obstacles provides a sense of accomplishment. Stretching beyond your comfort zone may produce anxiety in the moment, but the sense of accomplishment when you achieve a new skill or goal…or even just make an attempt at doing something new makes it worth it. Putting in the effort to achieve your goals gives you a sense of pride and satisfaction that you reached the goal, you accomplished the tasks necessary. Stretching yourself, pushing beyond old limits and taking reasonable risks is part of achieving your goals.
This isn’t about comparison or measuring yourself against the results of others. Rather, it is about trying and achieving new levels of accomplishment, your own PR (Personal Record).
Each of us has areas where we desire to achieve and experience a sense of accomplishment. It is important to savor the accomplishment of our goals in any endeavor we attempt. When we attain a goal or solve a problem, we experience increased confidence, motivation to try new things, and build resilience for those times when we aren’t as successful.
What achievements give you the highest sense of accomplishment in your life?
Where are you flourishing?
As you consider the PERMA elements, where are you flourishing? In what areas do you want to take action? Where do you want to improve? Do you see patterns? Does this give you insight into where you might be frustrated or stuck in your work? As a leader?