The Small Business Coach’s Guide to Meaningful Work: The Golden Thread


It begins innocently enough. An idea is sparked. The fire of business ownership is lit. Before long, what was once a mere idea, takes root and begins to flourish. Clients are acquired. Initiatives are launched. Revenue grows.

For some small business owners, this is their important work. For countless others, however, the nitty gritty details of growing a small business buries meaningful work. Business begins to feel more like it owns you versus you owning it.

What do you do when the grind of growing a small business takes its toll? How does one maintain the purpose and the passion with which your business was launched? And, why is important to be involved in meaningful work?

It’s not always easy . . . and the crux of the conversation during a recent coaching appointment.

The Meaning of Work

Meaningful work is defined as work significance. An article highlighting several studies concluded that meaningful work consists of three elements — significance, broader purpose, and self-realization. They go on to say that we are “hardwired to seek meaning.”

Engaging in work that is meaningful is tied to our motivation. It heightens the degree of our commitment. Plus, it influences our sense of well-being.

Meaningful work is a form of self-expression.

For many of us, launching our own enterprise was a quest for authenticity in our work. Our ability to infuse our business with meaningful work is priceless.  It shines a light on the path to pursue and gives us direction. It creates value in growing our business.

What Do You Want to Be When You Grow Up

My career path is a bit of an enigma.

During the era my career was unfolding, it was common to identify a path upon which to travel until retirement. Changing jobs was common. Changing careers was unheard of . . . except for me.

My spouse remained in the same career with a variety of jobs along his career continuum. I’ve experienced three major career changes in my lifetime (to date).

On the surface, it might seem as though my quest for meaningful work — from Registered Nurse to Small Business Coach/business owner, with a stop off in sales/business development, began with throwing a dart. Trust me, there were times I thought the same thing!

Yet, as I reflect upon the shared passion, purpose, and motivation, all three career choices reflect a common thread — “the golden thread.”

The Golden Thread

Did you know that gold can actually be threaded into a cloth or garment? Like a prize running through a vestment, it won’t tarnish or lose its value. Though it’s not in your face, it catches the eye of those around you. That’s certainly true of your golden thread.

Your golden thread is your meaningful work.

If you reflect back far enough, you’ll see your golden thread woven into early childhood memories — from the make-believe games you played (I played doctor) to your early career choices (I wanted to be a nun).

The golden thread is the one glowing filament that weaves together the stages of our lives. It’s a theme that plays continually in the background regardless of the seemingly disparate — and perhaps often — career changes.

And, when you tug on your golden thread throughout the course of your day, it’s a reminder of the meaningful work you are called to do. It fuels the purpose of your business. It sparks passion in your work. More importantly, it shapes the decisions you make.

Instead of robotically creating products and services in response to market needs, plucking away at your golden thread gives rise to products and services with deeper meaning, influence, and significance — for you and your clients.

It gives meaning to your work. And, isn’t that really what it’s all about . . .

What is your golden thread? How do you express it in your business?

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Brooke Billingsley

Vice President
Perception Strategies

Synnovatia is a strategic coaching firm that is detailed and knowledgeable about business. i have a small business that grew from $150K to $750K because of the goal setting and resources that Synnovatia provided. It saves me years of learning on my own.

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