It Matters: The Science and Practice of a Meaningful Life


A New Master Class

The Science and Practice of a Meaningful Life

Led by Michael F. Steger, PhD
Associate Professor of Psychology and
Director of the
Laboratory for the Study of Meaning
and Quality of Life
Colorado State University.

8 Wednesdays at 1:00 pm Eastern
Other Time Zones
Began Wednesday April 8, 2015
8 classes of 60 minutes each
Every Class Recorded
ICF CCEUs (RD) Fully Available

stegerQuestion-and-Answer Call with Michael F. Steger, PhD on this Meaningful Life Class (Recorded Live 4/6/15)

Listen to this wonderful interview with a large, global audience. We had to use our back-up recording system so it starts a minute into the call. Mike covers questions about meaning, about how his work informs his parenting, about how the class will cover interventions for increasing meaning in life, and much, much more.

Recording: Click here to download the MP3

Mike Steger, PhD, is one of the world’s leading experts in the scientific study of meaning in life. He is Associate Professor of Counseling Psychology and Applied Social Psychology at Colorado State University, Director of the Laboratory for the Study of Meaning and Quality of Life, an award winning teacher and co-editor of Purpose and Meaning in the Workplace. In this February 2014 interview, Mike fields questions from Ben and listeners from around the world about his thoughts on the critical importance of meaning in life, his research and his own life (80 mins). Click here to stream the interview or download the mp3 here.

1. About This Class:

fallWe have enjoyed an invigorating past decade or so, from the launch of positive psychology to the blooming of a vast and diverse science of living a good life.

As science has grown beyond positive emotions and life satisfaction, a restless search has continued, probing into ancient virtues, like love, and ancient practices, like meditation.

Yet if you pay attention, you see that one term has been used to add gravity and depth to the intended destination of all this fascinating science.

A happy life doesn’t seem to be enough anymore. Researchers and practitioners alike catch our attention with promises of A Meaningful Life.

This class both explores the influential scientific work of Michael Steger and his colleagues on meaning and features exercises and practices that you can employ from Day One.

Topics of study include meaning and purpose, resilience and hardiness, mental and physical health, meaningful work and interpersonal connections, life planning and life review.

Through this course, you will master the newest research from leading labs around the world, including Michael Steger’s own Laboratory for the Study of Meaning and Quality of Life.

You will also learn to use both emerging and lab-tested tools and systems for finding, developing, and sustaining meaning in your life and the lives of those you work and live with.

2. The Eight Weeks:

sunsetWeek 1: Without Meaning, What Is There? See meaning as the fundamental cornerstone of how we can get the most out of–and give the most to–a full, rich life.

Week 2: Where Does Meaning Come From? Take a tour of the idiosyncratic and universal wellsprings from which people have drawn meaning throughout history and around the globe.

Week 3: Meaning and Calling in Our Working Lives: Discover how to use the science of meaning in organizational settings to enhance motivation and commitment while creating better workplaces

Week 4: Meaning and Health: Learn to view the relationship between meaning and health as a metaphor for the challenges and enduring rewards of pursuing a meaningful life.

Week 5: Meaning is Shared: Understand how our connections to others and to our culture provide powerful levers for building and using meaning.

Week 6: Bounce Back! Meaning-Making and Resilience. The origins of meaning science rise from hardship and tragedy. Learn how meaning-making fuels resilience and hardiness.

Week 7: What’s in a Life? Revitalize your awareness that you are, after all, living an entire life, and learn to avoid common pitfalls of modern life.

Week 8: Tending Your Legacy: Embrace the wisdom that someday we will cease to exist but that many things we value will continue on, and explore how to pass along your lessons for living a meaningful life.

3. What You Will Get Out of This Course:

libraryYou will get in on the ground floor of an exploding science–where at least 50% of the empirical research has been published since 2005–that is gaining traction across multiple industries.

You will gain advanced and thorough expertise in the science of meaning, expertise that will allow you to deliver deep solutions to clients and elevate above the common empty promises of competitors.

You will learn the enormous benefits of a meaningful life, including better health, relationships, performance, and happiness.

You will join a passionate and thoughtful teacher–the author of the most widely-used meaning in life questionnaire in the world–to dig deeper than books and headlines to reveal new avenues of growth, health, and fulfillment.

You will practice both in-depth and quick-hit exercises for cultivating deeper meaning for yourself and others.

4. Who Should Attend?

springThis course is for coaches, therapists, consultants, teachers, business professionals, leaders, change agents, managers, entrepreneurs, estate and financial planners, and all those who seek evidence-based paths toward greater health and happiness, whether for themselves or for those with whom they live and work.

5. Readings

The course will cover meaning in all life domains. For meaning in organizations and work life, there will be two primary texts– Purpose and Meaning in the Workplace, co-edited by Michael F. Steger and Make Your Job a Calling by Bryan Dik and Ryan Duffy. For meaning in other life domains, Mike will post relevant research articles and videos on the class’ password-protected website as the class progresses.

6. What People Say About Mike as a Teacher


An ideal master class needs more than a world expert in the class’ subject matter. A great class requires an extraordinary teacher as well. See what both students and professionals say about Mike as a teacher:

“Thanks so much for sharing your research and doing so in a fun, interesting way. You are so funny and engaging. So many takeaways so many notes I wrote…main takeaways to put more focus on meaning in my life and also to share this with my clients and the important people in my life. This will also help me be more of the role model I want to be to my three sons, nieces and nephews.”

“Excellent presentation. Balanced theory with life examples and theoretical models.”

“Thoughtful, engaging, intriguing presentation.”

“A wonderful combination of data-backed observations and a sense of humility.”

“Made sense of a rather abstract concept and made it concrete. I think I can do this in my life so what you shared is very practical.”

“Exceptional ideas on how to build and enhance the meaning in my life and how to help my students. Great examples and energizing style.”

“He has a great way of presenting science in an interesting way. The questions he received were complex and he answered them very well.”

“Makes the study of meaning real and practical. It feels doable now. Namaste.”

“Appreciated the humor and honesty of your talk.”

“You’re an introvert?!! No way. Your humor added so much to the presentation.”

“An awesome teacher. He made class fun and the material, fascinating.”

“Effective teaching. Very funny. Interesting material. Relates so well to students. This is material that is useful in life.”

“A stunningly good class. Mike is fun, approachable and witty.”

“Best class I have ever taken.”

“Extremely effective. Also funny and asks penetrating questions so we were always engaged.”

“Honestly? Everyone looks forward to this class.”

“The best professor I’ve ever had.”

“Definitely the best psychology professor I’ve ever had. He makes an already interesting class even better. He’s funny and makes it worth it to come to lecture.”

“An amazing teacher. Funny, super smart, and he encourages class discussions.”

“A great teacher and a superb class. I would definitely take it over again if I could!”

“A great presenter! Such an interesting class. I love the way he teaches!”

“Knows how to makes class fun, interesting and enjoyable.”

“I absolutely loved the teacher.”

What Makes Life Meaningful: Michael Steger at TEDxCSU

7. Private Class Webpage


We’ll be using a password-protected class website that will be your home on the web for this class. In advance of each session, we’ll post Mike’s power points in multiple formats, relevant articles, videos and blog entries. Then by Friday evening, we’ll post the recording from that week’s class as well.

In addition, there will be a private listserv for the class that will allow students to make comments and post questions during and between classes.

Want to check out the Class One PowerPoints? Just click here.

Real-time Questions During Class. Students will submit questions to Mike real-time via email during the class. When he pauses for questions, Ben will read the submitted questions to him.

Every class is recorded. By the day after each session, you’ll be able to listen to the class recording online or to download a digital recording of the class to your computer and MP3 player (eg your iPod).

Thus, when you have a conflict with a particular class, you’ll have the recording, PowerPoints, and readings, and you won’t miss a thing. For the Authentic Happiness Coaching™ Program, some students had ongoing conflicts and listened to the entire class by recording. We anticipate that a number of Mike’s students in this class–for example, those living in Australia and New Zealand–may decide to experience the class entirely by recording, still emailing in questions to him between classes. (And they’ll even be able to earn ICF CCEUs (Resource Development).

8. Class Time


1:00 pm Eastern (New York time)
12:00 pm CST (Dallas)
11:00 am MST (Denver)
10:00 am PST (Berkeley)
7:00 am HAST (Honolulu)
5:00 pm UTC (GMT/Zulu)
6:00 pm BST (London)
7:00 pm CEST (Geneva)
7:00 pm SAST (Cape Town)

8:00 pm IST (Tel Aviv)
9:00 pm GST (Dubai)
10:30 pm IST (Mumbai)
1:00 am PHT Thursday (Manilla)
2:30 am ACDT Thursday (Adelaide)
3:00 am AEDT Thursday (Melbourne)
3:00 am AEST Thursday (Sydney)
5:00 am NZDT Thursday (Auckland)
Other Time Zones

9. Class Schedule

10. Open to All

There are no prerequisites for this class. It is open to all, both within the MentorCoach Community and without.

11. Tuition

Single Payment
$609 (+ optional CE fee*)
For CE information, see #14 below.

Monthly Payments
Three monthly payments of $218 (+ optional CE* fee)
For CE information, see #14 below.

*The CE fee is $75. Only register for CEs if you are a licensed mental health professional in the US and need CEs from one of the organizations listed in #14 below. Otherwise, when you register, indicate that you do not need the CE fee by choosing the “Base Unit Price with NO CE’s” registration option. (There is no fee for ICF CCEUs.)

12. Coach Certification

diplomaThis class provides eight hours toward MentorCoach Certification as an elective for students meeting the class attendance requirement (See #15 below.) It can also provide 8 hours toward ICF Certification via an Accredited Coach Training Program such as MentorCoach or via the ICF Portfolio Approach.

13. ICF Coach Continuing Education

career4Live Class Attendance. This class is also approved for 8 CCEs (ICF Core Competencies) from the International Coach Federation for students meeting the class attendance requirement (see #15 below). There is no fee for ICF CCEs.

Listening by Recording. For students who will be listening to Mike’s classes by recording, this class is approved for 8 CCEs (ICF Resource Development) from the International Coach Federation for students meeting the class attendance requirement for listening by recording (see #15 below).

14. CEs

This class is approved for eight hours of CEs for social workers (NASW), licensed counselors (NBCC), and Marriage and Family Therapists in California (BBS). The CE administration fee is $75. CEs for psychologists (APA) are not provided for this class.

To receive credit for CEs, students must pay the CE fee and be present for 6.5 classes.

Note: The CE fee applies only if you are a licensed mental health professional in the US and need CEs from one of the organizations listed above (NASW, NBCC, etc.) Otherwise, when you register, indicate that you do not need to pay the CE fee by choosing the “Base Unit Price with NO CE’s” registration option.

15. Attendance Requirements

attendance2Every class is recorded. You may listen to some or all of the classes by recording at your leisure.

However, to receive credit for CEs, ICF CCEUs (Core Competencies), credit toward MentorCoach Certification, or to receive a Certificate of Completion, you must be present for 6.5 of the 8 classes. (How do you receive attendance credit for half of a class? By being present only at the beginning or end of a class.)

Listening to the class by recording does not count toward the attendance requirement for receiving CEs, credit toward MentorCoach Certification, ICF CCEs (Core Coaching Competencies), or a Class Certificate of Completion.

16. Listening by Recording

hottubEvery class is recorded. Some students may listen to some or all of the classes by recording at their leisure, sometimes emailing in questions to Mike between classes. We applaud and support this practice. We know one well-known Australian professor who used to end his week listening to the recordings of Chris Peterson’s lectures on Friday evenings, drinking white wine and reclining in his hot tub.

Note: Listening to all eight sessions of the class by recording DOES qualify the student to receive 8 hours of ICF CCEUs (Resource Development). For students who will be listening to Mike’s classes by recording, this class is approved for 8 hours of ICF CCEUs (ICF Resource Development) from the International Coach Federation. To qualify for these ICF CCEUs, students must listen to all recordings and submit all class attendance codes by June 4, 2015. They may also be asked to pass an open-book exam over the course content.

17. Refund Policy

You may withdraw your registration at any time before the beginning of the second one hour class and receive a full refund. You are responsible for the full tuition amount if you do not withdraw before the beginning of the second class.


steger2Mike Steger, PhD, is Associate Professor of Counseling Psychology and Applied Social Psychology and Director of the Laboratory for the Study of Meaning and Quality of Life at Colorado State University and is widely considered to be one of the world’s leading experts in the scientific study of meaning in life.

He received his BA from Macalester College, his MS from University of Oregon, and his PhD, with a dual specialization in counseling and personality psychology, from the University of Minnesota in 2005.

His graduate work on developing a measure of meaning in life earned him the Best Dissertation Award from the International Society for Quality-of-Life Studies.

Mike has spent more than a decade researching the factors that promote human flourishing and ameliorate psychological suffering.

In addition to serving as Associate Editor for Journal of Personality, Mike serves on the editorial board of numerous journals, including the leading journals within positive psychology, such as Journal of Positive Psychology, Journal of Happiness Studies, and Applied Psychology: Health & Well-Being. He has authored more than 90 peer-reviewed journal articles, book chapters, and scholarly publications.

The main emphasis of Mike’s research is on understanding how people find meaning in their lives and how they benefit from living a meaningful life. This line of research led him to develop a measure of meaning and purpose, the Meaning in Life Questionnaire, that has become the most widely used measure of meaning in life in the world–now been translated into over 30 languages.

His current research examines the role of meaning in people’s health, including their engagement in health-risking and health-promoting behaviors. He also has a line of research that explores how organizations and leaders can become more effective through fostering meaningful work and creating healthier, happier, and more productive workplaces.

What has Mike’s research shown? People like the idea of meaningful lives, but they apparently don’t like talking about it. In general, when people find a larger purpose behind the things they do and believe, they are more resilient in the face of difficult life events. And, supporting the findings of Positive Psychology’s founding father Chris Peterson, relationships matter most of all.

Besides his many articles, Mike’s published works include two books co-edited with other positive psychologists, Designing Positive Psychology: Taking Stock and Moving Forward (2011), and the recently-released Purpose and Meaning in the Workplace. He enjoys speaking and providing workshops around the world on the topics of meaning, purpose, meaningful work, calling, and psychological strengths.

Mike lives with his wife and two children near Colorado State University. “I started thinking about the assumptions I had seen written into stone in the small town in southwestern Minnesota where I grew up,” he says. “What if everybody thought about the assumptions they made in their lives? If people lived a little bit more intentionally, we would have a better world to live in.”

He applies what he’s learned about positive psychology to his own life, savoring every chance he gets to wander into the Colorado mountains, and reminding himself what really matters by spending a good quantity of quality time with his family.

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