What size is meaning?

I believe we all yearn for a sense of meaning in our lives.

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I believe we all yearn for a sense of meaning in our lives. A reason for being here in the world living our life. A central tenet that makes our life make sense. A desire for our impact to be witnessed and to have meant something to others.

Some have a deep and ever present awareness of this meaning and it acts as a cornerstone of their life. Whilst for others it’s more of a reflection point considered from time to time to look back on the past and plan the future.

Whatever role meaning plays in our life, it can feel like there’s a wave of pressure for it to be ‘big’, ‘to change the world forever’ and ‘to impact many’.

This is rooted in beautiful intentions but does it always bring out the best in us and is it helpful for us all?

How often do we hear people saying ‘dream small but so utterly satisfyingly’, or ‘change one person for life’ or ‘impact less people but more deeply’?

We often forget that having a ‘bigger stage’ in life doesn’t make our impact more profound or our talents more special or valued. The journey of going big, if it is not right for us, can leave us drained, make it easier to lose sight of what we are working for and make our light in this world shine dimmer.

Even if we do make it to the much talked about status of ‘global impact’, can we really say it’s less worthy or impactful than truly connecting with one person and changing their life forever? I think not.

I believe finding our size of stage and performing on it in a way that truly means something to our inner home at a soul level is what counts.

I also believe that in some seasons of our life, our stage may be bigger than others and that we get to define it and guide it in a way that makes sense for us each day.

I don’t want a life filled with a hum drum existence that feels mundane, rudderless and irrelevant. Yet I don’t want to feel overwhelmed with a staggeringly big and all consuming meaning that could change the world but will undoubtedly consume me and take up my every thought.

I want to feel on purpose, to feel meaning and for it to guide me and fuel me yet feel at peace in my mind and able to dictate the pace. I want to work hard punctuated by rest, connection, being and joy.

I’ve often felt the pressure to go big, but recognize that I actually feel truest to myself when I’m working one on one with people. For me this takes the form of deeply life changing coaching, nurturing solo retreats or writing in a way that feels like an intimate conversation with one person, you.

I know there are so many incredible people out there that feel the pressure to impact more people. That often feel forced to look left and right to what others are are doing to make sure that they too are doing it. I fear it’s exhausting and starves the world of their uniqueness as well as themselves of true meaning.

I believe there is enough space for us all to be ourselves on the right size of stage for who we truly are. No stage better than the other, all beautifully unique and needed in this world.

How can we compare the life of one person with another and judge if their life has been well lived, made a difference or been meaningful based on its size?

I guess the thing is we can’t. Only they can. Each one of us gets to define meaning for ourselves if we consciously choose to.



Michelle McCartan

Is a coach, a writer and leadership consultant. Her deeply compassionate approach to helping others unearth their true self and find their true work has touched the lives of hundreds of clients from all over the world, from CEOs and MDs to new and aspiring thought leaders, entrepreneurs, creatives, and new mums. She’s the author of two personal development books, The Journey of Me and Inspiration Quotient (INQ) and the co-founder of Wellineux. She is a certified Leadership Coach and qualified Holistic Health Coach. She brings her extensive professional expertise, her firsthand familiarity with her own personal challenges and journey home, and her flexible, empathic nature to her every engagement and interaction, so that every client she serves feels witnessed, seen, and honoured for who they innately are.