The definition of the Specialist-Generalist is turning your hand to many things – but always remembering the purpose.

Some days that’s easier than others though. As Valerie Keller and Caroline Webb put it on HBR.org:

“How are we supposed to feel a higher sense of purpose amid the daily scrum, as we wade through tedious meetings and endless to-do lists — perhaps with less-than-inspirational managers breathing down our necks?”

Not least given there’s often a gap between rhetoric and reality:

Reflecting; and connecting the mundane to that larger purpose are their suggestions, even if as they acknowledge the answer may sometimes be:

“This task speaks to my currently strong aspiration to get the heck out of here.” 

But as they say, if you stay with the question for a moment longer, you can usually dig to find something that feels worthwhile enough to give yourself a boost.

Find Meaning in Even Your Most Mundane Tasks

Many studies have shown that even a brief moment of reflection can help boost your performance and resilience. 

Ask yourself questions that help you see the big picture, such as, “Who is going to benefit from what I’m doing?” 

Remembering, for example, that your daunting presentation will allow you to champion the ideas of a new colleague may help you stay focused and engaged throughout. 

Or you might ask yourself: “If I get this task done well, what bigger aspiration or value of mine will it support?” 

Perhaps the never-ending spreadsheet you’re building will help the board make better financial decisions. Finding a meaningful goal can help you power through a seemingly meaningless task with a sense of purpose.

Adapted from “Find Purpose in Even Your Most Mundane Tasks at Work,” by Valerie Keller and Caroline Webb

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