Invest in Meaning—Negotiate a Life that Matters

By Terri Klein

September 27, 2015

A nugget of wisdom I would love to share:

You don’t find your calling or your purpose in life; it finds you.

Your calling unfolds and emerges over time. However, what it does require is a path to find you—to meet you where you are. And how do you create that path? I believe through reflection, intention, and action.

Once your passion reveals itself, it never lets go. It drives you, fuels you, and fills you up with a newfound energy and flow. And, what is most comforting to know is that it can be forever trusted. So, on those days when you temporarily fall off-track, you can be rest-assured that your underlying drive will sustain you until you’re able to recalibrate and get yourself re-aligned and back on track.

It’s like the pilot light in your fireplace, which stays on indefinitely. Your calling remains a spark in the background, waiting to be ignited in any moment—it’s a continuous source of empowerment and inspiration.

My calling as author, speaker, and coach took years to unfold and continues to evolve. More specifically, my coaching niche seems to have unfolded for me over these past few months of study and exploration. I have delved into the topics of sadness and uncovering happiness and I have been led, over and over again, to the topic of personal meaning.

I have recently come to the following realization: life produces unhappiness—human beings experience unhappiness; it’s a part of the human condition. Life does and should hurt. So either you equip yourself to deal with its challenges or you find yourself suffering and struggling to survive.

I have studied happiness research for many years, and I am well aware that there are an abundance of tools and strategies to increase happiness levels. But what continues to show up, repeatedly, is the significance of becoming a meaning-maker—of sculpting a life that matters.

Just last week I stood at the grave of my dear mother and wept happy tears, remembering a phenomenal woman who negotiated meaning in her world every day. She knew what mattered most to her, and she invested in it. She honored her core values as often as she could, and in so doing, created a legacy that will live on in her dear family and friends for eternity.

Upon my dear mother’s passing, more than six years ago, I began to investigate my real priorities, and eventually defined most of them. I let go of should, supposed to, and the expectations of others. I began to live by my standards, values, and convictions.

Although this list has grown and evolved over time, the essence has remained the same. And now that I have taken inventory of my core values, I can properly commit to honoring them, and in turn, help others find and honor theirs.

The fastest route to real happiness is through living a meaningful life—a life that matters. And this can only happen if you are infusing meaning into your life on a regular basis by aligning your thoughts and actions with what matters most to you.

Become the sculptor of your life, by carving out and negotiating meaning. Become the author by writing the script that feels best, whatever the circumstances of your life. Don’t repeat the narrative that isn’t working or reinforce the story that hurts so much to tell.

Your passion cannot find its way to you, until you take the time to self-reflect and assess your core values.

What do you value more? Which one FEELS better?

  • Mood or Meaning?
  • Anger or Acceptance?
  • Frustration or Forgiveness?
  • Poison or Peace?
  • To be Petty or to seek out Priority?

Ask yourself the powerful questions. Better yet, ANSWER THEM!

  • What do you wish to be your legacy?
  • How do you want to be remembered?
  • What, in your DNA, is meant to be honored?

According to Viktor Frankl, Austrian neurologist, psychotherapist, Holocaust survivor, and author of the book Man’s Search for Meaning: “Between stimulus and response there is a space, in that space lies our power to choose our response, in our response lies our growth and our freedom.”

Recognize the power of choice, and choose well. Rethink your life around your truth—your core values. But first, uncover them, thus giving your passion an opportunity to find you. A coach’s support would be most worthwhile in assisting with you this investigation.

In sum, reflect, in order to define your core values, and then commit to honoring them and infusing them into your life. Purpose has been proven to be a natural anti-depressant and an immune system booster.

Rumi wrote, “Make regular visits to myself.”

Remember to pause throughout the day and open your eyes to what really matters. Invest in meaning—it’s the best investment you’ll ever make!

Coach Terri


  1. My most prescious sister, what a beautiful message you imparted. I am so very proud of you honey. Keep them coming, I will always make sure to read and respond as you words are so relevant and really hit home. Love always and forever your favorite brother!

  2. thank you for the never-ending stream of nuggets.
    so lucky to have you:)



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