In times of crisis people are drawn to create meaning and purpose in their lives. It is one of the dimensions of human motivation.  In this post I share three ways you can incorporate meaning-making activities into your week. 

At this time of crisis, each of us is drawn to create meaning and find purpose in our lives. People who are connected and work towards a higher purpose tend to be more motivated,  fulfilled and happier.

This striving is also connected to our brain chemistry and what our biology is guiding us towards when we are stressed: when we experience meaning, fulfilment, connection, being valued, purposefulness, we increase our oxytocin levels, dopamine, endorphins, and serotonin.

It is likely that what brings you meaning and purpose now in this #WFH environment has shifted. At this time of crisis, when you, or members of your team, have lost their sense of meaning and purpose, you may be experiencing a drop in engagement, wellbeing, and clarity.

It is critical at this time that as a team member or team leader you keep your eye on levels of meaning and purposefulness people are experiencing. This includes providing spaces to reflect and stay connected to your team compass: your purpose, values, principles, ground rules, and vision.

In a recent ShareTree webinar, they explained that the character traits of purposefulness and gratitude are prime levers that move people towards positive emotions, like joy and enthusiasm, that stimulate these helpful hormones that re-engage us in life, clear our mind, engage us in flow, create calm, and energise.  All important for creativity, productivity, and wellbeing.

ShareTree, through its research into engaged team cultures, found that gratitude was one of the quickest ways to move people from being disheartened and disengaged, to engaged and active. From my perspective, gratitude is also one powerful and deeply respectful ways we can serve one another at this time, and be more purposeful.

As an experiment, if you don’t already have practices like these, consider incorporating these three #MeaningfulMoments into your team’s week.

Friday Reflection

As a team, reconnect with purpose and dive into what brings meaning to your work. Questions you may explore individually and share as a group include:

  1. What was meaningful for you/us this past week?
  2. Has this changed?
  3. How can next week bring a greater sense of meaning and connection to one another?
  4. How connected do I/we feel with the purpose of my/our work?
  5. How might I/we feel and be more purposeful next week?

What may emerge are some tweaks to how you create meaning and purposefulness individually and collective. I would love to hear how your conversation went. Reach out if you would like my support to design and facilitate team reflections.

Acknowledge the qualities of character you see in each other

Implement an acknowledgement and reflective practice around the virtues, values and qualities that you see in your teammates, collaborators, suppliers, other partners.

  •  On your #Slack, #WhatsApp channel, or other channels, acknowledge your team member and say why; when did you see them really living a particular virtue and why you are grateful for them. ShareTree operates a system like this for companies.
  • Implement a virtual Warm Fuzzy, where you can write on the wall of your colleague, what you acknowledge them for. #Jamboard could be a useful place to set up virtual walls for each team member.

Reflect on the behaviours and virtues that are a challenge and how to live them more fully

Take time to reflect on how aligned you all are with the values, virtues and behaviours that you have agreed to, and that are a challenge for you at this time.

This is another important step in creating meaning and purposefulness. Research into meaningfulness at work highlights that we are more engaged when we resonate with the values of the organisation we work for (Bain & Company).

As you do this, sense together how you can practice your values, virtues and behaviours more fully, or whether you need to refresh.

As a team:

  1. Clarify the values, virtues and behaviours;
  2. Consider for each one, what went well /why, what didn’t go well / why, and what can be improved and how.

As a leader, a service you can offer your team or community, is to host conversations around meaning and purpose, and implement practices that uplift and generate positive emotions.

I will leave you with this one call to action:

Who will you be sending an acknowledgement to today?

We run a series of programs and workshops to help you build andrun a values-driven, noble enterprise. From identifyingand activating your unique values, to articulating your noble purpose, Barasa can help you take your business to the next level of impact in 2020.Get in touch or organise a consultation with Dimity here.