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How to Find Meaningful Work by Giving More Than You Get

Posted by Laura Tyson on June 30, 2015

Work is a universal necessity, but that doesn’t automatically reduce it an obligation, or worse, drudgery. It’s easy to think your digital marketing job as better or worse proportionate to the perks: vacation days, benefits, free food, or offsite team events. But the best marketing jobs have little to do with perks and much more to do with meaningful work. 

Recognizing the value in others

The question then is how do I find meaningful work where I am right now? The answer might surprise you.

Satisfying, worthwhile work begins with humility and generosity. You get meaningful work when you focus on what you can give. (Tweet this)

Embrace Humility

No one likes to talk about humility - it’s awkward and often distorted to some kind of unhealthy self-depreciation. But true humility - the kind essential to meaningful work - is best described as a teachable attitude, one that recognizes the value and insight of others. No matter how much you know about inbound marketing, how impressive your portfolio is, or how valuable your experience, you can always learn more (and should be learning more). Only by dismissing a sense of entitlement and embracing humility will you be able to enjoy enduring success in digital marketing.

Confidence is still important, of course, but it should be accompanied with gracious words and an eagerness to hear others’ perspectives. No one wants to work with someone who can’t or won’t be taught. Avoid being that person by expressing gratitude and learning with humility. This attitude is the foundation upon which your marketing career will be built.

Focus On Others

Focusing on others, the next step in finding satisfying work, is closely tied to the first step of learning from others and valuing their insights. As a digital marketer, become familiar with your environment and look for individuals you can serve. How many people can you reach in a given week? Think about other departments within the organization—IT, Sales, Customer Service, Human Resources, Accounting—as well as current and potential clients. Look beyond your company to marketing thought leaders or fellow marketers with a similar level of experience as you.

Identify ways you can create more effective automation, troubleshoot an ongoing issue, identify an unaddressed customer pain point, or contribute more intentionally to a campaign launch and promotion. By focusing on the ways you can serve those around you, you’ll not only develop a greater understanding of how your role integrates within the company and its mission, but you’ll also become an invaluable digital marketer.

Add Value

The strategy behind giving more than you get can also be phrased as “adding value.” It may look like making an introduction, anticipating your manager’s request, sharing your marketing resources, or creating remarkable content for your audience. How can your skills benefit others? How can you contribute above and beyond your expected tasks?

Ask yourself regularly what else you can give through the work you’re doing. (Tweet this) Not only will you become an exemplary colleague with a great reputation, you’ll find that your own development reaches new levels. As you begin to look for the ways you can improve the efforts of those around you, you’ll develop a greater understanding of how to identify and meet the needs of others—a principle that lies at the heart of effective marketing.

Experience the Paradox of Giving: Stratospheric Success

The paradox of giving more than you get is that it always results in more, not less. This paradox is demonstrated by the 5 laws of stratospheric success that are based on giving. Authors Bob Burg and John David Mann outline these 5 laws in their book, The Go-Giver:

  1. Value: Your true worth is determined by how much more you give in value than you take in payment.

  2. Compensation: Your income is determined by how many people you serve and how well you serve them.

  3. Influence: Your influence is determined by how abundantly you place other people’s interests first.

  4. Authenticity: The most valuable gift you have to offer is yourself.

  5. Receptivity: the key to effective giving is to stay open to receiving.

"5 Laws of Success Based on Giving: value, compensation, influence, authenticity and receptivity." (Tweet this)

Meaningful work comes from giving - from authentically providing value that’s focused on the interests of others.

Get in the habit of giving and discover the meaning it brings to your work as a digital marketer.

Want to learn more about what it looks like to give more than you get, and experience the rewards? Read our Apprenticeship Manifesto and join the movement. It just may change the way you work—forever.

Download the Manifesto


Topics: For Recent Grads