What is LifeWork and LifeWork Planning?

This page is 60% done. 

What is LifeWork?

The first part of this post lists the National Career Development Associations definitions of common use terms like career, career
development, work, drudgery, vocation, occupation and job.

At the end of that post, I define lifework as "a special kind of "work" that rises out of your dreams. LifeWork elevates "work" to a higher emotional and spiritual plane where you fulfill your dreams or your destiny or what you were meant to be/do, or you find your "voice" or your calling or your soul's code."

(Other's who use the term "LifeWork or Lifework").

Your voice

See http://lifeworkps.com/hubbard/weblog/229.html

80% - What is LifeWork Planning?

As cited above, I define one's "LifeWork" as being more than just a job or a career. Thus, "LifeWork planning" is a little more involved than "career planning".
Courtesy of

In some places I combine "career" and "LifeWork" together in the phrase "career/LifeWork" because I want entice readers to do a little more than career planning.

LifeWork planning helps you to answer questions like ...
  1. What is my purpose in life, what am I meant to do?
  2. What is my calling - my soul's code?
  3. What is my mission in life?
  4. What am I passionate about?
  5. “Never let the odds keep you from doing what you know in your heart you were meant to do.”  - H. Jackson Brown Jr.

Other resources

  1. 40% - Ref. this article on ePortfolios and Counseling High School Students
  2. Other's who use the term "LifeWork or Lifework planning".
    1. http://www.facebook.com/LifeWorkPlanning
  3. A FB album about images/posters about LifeWork planing.

20% - Flow



What is a LifeWork Planning (e)Portfolio?

A portfolio is a collection on work. An (e)portfolio is an electronic portfolio.


Why should I do LifeWork planning?

In a word "joy".

Your LifeWork is work that gives you joy.

And the work that you enjoy doing is what defines your LifeWork.

You should do career/LifeWork planning to increase the chances that you will find joy and meaning in the work you do throughout your lifetime.

Make your dreams your LifeWork. 

6/27/2014 - Article on HOW DO WE FIND MEANING AT WORK?   

LifeWork Planning 


The National Career Development Association (NCDA), in their 8 page PDF document "Career Development: A Policy Statement of the National Development Association Board of (Adopted March 16, 1993; revised 2003)", has the following definitions. (NCDA gave me permission to create this html version.)

  • "Career development" is the total constellation of psychological, sociological, educational, physical, economic, and chance factors that combine to influence the nature and significance of work in the total lifespan of any given individual. 
  • "Career" is the totality of work -- paid and unpaid -- one does in his/her lifetime. 
  • "Work" is sustained, conscious paid and/or unpaid effort, other than that having as its primary purpose either coping or relaxation, aimed at producing societally acceptable benefits for oneself and/or for oneself and others. 
  • "Drudgery" is involuntary effort to produce benefits for oneself and/or for oneself and others undertaken out of perceived necessity rather than personal choice. 
  • "Vocation" is one's primary work task at any given period of life. 
  • "Occupation" is one's primary work task in the world of paid employment.
  • "Job" is an identified set of duties and responsibilities -- paid or unpaid -- assigned to be performed usually on a sustaining, ongoing basis by one person. "Position" is a set of competencies (skills and knowledge) required as a component of the overall mission of the agency, organization, or setting in which the position exists. 
With these definitions, NCDA's conceptual view is that any given individual has only one "career" even though she/he changes occupations, vocations, positions, or jobs several times.
"Work" is the foundation in career development, and "... represents the need to do – to achieve - to know that one is needed by others and is important. Work is a major way for individuals to recognize and understand both who they are and why they exist in terms of making contributions to society that bring personal meaning and satisfaction to them. It is when persons regard what they are doing as work that productivity is maximized. Without work, the best a job can provide is economic security benefits -- which may not be enough to motivate the employee to perform in a maximally productive manner. The goal of career development is ensuring that the individual finds work as well as a job."
LifeWork is a special kind of "work" that rises out of your dreams. LifeWork elevates "work" to a higher emotional and spiritual plane where you fulfill your dreams or your destiny or what you were meant to be/do, or you find your "voice" or your calling or your soul's code. 

Only a small per-centage of the world's population experience their LifeWork. The rest don't because they have not acquired the tools or taken the time to discover their LifeWork. 

Self-assessment, self-awareness, self-knowledge, self-reflection, etc. is important, and essential/critical to learning what makes us tick and doing career/lifewrok planning. This takes time and discipline. LWPS (will) offer the tools and the place for you to do your self-assessment over your lifetime. 

Covey, The 4 Steps to Finding Your Voice

More definitions that need to be integrated into the above

My apologies for this post being so messy. I will clean it up in the future.

The best deifintion of "LifeWork" appears in this article THE CAREER IMPERATIVE by Mark C Ward.

NCDA defines "work" as "... sustained, conscious paid and/or unpaid effort, other than that having as its primary purpose either coping or relaxation, aimed at producing societally acceptable benefits for oneself and/or for oneself and others." and "career" as "... the totality of work -- paid and unpaid -- one does in his/her lifetime." 1

I believe that there is a type of work that goes beyond this definition of work or career and is the fulfillment of our dreams or our destiny or what we were meant to be/do, and where we find our voice or our calling or our soul's code. 

I call that term LifeWork.

The following resources provide similar or supporting definitions of "LifeWork' or other terms..

  1. This page 39 in "What color is your parachute? for teens" does a good comparison of  "career" with "job".
  2. all activities throughout your lifetime which enhance your own life and the lives of others. ... Jobs or careers can end, but the need to continue to grow, develop, and express our self continues. "Lifework" better represents the collective experiences we have over a lifetime that make us who we are. ... Few jobs or careers can encompass all of what constitutes who we are. ... what provides meaning and satisfaction can change over time, as our life circumstances and responsibilities evolve, necessitating changes or adjustments in our lifework activities. (University of Minnesota's CCE)
  3. The chief or entire work of a person's lifetime. (answers.com)
  4. the principal work of your career (OLLA)
  5. the work to which a person's life is devoted; most important work of one's life (yourdictionary.com)
  6. the entire or principal work of one's lifetime; also : a work extending over a lifetime (mw1.merriam-webster.com)

Each quoted text above was copied from the referenced website on 4/14/2008.PPT -

See also LifeWork and combinatorial uses of words life, work, and career

1 NCDA defines career development, career, work, drudgery, vocation, occupation, and job in this PDF document. I received permission from NCDA to convert it to this webpage.

"LifeWork" defined (GD)

The best deifintion of "LifeWork" appears in this article THE CAREER IMPERATIVE by Mark C Ward


This article precisely captures the essence of my definition of LifeWork. 

This article precisely captures the essence of my definition of LifeWork. I received permission to reprint it here as a hedge against it being removed or relocated from its original location in www.Moneyweb.com.

THE CAREER IMPERATIVE Mark C Ward 27 May 2010 20:53 On calling and Life's Work
You owe it to yourself never to settle for a mere job, writes Mark C Ward. 

You walk into customer services department. You see all the representatives sitting in their cubicles. It is immediately evident. Some have energy, commitment, engagement. Others are tired and have a dull look in their eyes. The former are on purpose, going somewhere, and aligned. Despite an apparently humble designation they are doing more than mere work. Customer service is for them a vocation. For the latter group, it's a job.

When the sales team is assembled, some come in focused, energetic, and happy to talk about the pipeline, prospects, closing deals, gross profit or margins and so forth. Even in bad months they are driven and engaged. Others drag their feet into sales meetings, make excuses about the numbers, and find reasons why their pipeline is empty. For the former the sales game is a vocation, for the latter it's a job.

The word vocation actually means calling ("vocation" comes from the Latin vocare, meaning ‘to ‘call"), and although calling is a dangerously misleading term, I think that a distinction between a mere job and ones life's work is an important one. Let me say at the outset that ones life's work or vocation can change over time. Case in point: Bill Gates is one. He is the leading philanthropist in the world aiding many causes with his millions in spare cash. Is he on purpose? You bet! But then was he not on purpose when building Microsoft? He was, but his vocation or purpose changed. It changed because he changed as part of his naturally unfolding process towards maturity. We can have more than one calling during our lifetimes, of that I assure you.

Job vs Vocation and True Work

A job is functional, mechanical - the ‘what' of what you do. It involves a job description, measurements, key performance indicators (KPIs in HR vernacular) and is concerned with outputs. A job might be tolerable, even occasionally enjoyable but will never be inspiring or fulfilling on a deep level. It is simply a regular activity performed in exchange for payment. A vocation on the other hand is born out of following what one loves and seeking a connection with personal meaning and purpose. It involves inspiration and stimulation. A vocation is the work arising from following a "calling" - the term for an occupation to which a person is mysteriously or inexplicably drawn to.  It comes from within and always has as a quality true engagement of mind and spirit. As the old cliché goes, if you love and are passionate about your work, you actually never work a day in your life. Then work becomes a channel for mind and spirit to freely express yourself. A reservoir of energy is unleashed. Untapped strength of will and inner power are accessed. So finally, what is true work? When you are expressing the best that is within you with love, creativity, passion and spirit - that is true work.

Our duty to ourselves

I have said all that, to say this: each and every one of us is in fact called, and the calling is not to some profession or end game, but rather to the journey, the pursuit of our own unique place in the world. We are called to find our life's work, and to venture out on a path entirely unique. One of my favourite fables concerns the Knights of round table, summoned to go out into the forest and look for the Holy Grail. Without being instructed to do so, they each found the darkest place in the forest they could find where no path existed, for they did not consider it honourable to walk in the footsteps of another. Rather they were internally summoned to carve their own unique path in the forest. And this then is our summons, our duty to ourselves. We are called to find our unique contribution and to pursue it with integrity and steadfastness in a world that seeks conformity, predictability and security. By heading this calling, you can be sure that you will find your vocation and when called to account for what you did with your life, you can answer from a place of satisfaction and knowing that you have done what you were meant to do.

*Mark C Ward (BA, M.LPD) has been a management consultant and executive coach since 1995. He is a director at JUMP Human Resourcing (www.jumphr.co.za). For coaching enquiries or suggestions write to him at mark@careercoach.co.za

This article was originally printed here in www.Moneyweb.com on May 27, 2010. On May 30th, I received permission the Editor in chief to reprint it here.

Misc. items to be integrated herein

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