A practical tool. Simple practices.
Sustainable impact.

What Is The Map Of Meaning?

Based on over twenty years of empirical research in many countries, the Map of Meaning brings into one simple Map the intrinsic drivers that lie at the heart of meaningful work and a meaningful life.

The Map of Meaning is simple, profound and universal. Humans instinctively know what is meaningful to them and what is not.

The Map of Meaning:

  • is not a theory. It’s a rigorously researched and proven tool reflecting human experience of meaning in work and life.
  • helps us make sense of what we experience as meaningful and why.
  • shows us the way to create more meaning for ourselves.
  • gives us language to talk about meaning.

Four Pathways To Meaning

Balancing Life's Everyday Tensions


People experience more meaning over time if they are able to meet their needs across the four pathways.

In our research we found two tensions that relate to meaning: one between being and doing, and one between self and others.

These tensions can lead to too much focus on any one of the 4 pathways which creates a loss of balance, which in turn can create a loss of meaning.

Balancing Being and Doing

We need to find balance between our human desire to look inward and reflect, and our need to act in the world. Being refers to the need to reflect, to make sense of things, and to evaluate. Doing focuses out into the world and relates to our need to be able to act and get things done. For example, it's the tension between someone saying "Why are we doing this? What are we learning?" and then “Right, we've talked enough, let's get on with it.”

Balancing Self and Others

We want to find balance between our desire to focus on our own needs, development and achievement, and our desire for friendship, love, and to help others: an ongoing challenge of meeting the needs of the self, while meeting the needs of others. For example, we want to get on with our own project and also help a colleague; We want to evolve our work without becoming too focused on our own career and losing connection with others at work or at home.



Inspiration & Reality of Self & Circumstances

This depicts the bigger realm in which meaningfulness takes place, which is at any time somewhere between inspiration and reality; between our hopes, ideals and visions for the future and the place in which we currently find ourselves. Both are automatically present in conversations about meaningfulness. Meaning can be lost when the gap between inspiration and reality feels too big. When we can can ground inspiration in reality, we tend to experience more contentment and meaning in the here and now.


A range of options for different needs

We offer a range of ways for you to discover the Map of Meaning to suit different budgets, learning styles and interests.

Want a quick taster? Join a webinar.

Prefer to learn in your own time? Take a look at our self guided learning options.

Interested in a specific topic? We offer a range of short courses.

Wanting support to make some changes in life and work? Take a look at our 12 week meaning-based coaching program or find a personal coach.

Read on to find out more about these different options below.

We run a range of free webinars. Get a brief introduction to the Map of Meaning or join a discussion around specific topics or latest research findings.


The Map of Meaning helps you see more clearly what you already know instinctively. Re-discover your sense of meaning by using these self-guided exercises.


We offer many different short courses and public workshops - e.g., create a meaning collage; use the Map to design a project; explore meaningful ageing or resilience.


Facing a big change? Feeling stuck and uninspired? Meaning Makers is a 12-week online meaning-based coaching program for anyone who wants to create more meaning in their life or work. Do what matters and be yourself.


If you are passionate about creating more meaning for yourself, for the people you work with, for your organisations, Certified Practitioner coaches can support you. Find your coach in your language, region or field of interest.