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How to Discover Work You Love

Imagine doing work that you truly enjoy, and not only that, but imagine the work also gives you a sense of meaning and purpose.

What is it that you would be doing?

When we are fulfilled by the work we do we will likely be at our best, and will be engaged and challenged on a daily basis.

When we find this congruence in the work we do, it may no longer feel like work, but more like a “calling” we were meant for.

Finding the right work that corresponds with our passions and strengths can seem like a lifelong challenge if we don’t understand our natural capabilities, what motivates us, and what gives us a sense of purpose.

To help you find this engagement and fulfillment, use the Meaning, Pleasure, Strengths (MPS) Process. The MPS Process was created by Harvard professor and best-selling author Dr. Tal Ben-Shahar, and was published in his book, “Happier.”

The process involves spending time asking yourself the following questions about meaning, pleasure, and strengths:

  • “What gives me meaning?”
  • “What gives me pleasure?”
  • “What are my strength?”

For meaning consider: what gives you a sense of significance? What is important to you and what are your values? It most likely will be something challenging and beyond you, but don’t let this hold you back.

For finding pleasurable work, consider what you enjoy doing, what is satisfying, and what makes you feel good.  This may be related to your hobbies or anything that tends to elicit positive affect.

For strengths, uncover your character strengths by taking the VIA strengths assessment. Outside of this consider your top strength by exploring what tends to energize you, where you feel your natural talent lies, and what personal characteristics you have always felt encouraged and competent with.

The goal is to explore these three areas and find patterns or themes that overlap. You can then shape your job or career to incorporate the elements that overlap the most.

Which of your answer overlap?

Now consider what career area or work you could do that incorporates these traits.

If you already have a career, how can you craft your current obligations or responsibilities to have overlap with these areas?

A good example of how to find work that is meaningful, pleasurable and that incorporates strengths comes from the recent issue of Success magazine. Check out the story about the two brothers behind the Life is Good clothing company and how they followed their passions and values to create a multimillion-dollar brand.

Learning about meaning, pleasure and strengths can lead to more happiness and success with the work we do. When we are doing something we enjoy and that we are engaged in fully, it will be more rewarding and satisfying.


How to Discover Work You Love

Joe Wilner

Joe Wilner is a life coach, licensed clinical psychotherapist (LCP), and drummer from the band Yes You Are. He is also creator of You Have a Calling, a blog and online community helping people discover and pursue their life’s work and mission. Through deep and personalized coaching, he helps ambitious, creative, and spiritually minded individuals make a greater impact, grow as leaders, and design a soulful life they are inspired by.

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APA Reference
Wilner, J. (2012). How to Discover Work You Love. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 31, 2020, from


Last updated: 19 May 2012
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