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Core Principles: Establishing Meaning

“Where did my drive go?” This question is not an uncommon one and usually stems from forgetting or losing our meaning. This can negatively affect our drive and motivation. In moments like this, establishing meaning is the first step to rediscovering your drive. Once meaning is found we can then set new goals for ourselves that inspire us to improve and grow. You see, Dr. Victor Frankle, author of Man’s Search for Meaning, systematized meaningful activities into three categories.

Find a Project

It is important to find a project that excites and inspires you. Without a project, how can you create a goal? Finding a topic to focus on can help you begin to envision new goals more clearly.


Have a Redemptive Perspective on Suffering

What have the trials of your life taught you or helped you to become a better person? It is often in the most difficult times that we learn and grow the most. Goals should push you to improve and that often means it’s not always fun. The quicker we accept being uncomfortable, the quicker we can truly progress. 


Find a Supportive Community

Doing it alone is hard. Good thing you don’t have to! Whether it’s a supportive online community of friends and family that want to see you succeed, having others that inspire you on days that feel dull can have a major positive effect on your overall progress.


Now, Dr. Frankle wrote these to identify meaning in our lives. Not necessarily creating personal or professional goals for educators. To take these ideas a step further, I’d encourage you to recognize what’s meaningful in your life. You can use these three questions to help.


How do you want people to remember you?

It’s a grim thought, but if you passed away, how would you like others to remember you? Identifying this can help give direction to finding a project to work on. 


What master plan would you like to accomplish in your life?

The next step after finding out how you want others to remember you is to create a master plan to accomplish that. What kind of plans would the person you imagined create? This is the first step to creating your own legacy.


Are there friends or family members you want to join you in accomplishing your master plan?

As said previously, support is important. We all have days when we feel unmotivated and uninspired. Finding friends or family that want to get involved will make those days so much more manageable. Humans are social creatures and too often we try to do things alone. Remember that you don’t have to and that we progress further together.


By no means is this advice all-encompassing. Other leadership experts teach entire classes on making what’s called a life plan. My hope is this content will help you by establishing meaning, so you can create attainable goals. As educators, when you stay focused on what’s important, your impact on the students you serve is beyond what you can imagine or measure.

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