Do you love your job? Do you wake up each day ready to embrace the opportunity to shine? Or are you filled with dread and lacking motivation? Do you feel satisfied with your rewards and your contributions at work, or do you just get by, hoping that things will be different tomorrow?
Working is a part of life, and almost always, people do it because they can’t afford not to. Despite the need for a paycheck, 52.3 percent of Americans are unhappy at their jobs. What’s more, adults employed full time report working an average of 47 hours per week. Given that we spend so many minutes of our lives working, it is perplexing to me as a life coach: So many people are so unhappy, yet stay so long in those roles. I often ask, “If you don’t love what you do, then why do you do it?”
The reasons I’ve heard vary. Many stay to provide for themselves and their families or to maintain a certain lifestyle. Some work to use their education, skills, and training, to feel useful and make a contribution. Others have a desire to help those in need or to support another’s passions. People also stay in jobs because they feel stuck or do not have the courage to change. Some simply do not know what they really want to do. According to a survey from Accenture, 59 percent of women stay at their jobs simply because it is easier to seek advancement in-house rather than start over somewhere else.
When it comes to work, where do you fall?
I think it is important to enjoy what you do. If you do not, then you need to get fierce to find happiness in your work. You matter and your work matters, and people everywhere are longing for meaningful work where they are compensated for their full value. Many people find much of their self-worth in their work, and when it is off-track, self-esteem suffers. Although I do not agree that what you do for a living defines who you are as a person, by finding the right employment, you can create a stronger sense of self. You can gain greater understanding of where you are in your life and the world.
I believe you can find joy in what you do every day by understanding yourself first, deciding what you want to do, and then boldly positioning yourself for a job that is fitting. Imagine, what would it be like to fully show up at your work — strong, powerful, and excited about what you are doing? What would it be like to have meaningful accomplishments, synergizing with those around you — and then be rewarded for a job well done?
How do you want to show up to work every day? Strong or weak? Engaged or detached? Helpful or hurtful? Excited or depressed? You can get the most out of your profession whether you are in transition or have your dream job. Regardless of where you are on your career path, here are eight secrets to assist you in ultimately loving what you do.
- Align your work with your personal values and self-worth. Connect to your own uniqueness and be authentic. Get paid what you are worth and use your assets, strengths, skills, and voice at work. For example, if you value learning, take responsibility for your own growth. Even if it is not being offered to you, take a class or workshop. If you value beauty, make your surroundings inspiring to you.
- Make self-care part of your business plan. Live a balanced life. Set aside downtime, use all of your vacation time, and take advantage of your benefits. Be sure to put your workouts, meditation, and anything else that helps you feel fabulous on your calendar each week.
- Have a positive mindset. Write daily affirmations and choose to be happy, positive, and engaged. Bring your heart to work and show compassion to others. Be responsible for the impact you bring. Never be a victim to a job you think you are supposed to keep, and proactively create an exit strategy if it is not working.
- Find meaning in what you do. A person’s job can play a large role in fulfilling one’s life purpose. It is not only vital to find meaning in what you do, but also to understand your circle of influence. You can share your wisdom and gifts with others so that they can benefit from your brilliance.
- Find your people: mentors, advocates, collaborators, and soul sisters. Engaging in what you love to do and fully expressing that with courage ignites enthusiasm. Building bridges with others and being contagiously passionate raises the bar for everyone else, positively impacting the people around you. Seek connection with others who have similar values. Be sure to protect your energy by staying out of negativity, office drama, and gossip.
- Ignite your creativity. Learn something new that interests you and find new ways to solve old problems. Engage your creativity at work and at home in as many life areas as possible. It will make you happier. For ideas, see my last article, 9 Ways to Excavate Your Creative Self.
- Understand what makes you feel valued and successful. Is it words of affirmation, a title or promotion, more money? Validate your own self-worth, and ask for what you need from others. Create a feedback loop for validation if you need it. Most people want to be appreciated and recognized for their hard work.
- Know where you are going. What’s your endgame? Define your personal “why” and where it is leading you. Create a vision, set goals, and make a personal growth plan for your career.
Whether you stay at home with children, work in an office, are on the road, volunteer, or are retired, I hope you actually like what you do. In fact, I want you to adore what you do each and every day, because when you are at your best, it feels less like work and everyone benefits. As the old adage goes, “choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”
Finally, here are some simple coaching questions you can ask yourself to assess your work:
- Do you adore your work?
- If not, what’s missing?
- How do you show up at work?
- Are you “you” while doing what you do?
- If not, what would make it congruent?
- What are three steps you could take immediately to either find more satisfaction in your current role, or begin to discover what’s next?
For more tips on understanding yourself and getting inspired for your work, you can now download my free e-book, Be Who You Are: Six Ways to Excavate Yourself, by going to Excavive and signing up.
Jennifer Blair is a member of the DailyWorth Connect program. Read more about the program here.