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Finding Focus: Map Your Meaning

As we begin a new year it seemed like an opportune time to write about the importance of making sure we account for the things in our life that underscore what we stand for, what we believe in, and what fulfills us most. It is those (sometimes little) things that fuel our minds and souls the greatest.

What gets you out of bed in the morning? What do you think of before you fall asleep? What ideas drive your day?

In my most recent posting, I wrote about the books I’ve read that helped shape me in 2017. In one of my picks, Shawn Achor’s Before Happiness, the author proposes that we all have an insatiable need for meaning, for a purpose. According to Achor, our brains begin to map the world from a young age, not based on facts, but on meaning. Each mile marker signifies a moment that can lead us to happiness.

According to Achor, “Meaning markers are what point us in the direction of opportunity and possibility, steer us toward a state of positivity and full engagement, and highlight crucial intellectual, emotional, and social resources.”

In the intentional culture five-part workshop series I developed and delivered, based largely (not entirely) on the research-backed skills from Before Happiness, we explored the concept of meaning markers, the importance of them, and how they can (if reviewed often) lead to a purpose-driven life.

In introducing this significant but abstract strategy I found the participants struggled with being able to put it into practice. In the pursuit to make it relevant and actionable, I created a template that could be customized to include all areas of one’s life.

As Achor points out, we need to be sure to create success routes by mapping out a number of meaningful areas in our life, not just one. For many of us, we may put too much focus or importance on one corner. Work is a prime example where too much emphasis is on that one corner, thereby overlooking family, spiritual, mind, body etc.

As we begin a brand new year, full of aspirations and promise, take the time to take note of your meaning markers, whether mentally or by writing them down, that will lead you to a life full of purpose.

Always remember, your focus determines your reality.” – George Lucas

If you would like a copy of the customized meaning markers template, simply click the button below to download it for free.



Michelle Mariola is founder & managing director of ISH-Productions, a Chicago-based branding and marketing company whose mission is to help emerging to mid-market companies develop their marketing strategies and brand identities as well as advancement through culture coaching, leadership development, workshopping, and team engagement exercised.

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