The conversation was never predictable except for the timing and context. Usually I’d been coaching the exec for five or six sessions. Typically he (always “he”) was in his forties, at the director or vice-president level, very bright and had already made enough money to live his life in whatever fashion he desired. We had fifteen minutes remaining of our planned time so he leaned back, smiled and said something like “You seem to be a very happy, fun guy.” My story line is predictable: “I’m married to a wonderful woman, have three glorious daughters and love my work. My life is very meaningful.” “Meaningful? Tell me more,” was the usual response.
So just this past year when Roy Baumeister and his colleagues took on some “key differences between a happy life and a meaningful life,” I was hooked by the research. Would it confirm my own decisions?