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10 Tips to Help You Love the Job You Have Now

10 Tips to Help You Love the Job You Have Now

Do you feel like you’re caught between a rock and an ergonomically incorrect office chair?

When it comes to your job, do you ever feel like happiness and success can’t coexist? I get it. I’ve been there. If you can’t seem to find joy in the workplace, it’s easy to blame the job, the people, or the culture. Maybe your job isn’t right for you. Maybe it is. Wouldn’t you love to figure that out once and for all before you jump ship?

No matter what your career, there are 10 ways to find more joy in your 9 to 5.

 1. Figure out your why

What brought you to this job in the first place? When you enjoyed it, what were you doing differently? This trip down memory lane creates awareness. It allows you to see what works and what doesn’t work. Equally important, it allows you to see the difference between where you are and where you’d like to be.

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2. Get a good reason to stay

Motivation can sometimes feel like a roller coaster, but your ability to push through the discomfort of staying is only as strong as your reasons to do it.  Set a goal and decide what you actually want to get out of this job (beyond the paycheck):

  • Do you want to learn more about your field?
  • Do you want to learn how to manage a team?
  • Do you want to learn how to resist the office candy jar?

Whatever your goals are, find compelling reasons why they matter to you. There’s a big difference between “I want to climb the corporate ladder” and “I want to be able to implement my ideas from a position of authority.” Make your reasons dramatic and sexy. If they don’t move you, nothing will.

3. Clean up your side of the street

Your job doesn’t define you, but how you do it does. Do you really want to be the person who does a half-assed job? Or do you want to be the type of person who does their job with concern and care? Sure, you can’t control how others act and whether your positive behavior will get you noticed. But your experience at your job isn’t about recognition, it’s about how you feel about what you bring to the table. That doesn’t just apply to your assignments, but to how you interact with your coworkers. Before meetings, set an intention to be your best self. Decide ahead of time to curb your reactivity, keeping your desired goal and outcome in mind.

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4. Find fulfillment

When you are engaged and challenged, you feel fulfilled. Quit waiting for something interesting to happen. Make it happen yourself. What can you do to be more proactive? Can you ask for an interesting assignment? Can you negotiate some changes in your job description? Your productivity hinges on your happiness. Go ahead, ask for what you want instead of taking what you can get.

5. Get some crap out of the way

If you’re anything like me, it’s hard to enjoy what you’re doing when you’re stressing over the piles of paper and unread emails waiting to be read. Set aside 15 minutes each day for housekeeping and organization. Breaking daunting projects into smaller tasks will help you move things from the “to do” list to the “did do” list, creating space and energy to tackle the projects you actually want to do.

6. Incorporate what you love into what you do

What are the things you’d be happy to do and never get paid for? What are the things that excite you? If you enjoy being the go-to person for advice, it doesn’t mean you have to quit your job and become a therapist, it means you should include that talent in your day-to-day. And remember, your talent might not be what you do, but how you do it. A good friend of mine has the ability to break things down into logical pieces and build them back up again in a new way. His strange way of looking at things makes him successful in his career. And if you think being competitive will increase your chances of success or happiness, think again. You’re more likely to find fulfillment if you use your talents to support others alongside you.

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7. Work with people you love

While you may not be able to change your coworkers, you can seek out people you enjoy working with. Tackle projects with those you connect with. Are there clients, companies, or donors you enjoy collaborating with? Get creative and think outside the box.

8. Get a little selfish

Set some boundaries. Whether it’s asking people to knock before they enter or not checking your work email at home. Boundaries create sanity. Often, the thing that will allow you to love the job you have is leaving your job at the office.

9. Make self-care a priority

At work: take breaks, avoid eating at your desk, and leave at a reasonable time. At home: get sleep, eat well, do things you love. While these may seem obvious, they impact our health, happiness, and productivity.

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10. Acknowledge your accomplishments

Did a great job? Fantastic! At the end of the day, come up with one thing you did well. Self-validation is the key to self-fulfillment. Ultimately, if you decide to love your job, you’ll love it. If you decide to hate it, you’ll hate it. It comes down to choice. Which will you choose?

Featured photo credit: http://www.lifehack.com via lifehack.com

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Last Updated on December 3, 2019

7 Powerful Steps to Achieve Career Success

7 Powerful Steps to Achieve Career Success

I often hear people say, “I want to be successful but don’t know where to start” or “I’ve achieved career success yet I’m not happy.” And then I ask, “what does career success mean to you?” And many have a hard time articulating their response with much conviction.

It’s common that people lack clarity, focus, and direction. And when you layer on thoughts and actions that are misaligned with your values, this only adds to your misdirected quest to achieve your career success.

A word of caution. It’s going to take some time for you to think about and work on your own path for career success. You need to set aside time and be intentional about the steps you take to achieve career success. In my opinion, this step-by-step guide is apart of your life philosophy.

1. Define Career Success for Yourself

Pause. Give yourself time and space for self-reflection.

What does career success mean to you?

This is about defining your career success:

  • Not what you think you ‘should’ do
  • Not what people may think of you
  • Not adjusting to friends and family’s judgements
  • Not taking actions based on societal or community norms

“A flower does not think of competing to the flower next to it. It just blooms” – Zen Shin

When you strip away all your external influences and manage your inner critic, what are you left with? You need to define career success that best suits your life situation.

There’s no fixed answer. Everyone is different. Your answer will evolve and be impacted by life events. Here are a few examples of career success:

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  • Work-life balance
  • Opportunities for growth and advancement
  • Feeling valued that my contributions had an impact

Now even as you reflect on the examples above, the descriptions are not specific enough. You’ve got to take it deeper:

  • What do you mean by work-life balance?
  • What do you consider to be opportunities for growth and advancement?
  • How do you like to be recognized for your work? How do you know if your contributions have had an impact?

Let’s take a look at some potential responses to the questions above:

  • I want more time with my family, and less stress at work
  • I want increased responsibilities, to manage a team, a higher income, and the prestige of working at a certain level in the company
  • I’d like my immediate leader to send me a thank-you note or take me out for coffee to genuinely express her or his gratitude. I’ll know I’ve made an impact if I get feedback from my coworkers, leaders and other stakeholders.

Further questions to reflect on to help narrow the focus for the above responses:

  • What are some opportunities that can help you get traction on getting more time with your family? And decrease your stress at work?
  • What’s most important for you in the next 12 months?
  • What’s the significance of receiving others’ feedback?

Now, I’m only scratching the surface with these examples. It takes time to do the inner work and build a solid foundation.

Start this exercise by first asking what career success means to you and then ask yourself meaningful questions to help you dig deeper.

What types of themes emerge from your responses? What keywords or phrases keep coming up for you?

2. Know Your Values

Values are the principles and beliefs that guide your decisions, behaviors and actions. When you’re not aligned with your values and act in a way that conflicts with your beliefs, it’ll feel like life is a struggle.

There are simple value exercises that can help you quickly determine your core values. This one designed by Carnegie Mellon University can help you discover your top 5 values.[1]

Once you have your top 5 values keep them visible. Your brain needs reminders that these are your top values. Here are some ways to make them stick:

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  • Write them on cue cards or notes and post it in your office
  • Take a picture of your values and use it as a screensaver on your phone
  • Put the words on your fridge
  • Add the words on your vision board

Where will your value words be placed in your physical environment so that you have a constant reminder of them?

3. Define Your Short-Term and Long-Term Goals

When writing your short-term and long term life goals, use the SMART framework – Specific Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound. Treat this as a brainstorming exercise. Your potential and possibilities are limitless.

How you define short-term and long-term is entirely up to you. Short-term can be 30 days, 90 days, or 6 months. Maybe long-term goals are 4 months, 1 year, or 10 years.

Here are a few self-reflection questions to help you write your goals:[2]

  • What would you want to do today if you had the power to make it the way you want?
  • If no hurdles are in the way, what would you like to achieve?
  • If you have the freedom to do whatever you want, what would it be?
  • What type of impact do you want to have on people?
  • Who are the people you most admire? What is it about them or what they have that you’d want for your life or career?
  • What activities energize you? What’s one activity you most love?

Remember to revisit your core values as you refine yours goals:

  • Are your goals in or out of alignment with your core values?
  • What adjustments do you need to make to your goals? Maybe some of your goals can be deleted because they no longer align with your values.
  • How attainable are your goals? Breakdown your goals into digestible pieces.
  • Do your short-term goals move you towards attaining your long-term goals?

Get very clear and specific about your goals. Think about an archer – a person who shoots with a bow and arrows at a target. This person is laser focused on the target – the center of the bullseye. The target is your goal.

By focusing on one goal at a time and having that goal visible, you can behave and act in ways that will move you closer to your goal.

4. Determine Your Top Talents

What did you love doing as a kid? What made these moments fun? What did you have a knack for? What did you most cherish about these times? What are the common themes?

What work feels effortless? What work do you do that doesn’t seem like work? Think about work you can lose track of time doing and you don’t even feel tired of it.[3]

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What are your desires? Try it out. Experiment. Take action and start. How can you incorporate more of this type of work into your daily life?

What themes emerge from your responses? How do your responses compare to your responses from the values exercise and your goals?

What do you notice?

5. Identify ‘Feeling’ Words You Want to Experience

Do you have tendencies to use your head or heart to make decisions?

I have a very strong tendency to make rational, practical, and fact-based decisions using my head. It’s very rare for me to make decisions using my emotions. I was forced to learn how to make more intuitive decisions by listening to my gut when I was struggling with pivotal life decisions. I was forced to feel and listen to my inner voice to make decisions that feel most natural to me. This was very unfamiliar to me, however, it expanded my identity.

Review this list of Feeling Words. Use the same technique you use for the values exercise to narrow down how you want to feel.

Keep these words visible too!

Review your responses. What do you observe? What insights do you gain from these responses and those in the above steps?

6. Be Willing to Sit with Discomfort

Make career decisions aligned with your values, goals, talents and feelings. This is not for the faint hearted. It takes real work, courage and willingness to cut out the noise around you. You’ll need to sit with discomfort for a bit until you build up your muscle to hit the targets you want.

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Surround yourself with a supportive network to help you through these times.

“These pains you feel are messengers. Listen to them” – Rumi

7. Manage Your Own Career

Not to be cynical, but no one can make you happy but yourself. If you don’t take control of your career and manage it like your own business – no one will.

Discern between things that you can control and what you can’t control. For example, you may not be able to control who gets a promotion. However, you can control how you react to it and what you’ve learned about yourself in that situation.

Summing Up

For many who have gone through a career change or been impacted by life events, these steps may seem very basic. However, it’s sometimes the basics that we forget to do. The simple things and moments can edge us closer to our larger vision for ourselves.

Staying present and appreciating what you have today can sometimes help you achieve your long-term goals. For example, if you’re always talking about not having enough time and wanting work-life balance, think about what was good in your work day? Maybe you took a walk outside with your co-workers. This could be a small step to help you reframe how you can attain work-life balance.

Remember to take time for yourself. Hit pause, notice, observe and reflect to achieve career success by getting deliberate and intentional:

  1. Define Career Success for Yourself
  2. Know Your Values
  3. Define Your Short-Term and Long-Term Life and Goals
  4. Determine Your Top Talents
  5. Identify ‘Feeling’ Words You Want to Experience
  6. Be Willing to sit with Discomfort
  7. Manage Your Own Career

“When you stop chasing the wrong things you give the right things a chance to catch you.” – Lolly Daskal

Good luck and best wishes always!

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Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

Reference

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