Career Coaching

The Foundation: Meaning and Purpose

by Gary Gasaway (USA)

Over the years, I have coached many clients regarding their career journeys. But before updating the resume, before the job application, before the formal interview, and even more importantly; before the selection of the possible change in job position or a new career path, there needs to be much reflection and coaching conversation regarding meaning and purpose.

May it be a different job position or a new career, I always begin my sessions discussing meaning and purpose. Meaning and purpose interconnect: one must have meaning to strive for their purpose. In other words, as it relates to careers, it is not about the higher wages, expanded benefits, or increased esteem, it is about the clients’ meaning and their purpose. Our meaning and purpose in life are so much more important than that of selecting a new job position or career. Think about it. Why work in a job position without meaning? Without purpose? If you reflect deeply about it, you will discover that it is our meaning and purpose that feeds into what job position we choose in life. In addition, it is our life’s purpose that provides the motivation to do whatever we do in the career field of our choosing. So, to begin my coaching sessions, I take my clients through an important discovery of meaning and purpose as they reflect upon what new job position or career they wish to follow.

What is meaning regarding our career choices? It is the ability to be grounded in our life’s purpose. It provides an understanding to why and how we live life. Live life. If we are to actually live our lives, our careers are a big part of that. Think of a typical 24-hour weekday. We sleep for 8-hours, we have free-time for 8-hours, and we work for 8-hours (which for many of us, is much more than just 8-hours.) Then, it is a fact that our careers consume, at a minimum, a third of our waking hours. Further, let us just say we have the wonderful opportunity to work in the same career for 30-plus years. Then does not make sense that we include meaning and purpose for what we do in our careers? But do we always find this meaning and purpose regarding our careers? Many of us look for it, some of us have found it, and others are still searching. It is different for each one of us as individuals. For our careers, it is this possession of meaning that leads us to our purpose in truly living our work-life. Yes. It is that important.

Possessing meaning in life requires the willingness to push the limits and break the barriers to reach the pinnacle in which meaning is an innermost part of us. To find true meaning calls for us to go deep within ourselves and become more reflective toward what we care most about. This reflection includes giving ourselves the time and space to think independently, and to value the inward journey that leads us in pursuing the true meaning of life regarding the purpose for actively participating in our careers of choice. In other words, both meaning and purpose are intended to be strong within us. So, it is up to us to use this capability.

So, to assist us on this career journey in finding our individual meaning and purpose; we must be STRONG as we move closer to the selection of the career of our choosing. I begin with explaining STRONG and how the following components must match the clients’ possible career choices:

S = Success

It is when you have a great deal success in the activity.

T = Truth

It is true to you, and you trust that you are doing something that is contributing to the world in which you live.

R = Repetition

It is when you do it over and over, not being tired of it.

O = Obsessed

It is when you cannot wait to do it repeatedly with passion and excitement.

N= Need

It is a need. You need it, the world needs it. Like obsessed, but you feel lost if you are not doing it.

G= Growth

It is a feeling of continuous learning, which then moves you to personal growth.

Source: iCN Issue 39  (Career Coaching); pages 35-37

About Gary Gasaway

Gary is a former professional life coach and business owner that provided individuals and couples with coaching needs concerning life’s difficulties in the areas of career coaching, dealing with stress, developing positive habits, and improving relationships. Gary now dedicates much of his time to his loves – family, friends, and of course – writing.

Gary graduated with honours at the University of La Verne and is a member of Alpha Chi, National College Honours Society. Gary has a Bachelor of Science degree in Organizational Management and a Master of Science in Leadership and Management.

Gary also has written and published six books: The Coach’s Chronicles Trilogy, The Reflection Connection – Reflecting and Connecting to Life’s Experiences, A Simple Life – Living Less Complicated, and Beyond Reflecting – Actions Lead to Personal Potential. For additional information regarding Gary and his books, send an email to: