What does this project mean to you?

One day a project manager at Hanno asked that simple question to all the project members before we started a new project. He wanted to know how we perceived the project to manage our expectations and align our meaning/goal to the project's goal.

Since that day, I have always used the same question for a self-reflection either before taking a new work/project offer or at least every quarter. That question helps me to be more intentional and having a sense of meaning in work.

Sometimes I use other questions, such as why this project/work would benefit me in the long run?

When I received an offer as a design mentor at Bukalapak, I contemplated and sought meanings. I found at least two reasons that finally made me accept the offer:

  • What does this mentorship job mean to me? It has always been my passion to be a mentor. I used to teach dance, and for some reason, in the design field, the heart for helping others develop their skills is still here.

  • Why would this project/work benefit me in the long run? In 2017, I had a plan to start a design school. I did a class pilot for five students. Long story short, I decided to postpone the plan until an unspecified time. Through mentorship at Bukalapak, I think I can learn more about what problems and challenges that designers often face in real work settings. This job could be a valuable lesson for me if, in the future, I would return with my plan for design school.

Since I've been striving to be more intentional and seek meaning, I've found that I could be more able to say no even to interesting or well-paid opportunities. Like an American professional auto racing driver, Kurt Busch, said, I know my priorities lie.

Meanwhile, in another case, sometimes I had no other choice to take new opportunities to get paid. Oftentimes I felt burnt out, but I had to fight instead of flight. However, becoming more intentional and seeking meaning had always helped me reframe my perspective and always find the silver lining. The situation hadn't changed, but at least the way I saw the situation changed.

So, what does [...] mean to you?