Navigating our careers can feel daunting at the best of times. And for many of us a great career means doing something meaningful. However having clarity on what exactly is meaningful to us is a process of exploration in itself.

That’s why the ‘Three Hustles’ is a great way to structure your thinking and even design career prototypes that allow you to explore options and transitions without making life changing decisions.

This reflection is important as it’s unrealistic for us to expect that we are going to get all the fulfillment and meaning in our lives from one place. The Three Hustles are a balanced way to find meaning personally and professionally.

Inside Hustle

Ask yourself, “How can I do more of what is meaningful to me where I am?”. The energy diary tool is a great help here. What are the things that you currently do that are energising and important and why are they that way? Once you know you can ask for more of them whether it’s at home or work.

Side Hustle

Ask yourself, “What passions or hobbies can I explore that energise me?”. For some of us this may also be an additional source of income but that shouldn’t always be the primary motivator. 

Soul Hustle

Ask yourself, “How might my strengths be valuable to a cause that I feel connected to?”. Skilled volunteering and mentoring are incredibly valuable ways to give back. Think of the causes that you’d like to support and then check out their website for opportunities.

Now What?

Ok once you’ve come up with ideas on the above you can start to build little ‘career/life prototypes’. The purpose of the prototype is to enable you to experience the hustle without fully committing to a big change. 

A prototype could be as simple as having a conversation with someone to find out if the hustle is really what you imagine it to be. Sometimes things look glamorous on the outside but the reality is quite different. For skilled volunteering you could try a small project before fully committing to something longer term or talk to other mentors to learn about their experience.

Final words

The search for meaning is not always about you. What I mean here is that when you focus on doing something meaningful for others you’ll be surprised at the benefit. Just because you’re working on something that isn’t changing the world doesn’t mean that your colleagues and clients don’t appreciate your contribution and strengths. This is meaningful in itself and easily forgotten.

Having a meaningful life isn’t an entitlement it’s something we need to create for ourselves. Design the three hustles into your life and feel the difference.

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