How do you want the people you work alongside each day to remember you? That’s not a question we typically ask ourselves, but it’s an answer we all care about.
Everyone wants to be liked and appreciated by the people we work with every day. We want to be seen as someone who makes a difference — whether it’s the impact we make through our work or the relationships we cultivate with our co-workers.
Unfortunately, it’s easy to get caught up in the daily grind and neglect the small, simple ways you can make your work more meaningful and memorable. We’re so busy checking boxes that we forget the one thing that matters most — creating real, meaningful connections with other people.
As Maya Angelou famously said, “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” If we want the people to remember us as difference-makers, we can’t forget that the way we make them feel is the most important factor.
How to Make Your Work More Meaningful
Here are a few ways you can make your work more meaningful and memorable by cultivating stronger relationships with those around you:
Focus on Developing Your People Skills
No matter how good we are at our job, nothing is more important than our people skills. Learning how to work alongside people effectively, not just tolerate them, is essential for growth. If we master the art of encouraging and motivating people, they will remember how we made them feel when they think about our impact.
Leverage Your Advantages to Serve Others
One of my favorite books is The Go-Giver. The book is a parable that teaches the lesson that the quickest and most effective way to make a difference is to serve others. If we want to do meaningful and memorable work, we can’t simply leverage all of our advantages and skills for self-gain. Making the shift from “getting” to “giving” and constantly putting others’ interests first is the most effective way to stand out.
Be Intentional About Each Day
It is easy to let days turn into weeks turn into months turn into years of just coasting. DON’T DO IT. Be intentional in every day. Even if it’s just doing one small thing for a co-worker, don’t miss an opportunity to add value to someone else. Is it easy? No. Will there be days where you don’t feel like investing in encouraging someone else? Absolutely. But it’s the seemingly ordinary and mundane moments that often make the most difference. A dozen small interactions over the course of the year go a long way.
Be “Secretly” Incredible
The truth is we all want others to perceive us as hard-working. But being a hard-working, good person is, well, hard work. Often, I put ten times the energy into being “publicly good” that I do into being “privately good.” But the real difference-makers don’t invest in others for the recognition. They do it because they actually care. And the real rewards come to those who establish that kind of character for real.
Before you go into work tomorrow, take a few seconds and ask yourself these questions:
- How do I want to be remembered by the people I interact with daily?
- What is one small thing I can do today to cultivate that reputation?
- How can I make someone’s day today?
- How would I feel at the end of the day if I stopped focusing as much on my projects, goals, and needs, and cared more about the people around me?
In the end, these are the types of questions that will help us become more meaningful and memorable to those around us.