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  • Anna Weltner

Cultivating wonder for a more meaningful worklife

Our theme this month is Cultivating Wonder. We’re exploring ways to enjoy more wonder, awe, and enchantment in our everyday worklives, starting with these recommendations from our very own MeaningSphere Guides. 

A woman smiles and looks through binoculars

In April, a solar eclipse across the North American continent had umbraphiles from around the world flocking to the path of totality. And for a magical few days in May, solar winds and magnetic turbulence caused the aurora borealis to be visible in unusual places, dazzling people from England to Hawaii. It’s no secret we humans are actively seeking beautiful, transcendent experiences. Now it’s June on our spinning blue planet. How will we be moved this month? Where will we get our next fill of awe, wonder, and enchantment? And what does this have to do with how we experience meaning at work? That’s the big question behind our June theme: Cultivating Wonder. 

But first: what is wonder? As a noun, the Oxford English dictionary defines it like this: “A feeling of surprise mingled with admiration, caused by something beautiful, unexpected, unfamiliar, or inexplicable.” We humans can experience wonder when confronted with things outside our comprehension, when overwhelmed by aesthetic beauty, and when novel events or situations pull us out of the everyday and into a state of joyful awareness.

The moon during an eclipse.

In a state of wonder, we’re fully present, unable to ruminate on how we might have faltered during a recent presentation or fret about our unanswered emails. A growing body of scientific research is also demonstrating that awe-inducing experiences lead to something called “the small self” or “the shrinking self,” a state of diminished self-importance in which we feel calm, content, and more connected to others and the natural world. Experiencing things that move us, in other words, can make minor setbacks or office politics appear unimportant in the grand scheme of things, allowing us to focus on what really matters.

In her new book Enchantment — this month’s MeaningSphere Book Club pick — Katherine May explores wonder and awe as an antidote to her growing fatigue, isolation, and anxiety in a frantic post-pandemic world. Unable to focus on her work, she laments, “I feel strangely empty, devoid of thought and energy. I am not sure where my days go, but they go. Every single thing I must do—any hint of a demand—grinds against me. I resent it all. I want to be left, quietly, alone.” 

However, her state of burnout gives way to this insight: “There has been a yearning in me that I'm only just beginning to understand, a craving for transcendent experience, for depth, for meaning-making.” 

An image of the galaxy.

The apparent tension between this yearning for transcendence and the necessities of a working life is what inspired this month’s theme. While grand spectacles like a solar eclipse or the Northern Lights are certainly thrilling, we’re also considering more “everyday” ways to connect with what moves us. Quite literally, in fact: Our downloadable June 2024 calendar contains a helpful prompt, question, or activity for each weekday this month to help you explore how to integrate wonder, awe, and enchantment into a working life.

 So as we head into the summer months, let’s reflect on the role wonder can truly play in the pursuit of meaningful work—and how, instead of simply waiting for the next awe-inspiring event, we might cultivate small “wonders” every day. 

Recommended reading on WONDER from your MeaningSphere Guides 📖

Nine ways to cultivate Joy at Work,” by Annie Barrett 

“This article lists ‘seek out awe’ as one of nine ways to experience joy in the workplace. Joy at work is about being connected with what you do and why you do it. It is the feeling of success and fulfillment that comes from doing work that matters. It connects us with colleagues through a sense of shared purpose.” 

— Marjan Heitman, The Hague, Netherlands 


“Both of these articles are about the importance of creating wonder in our lives. Both talk about things that I do normally in my life (or at least I try to do). For me, the most important thing about cultivating wonder is that when you stop to admire something much bigger than yourself, you start seeing your life from a different perspective. It automatically invites you to reevaluate and rethink the importance of things, substantially increasing your peace.” 

— Luiz Veloso, The Hague, Netherlands 


A man's silhouette as he stands hear the ocean at sunset.

Who are the MeaningSphere Guides? 🧐 

Simply put, Guides at MeaningSphere are people from different walks of life who've had success in navigating the world of work. They are trained to use the results of an assessment tool called the Meaningful Work Inventory™ to help you unpack what matters to you at work. Over the course of an hour-long session, you’ll unpack the areas of your worklife that truly energize you, and those that are dragging you down. Then, you’ll work together to create an action plan. 


🚨 Free stuff alert: If you’ve been wanting to book time with a Guide, now’s a great time! Since this service is still in beta, we are offering it for free with the purchase of the Meaningful Work Inventory report. That’s an hour-long, personalized session included in your $20 purchase. Tell your friends!  


A woman's hands as she holds a butterfly or moth.

Get inspired with our June events! 😎

We are offering three virtual community events this month to help you unpack, explore, or deepen your relationship with wonder for a meaningful worklife. Click to learn more about each, or to sign up! 

It's often during the most uncertain times that we discover our true strengths, develop resilience, and innovate in ways we never thought possible. So let's transform uncertainty into a catalyst for growth! 


If you've never been, a Meaning Circle is a guided, small-group session where we unpack big topics related to finding meaning at work. We don't have the answers here: the learning comes from the group's focused reflections, facilitated by a trained host. 


In our fast-paced, goal-oriented world, it’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and overlook the small moments that make life truly meaningful. Together, let's explore how cultivating an awareness of everyday beauty can enhance our well-being and deepen our engagement with the world around us. 


In Enchantment, Katherine May explores the power of wonder and awe as an antidote to burnout and exhaustion. This work promises to hold many practical revelations for those who are wondering how our worklives got so frantic and isolating, and how to improve our wellbeing by connecting back to the natural world and to one another. 


Join us in a cozy, facilitated discussion inspired by the key themes in this book. All are welcome, even if you haven't read the book. 


Please note, the Meaningful Work Inventory is currently only available in the United States. We hope to change that soon!

Photo credit: Pexels



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