The Big Idea
Purpose can be found right now, right here (where you already are).
Questions I Answer
- How do I find meaning in my work?
- Does work serve a higher purpose?
- How do I figure out what goal to set?
- How can I live more mindfully?
Actions to Take
- Start taking notice of the words you use to describe your job. Think about how we talked about the color blue and how that affected what humans were able to see.
- If you are looking for a motivational speaker to talk to your company or group about finding meaning in their work, check out Tanya’s keynote speaking page.
Key Moments in the Show
[02:25] How does the way you think about work affect your productivity?
[06:16] Figuring out what you really want in life
[10:32] Finding meaning in your life and your job
[16:36] Science-backed truth about the words you use affect what you see
[23:36] How to immediately see a difference in how you feel about work
[28:24] An easy way to get started
Resources and Links
- Study cited in the podcast episode about how the Himba tribe can’t see the color blue
- Learn more about how words affect our productivity in Ch 2 of On Purpose
- Related Episodes:
Hello, hello, everyone, and welcome to the Intentional Advantage podcast. I’m your host, Tanya Dalton. This is episode 282. And as you can tell, we are shaking things up. This is a brand new season. And I’m changing a little bit of how we format the show, including at the start of our episodes, I’m gonna come on tell you what we’ll be talking about during the episodes will roll into the music straight into the conversations we’re going to be having this season. I did talk last episode about this brand new season, and I shared that it would be conversations, and not interviews, conversations. We’ll talk about that more in today’s episode. But this first episode of the season, this is a solo episode. It’s just you and me. I like to be very intentional. I love to set the tone for the season. And as you know, if you’ve listened to this podcast for any time, it’s so important for me that I really be intentional with how the season unfolds. So we’re gonna start with an episode talking about the spiritual Art of Work and Life, which is our theme for this season. In today’s show, we’re going to talk about what does that mean spiritual Art of Work in life, we’re going to talk about how it ties into success and money, how to find meaning in your job, what the word work really means. And even how humans couldn’t see the color blue until modern times. Yep. This is all gonna make sense by the end of today’s show. So let’s get started.
There’s a spiritual art to work and life. I’m not talking about sitting in silence on a mountaintop or chanting mantras for hours a day. But finding meaning in your work in everyday life can increase your productivity, boost your happiness, and yes, make you feel so much better about your days. I’m Tanya Dalton, a best selling author, motivational speaker, seven figure entrepreneur, and oh, yeah, wife and mom. So I get it, I understand the stress of daily life. But as a productivity expert, I’m here to help you choose the extraordinary life. This season, we will be exploring work, parenting, personal growth and more. Because when you choose to be intentional, every day can be filled with meaning let’s create the world we want our daughters to live in.
This is the Intentional Advantage.
All right, let’s dive into today’s show. Because I want to talk about this idea, this theme of spiritual Art of Work and Life. What does that mean? What is spiritual? So let me tell you what it’s not first of all, it’s not sitting on a mountaintop chanting for hours on end. It’s not going on a silent retreat. Although both of those are great things to do. It’s really at its heart when we talk about this idea of spirituality when we talk about discovering who we are, it’s finding contentment. It’s being intentional. It’s it’s finding the joy in our everyday lives. It’s not about giving up wanting money. Oh, no, absolutely not. It’s not about giving up success. It’s changing our relationship with success, and defining what you really want. And then living each day with that meaning really understanding what it is you’re doing. Finishing up your days feeling incredible when your head hits the pillow. feeling amazing. And then the big question is, how does this tie in with productivity?
Well, if we take our definition of productivity that we’ve agreed upon that productivity is not about doing more, it’s doing what’s most important, it’s leaning into that idea of what is most important, you know, I want you to wake up and feel excited about your days, I want you to go to your job, wherever that is, whether you’re an entrepreneur or in a corporate workspace, or working for a small business or the CEO of your home, I want you to wake up and feel excited about what you get to do. I want you to find more meaning in the tasks, the activities, the things you’re doing on an everyday basis, I want you to feel really good about what you’re choosing to do. So that’s what we’re going to be leaning into. I feel like in our lives in this time with our society, there is this false belief, especially in our work life, that if you’re not constantly scaling, you are dying. And scaling might be the corporate ladder, going up and getting promotion after promotion after promotion, scaling your business, increasing your revenue year after year after year, if you’re an entrepreneur, but scaling constantly striving for that next level. And here’s the thing, the truth is, not everyone wants to be Amazon, if you’re a business owner, it is okay to want to grow your business to a certain level and stay there.
You know, I do strategy sessions with business owners a lot of times and that’s where we start what is If you really want as the long term vision, it’s okay not to want to be an eight or a nine figure company, or even a seven figure company, it’s okay to choose where you want to get get there, and then create systems, you’re able to do other things. You know, a lot of times, when I see burnout, it’s because people are killing themselves trying to scale. And then when we dive into it, the truth is, it’s not even what they want. That’s not even what they’re desiring their business to do for them. Or if you’re in a corporate job or position, not going after every single promotion, does it mean that you are lazy or unmotivated? It might mean you really love where you are, and you want to stay and expand in that position. It might mean that you have other priorities that you want to do you want to do a great job at work, but you want to have other things that you’re great at as well. I want you to go back and remember that theme of enoughness that we explored last season, the idea of what is enough? And this is us applying that what is enough for you in work in life, what is it you want? That’s the question, I want you to be asking yourself on a regular basis. It’s a theme for my life of what is it I really want and not getting tied to the obligations or the expectations others have for me, but living my life true to who I am.
And to be honest with you, I had an amazing role model in my life. That really modeled this in his My grandfather was a letter carrier, he was a postal worker his entire career. And he had opportunities to move into supervisory roles to move into management. But he opted to stay as a walking mailman. So this is in the day and age when the mail was delivered twice a day. And part of what the mail person did was they would also check in on the elderly make sure they took their medications, you know, making sure that the people in their community were taken care of. So it was a little bit of a different position than what we have today. But he would walk his route twice a day and check in on the elderly check in on the people who were shut ins, he would make sure that everyone was okay. And he loved that he loved that relationship building that he had on his route. He loved the exercise. But one of the big things for him was he wanted to be home early in the day, he liked to be home at three o’clock in the afternoon. Because his afternoons he dedicated his freedom to family things to coaching to leading Boy Scout troops to volunteering in his church. So he led in so many ways after hours outside of his work. And I think that’s really important to to know that it’s okay to want to be more than who you just are at work. And it doesn’t mean that you’re not going to do amazing things at work. I mean, my grandpa was incredible. The community loved him, because he took such great care of them. But he was also very satisfied because he took care of himself in all areas. This was a thing my grandfather never regretted it never regretted that his best friend who was also a letter carrier, he wanted promotions, and he moved up the ladder. But my grandpa was very happy with his choices. I was actually talking to my dad about my grandpa the other day. And here’s what my dad said to me. He said, you know, your Grandpa never wanted riches in the form of money. He wanted to be rich in the kind of life he led, and the freedom he felt of living his life On Purpose.
Meaning and purpose. It can be found right now, right here right where you are. And I think that’s so important to know and understand. At the end of the day, it’s finding meaning and purpose in what you do. And sometimes that means not striving after the promotion, or not scaling your revenue to an insane number. But seeing your value being really clear on what you desire and what you want. I have actually a keynote that’s coming up that I’m speaking at eBay, which I’m very excited about. I love eBay, and how they are a very mission driven company. And in my keynote, this is exactly what I’m talking about with them. How do you find purpose? How do you find meaning right here with your job? Because I think so often it’s easy to see ourselves as well. I’m just one of the cogs in the machinery, especially in a company like eBay, which is global, it’s huge. But every single member of their team adds value. The purpose behind eBay I love I love their mission is we connect people and build communities to create economic opportunity for all. I think that’s really powerful. So getting to speak at their events of their lives. leadership event and show their employees how every single one of them contributes to creating economic opportunities for people globally. That’s powerful. When you understand why you do what you do, when you see how your job, the work that you’re doing on a regular basis, contributes to that that’s powerful, that builds motivation, it builds excitement for what we get to do on a daily basis. And yes, we get to do it.
And I am talking about work. But I’m also talking about life, other things outside of that, you know, but we have this feeling that there is meaning found somewhere else, that it’s in another job, or it’s in another place, or when I get the promotion, or when I do X, Y and Z, we attach this meaning to our goals, as if then we’re going to be happy. And meaning is often not found in another job. It’s not found another place or another career, it’s often found right where you already are, it’s choosing to see it, it’s choosing to see it, meaning and purpose can be found right now, right here, where you already are. I said that earlier, I want to say it again, because I think it’s so true. But there’s so much of a push in our society today, that there’s something better out there for you. And wherever you are now is not good enough, you should be doing more, you should be doing something different. I see this time and time again, with the drive to push everyone to be an entrepreneur. But not everybody wants that not everybody is really cut out to be an entrepreneur.
I feel like there’s this idea that if you’re not stepping into entrepreneurship, if you’re not doing some sort of side hustle, you’re failing my Pilates studio, which I love. I’ve been going to my Pilates studio for like four or five years. Side note here, Pilates has revolutionized my pain, and made it so that my back is in incredible shape. So I’m grateful for my Pilates studio. But the woman who owned the Pilates studio, she was running it because she loved Pilates. She didn’t really love the managing of people and scheduling and all the things that go with it. And I feel like in today’s world, it’s like, oh, you you like this thing, this hobby that you do, or this, this thing that you find a lot of passionate with, you should make money off of that you should start your own business. And for the woman who runs my Pilates studio, who ran it, she recently sold it, that wasn’t fulfilling for her. She loved the activity of doing the Pilates she loved working with the clients. And as you step into entrepreneurship, you’re no longer the one doing the doing, you’re now the one managing team and creating schedules. And it’s okay not to want that. So she sold the Pilates studio to a fabulous actually, they were people who are clients. And she’s going to come back and she’s going to come back as an instructor working with them. Because that’s really what she’s passionate about. That’s not a fail. That is her choosing what it is she really wants. There’s a lot of headaches that come with entrepreneurship. And so don’t feel like that’s what you should want, or you have to want. Just because you’re passionate about something, I see this in education.
You know, as a former teacher, I really get frustrated with all of the talk and the conversation we have about every kid should go to college, not every kid should go to college, not everyone should be trying to attend a four year school because first of all, not everyone is cut out for that not everybody wants that. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to be a mechanic or an electrician or going into the trades. And we act like if people are not graduating high school and going in for a four year degree that is somehow failing. And that’s a lie, that we’re saying we’re using college as this metric for success when a lot of kids don’t really need it, don’t really want it and quite frankly, are not cut out for it. And that’s that the problem is it makes them feel like they have failed and they haven’t failed. They just want something else. And that’s okay. I have friends whose kids aren’t in a four year college. And that doesn’t mean that their kids aren’t happy or succeeding or thriving. They’re going into the technical college or are there they’re spending their time learning a trade that needs to be celebrated. We have to stop forcing everyone’s path to look the same. Not everybody needs to graduate high school, go to a four year college, get married have kids like what’s not working out for us. We have to stop belittling the choices other people make the work that maybe they love maybe they’re really excited about working on cars. I want to be a mechanic. mechanics make great Money, trust me, my car’s in the shop right now, why mechanics doing great. Plumbers make great money, I have a really good friend who runs an HVAC company, which is an eight figure company. And she’s like, man, the trades, they make a lot of money. So it’s not even like they’re trading for something lower when it comes to income. It’s that we don’t lean into these things. Because we feel like it’s not right.
We’re not doing what everybody else is wanting us to do. Go to a four year college, you know, becoming an entrepreneur, or whatever it is, I want you to think about that. What is it you want? When it comes to your kids? What is it they want? What is it that’s best for them? Instead of looking at college as an opportunity for you to show everybody in the world how great your kid is? Let’s really lean into, hey, what do you want? Let’s ask that question of ourselves. And let’s ask that question for the people we love. We are going to be talking about parenting this season, there will be times when we’re talking about parenting, we’re gonna be talking about personal growth. And yes, we’re gonna be talking about work. I want to talk about that last one here for a second. I mean, obviously, we’ve been talking quite a bit about work, but the idea of work even the connotation of that word, and what it means I think so often people think of that word work as like, work, I gotta go to work. And it can be I get to go to work, work can be very fulfilling. But it’s all about how we choose to look at our work.
Because the way that we speak about what we do, that greatly affects our reality. It really does and, okay, right now, you guys are like, Oh, here’s the spiritual woowoo part of things. But it’s true. It totally affects what we see in the world. And it’s this is not spiritual woowoo This is spiritual reality. Our thoughts have a direct impact on our world. And I know that feels totally abstract. So let me give you an example. And I think you’re going to be surprised by this example. Okay.
Did you know that humans could not see the color blue until about 6000 years ago? I want you to think about that. Think about for a lot of people blue is their favorite color, or blue is by far and listen, I’ve done a lot of studying on colors because of my work with starting up Inkwell Press. We do a lot of research, we do a lot of studies, we do a lot of surveys asking people about colors. Blue is probably the one of the most universally loved colors. Very rarely is blue polarizing yellow, very polarizing purple. Oh my gosh, I can’t even tell you the conversations I have with people about purple. Purple is I love it, or I hate it. There’s like, no in between with purple, but blue. Everybody loves blue. But humans couldn’t see the color blue. until recent times in Yes. 6000 years ago. pretty recent. I mean, when you think about how long humans have been on this planet, but what happened was philologists which Okay, that’s your word of the day for today. philologists are that what your scientists who study language, philologists noticed that in Homer’s Odyssey, he describes the ocean as wine dark, and they noticed never used the color blue. So they started scouring different ancient texts, Hindu texts, Chinese Arabic, Hebrew texts, looking for references to the color blue, but there were no references. All the other colors mentioned, but not blue. And they began to realize blue is very rare in nature. I want you to think about plants and flowers. Out of all the plants and flowers, how many are truly a vibrant blue? Not very many. I mean, I think it’s like less than 10%. When you think about minerals and gemstones that are a true blue color. Not very many, even colors, like turquoise could be kind of green, right?
Egyptians were actually the first culture to make blue dyes. And they were the first language to have a word for the color blue. So here’s the big question that they started asking themselves. If there was no word for the color blue. Does that mean they couldn’t really see it? Or did they just not have a word for it? So there’s actually this fascinating study.
Okay, you guys can tell I’m totally nerding out on this, but am I not blowing your mind here? I feel like when I heard about this, it was like, my brain was just, yeah, blown. So there’s this fascinating study from 2006 with the Himba tribe, which is a tribe in Namibia in their tribe. There is no word for the color blue. They have tons of words like way More than we do for green, but no blue. So they have all these different shades of green these words, but they never use a word for the color blue. So scientists showed members of the tribe, they had a circle made up of 12 squares, and each square out of the 12 squares, 11 of them were a green color. And one was obviously a blue. Like, if you and I saw it immediately, we’d be like, well, that’s the blue square, right? But what they did was they asked these tribe members, they said, point out the square that’s different. They didn’t say point out the square this blue. They said, Show us the square that’s different. So 11, green squares, one blue tribe members couldn’t do it. They couldn’t figure out which one was different. Those that did try and guess they often guessed wrong, they couldn’t see that the blue square was different from the green. Here’s where it gets really even more mind blowing, I think. So then they showed them a circle made up of 12 squares. This time, all the squares were green, they were all the same exact shade of green. But one was slightly different from the other leaven, right? This one was like, maybe like one tick of yellow more? Well, like, when you look at the pictures, you or I would be like, nope, these are all the same color. But when they showed the tribe members this image, immediately, they could pick out Oh, that’s the one was more yellow in it. Because they have more words for green, they could see the difference, you or I nope, wouldn’t be able to do it wouldn’t pass that test. We see what we think. I think that’s a really important thing that I pulled from this, we see what we think our brain actively is filtering, right? We know our reticular activating system is filtering, filtering, filtering all the information, all the data that comes into us, and it filters, and it affects our reality, it changes what we see. So whatever we think that’s what we’re gonna see in the world. So here we have a woowoo concept, totally proven, couldn’t see the color blue. Fascinating.
We talk about this idea of your words matter in chapter two of my book On Purpose. But I love this example. And so it’s not one that I included in the book, because I didn’t know about it. I literally just discovered this in the past week. And I think that that is so powerful to understand. Our words truly do matter. So here’s the big question. How do you talk about your work? What words do you use to describe what you do? Or rather, the why behind what you do? I think when we start to really recognize, hey, if I’m talking about my work, if I’m talking about my job, if I’m talking about my life, my kids, whatever it is, with a negative connotation, or words that make it sound terrible, that’s what our reality is going to look like. That is really what we are going to start to see our brain is going to filter for what we are telling it to filter for. And for that tribe. in Namibia, that Himba tribe, it was told to filter for green, not blue. And if we’re choosing to talk about what we do in our world, whether we’re talking about parenting, or work, or our personal lives or our health, and we choose to use words that don’t put it in his best light, of course, we’re gonna see it as terrible and dark and awful. What words are you choosing?
When I do these podcast episodes, I have an AI program, turn it into transcripts I want, I want it always to be accessible so that people can read the podcasts for people who can’t hear or they want to dive deeper. Those are always available in the show notes on my website. But this AI program does the transcripts. And one of the things it does is it pulls out the key words from the episode. So at the top it you know, does the whole transcript and at the top, it’s like here’s the key words from this episode. It notices the themes and the words that I use multiple times. And I started thinking about this and I thought, You know what I need? I need somebody to transcribe what what are my key words that I’m using throughout the day? Wouldn’t that be fascinating? But here’s the thing, after I started to notice this, that the program was pulling out the key words, you know, it started happening, I became much more cognizant of the words I was choosing. And in previous episodes, I started to notice I would say the word, “right. A lot of times I would say sit at a right, blah, blah, blah, right? And I was like, Oh, I don’t like that. So you may have noticed, I’m really cognizant, I’m not using that word, right as much.
This is the same thing that’s really started to happen to me in my bigger world outside of the podcast. as being much more cognizant of what words I’m choosing what words am I using, because we see what we think the words that we use matter and affect our reality. That is when we start getting into the spiritual Art of Work in life, because we are choosing what we get to do, we get to choose what direction our life goes in. So I am beyond excited about the season.
As I mentioned, it’s going to work a little differently. So you heard at the beginning of this episode, I did, it’s called a cold intro, where I introduced the show before the music starts, tell you an overview of what we’re going to talk about, we’ll dive into the music, and then we’re going to have conversations for the rest of the episodes for this season, not interviews, I am not doing interviews, because I don’t want to be me questioning other people, I want you to hear some of these conversations, I am lucky enough to have with the people in my inner circle, I have incredible conversations, time and time again, where we go deep about what it is that we’re doing and why we’re doing it, whether it’s conversations on parenting, or work or any of these topics. And I wanted you to hear some of that, because I walk away from those conversations shifted, I am changed. And it affects how I move through my world. So there’s so often that I have these conversations with these amazing people. And I think, Oh, I wish we were hitting record. And sometimes the amazing people are my best friend, sometimes the amazing people or my husband, sometimes it’s women in networking groups, sometimes it’s family members.
But that’s what we’re going to be doing this season, I am tired. I’m so tired of trying to book people for interviews. You know, I think there’s a lot to be said for when you’re starting your podcast, you really look for who would be impressive guests. And you go after these really impressive guests and you, you try your best to get these people onto your show. And I’m tired of playing that game. I just I want the podcast to be what you need. And what you need is to hear these conversations. So some of these people who I’m going to ask to come on my show, you probably will never have heard of them. They may have not been on other podcasts. But I can promise you this, their words will change you. And I’ve already started really mapping out what kind of topics we’re going to cover. And my list is, quite frankly, more than we could possibly do. In a season, let alone in a year. But I’ve written words, like focus, understanding your intuition, parenting kids differently, leading with grace, having space for emotions at work, bringing your gifts into work, you’re passionate the things that you do defining Why not what you do, getting to the heart of your job and understanding what you want to prioritize work and happiness, making an impact, really, maybe even stepping into philanthropy. But the truth is, this is my brainstorm. We’re gonna see where the conversations take us. I’m gonna meet with each person who comes on the show.
For a few minutes, we’re going to talk about where we think the show’s gonna go to make sure it’s really using your time well, but at the same time, it’s a conversation. So I’m excited about where this is going to lead us. I am so excited about this. I want you to find more meaning in your life in your work in the things that you get to do on a regular everyday basis. This is one of the things I am truly passionate about.
I I love speaking about this, you heard me talking about how I will be speaking at eBay very soon. If you are looking for a speaker, if you are looking to bring in a keynote speaker or someone to come talk to your group, I would love to do that. There’s nothing I love more than getting people fired up about the jobs they get to do. So you can go to Tanya dalton.com/speaking To learn more about having me come and meet with your group, whether it’s an organization, or a foundation, or a company or a corporation. I love to come and speak so TanyaDalton.com/speaking.
Let me give you a quick little momentum builder for today. We talked about the words that we use and how much they they influence our lives. I want you to start paying attention to the words that you’re using. Just start getting really cognizant of like, Hmm, I noticed this is how I talk about work. Or this is how I talk about parenting or this is how I talk about my hobbies. This is how I talk about my time, just start paying attention. And notice if there’s anything you would like to shift or change or adjust, because that’s the first step. That’s the first step to finding that inner contentment, the spiritual Art of Work and Life. And when we have that, when we are excited about what we get to spend our days doing, that’s when we know we’ve got the Intentional Advantage.
Ready to take action on what we talked about on today’s episode? The easiest way to get started is my free take five challenge five minutes a day for five days. That’s it, and yet it will boost your productivity and Double your happiness,
I can promise you 1000s have taken the challenge. Go to Tanya dalton.com/take Five to join or click the link in the Episode Notes. And don’t forget to follow the Intentional Advantage on your podcast player so you don’t miss an episode.
**This podcast for women is designed to help you be more productive. The transcript for this episode is created by AI, so please excuse any typos, misspellings and grammar mistakes.
Tanya Dalton is female motivational speaker on time management, habits, goals and more. To book Tanya to speak at your company event or women’s ERG group, please send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Image for podcast episode artwork is by Josh Hild