Chances are that the adults told you it was a hard fact of life that you had to work, that “playtime” had to be limited, and that if you worked hard you would get rewarded sometime in the future. They may even have laced this message with the story of the Garden of Eden and the concept that God punished man for his sins by making him have to work, rather than letting him just relax all day in the garden. If so, the legacy is that you probably still think of work as a necessary evil, and that true happiness will only come to you at some future point when a project you are currently working on comes to fruition.
However, all the evidence suggests that success will never bring you anything more than fleeting happiness, no matter how hard you strive for it. Happiness is a journey, not a destination. But if you can set about enjoying your work as much as possible (and giving yourself permission to say that you do enjoy it) then you can have success today! Always remember that Workplace Wellbeing is key part of living a truly happy life, whether or not you are paid for it, or if you are a volunteer.
One of the major benefits of coaching is the help it provides people like you to enjoy every aspect of their lives. This includes overcoming any entrenched beliefs that have been putting a block on true happiness and fulfillment.
If you are not currently enjoying your work very much, these are the steps that you can take to help you enjoy it more:
Understanding and reminding yourself about the purpose of your work is essential to workplace wellbeing. Think not so much about what you do (selling, administration, design, etc) but why? Who is the ultimate beneficiary? What would people not be able to eat or do or use if you were not playing your vital part in the supply chain? It is not relevant whether or not you could be replaced, if you left. The fact is that you have a job to do and many people will benefit if you do it well, probably more than you have ever imagined. If you don’t know why you have been asked to something, tell your boss that you will do a much better job if you understand why you are being asked to do it. But make sure you then reward him or her by responding enthusiastically for involving you more fully.
Doing work that you are skilled in and good at is part of the story – as is being willing to go on training courses to keep yourself up to date. But don’t forget to consider how you could make more use of your personal values at work – like creativity, kindness, professionalism or organisational abilities etc. Your annual review could be the ideal time to talk to your boss about how you could mold your job to better match your personality. Limiting yourself to your current job description because “that’s all I’m being paid for” is self-defeating and constricting.
For every part of your job that you don’t like doing, there will be others who would like nothing more than to do that all day! Is there a way for you to delegate tasks, re-arrange workloads with your colleagues, or even persuade your boss to hire someone else to work alongside you? Freeing up your time to do what you are best at could be much more efficient and profitable in the long run.
Part of being a great team player is recognising the vital role that others are playing. It doesn’t matter what you do, you would not be able to do it half as well without others to support you. Thank them on a regular basis – even if they are “just doing their job” you will help make their day and your own too. And if you feel someone is letting you down in some way, try to encourage them and ask how you could help them to improve. This strategy always works so much better than shouting and getting upset. Friendship, optimism and enthusiasm are contagious – but unfortunately so are negativity and complaining! You can play a key role in changing the environment in your workplace, no matter what your standing is in the hierarchy.
Every worker has a customer that they are working for. It might be an internal customer such as your boss or another department; or it might be a paying customer such as someone who comes into your shop of buys one of your products or services. Whether they are internal or external customers, your job would soon cease to exist if they did not “buy” from you any more or went somewhere else for help. Therefore you should thank them for their custom on a regular basis and ask them if there is anything else they need or whether you could improve your service in some way. Thanking your customer lets them know how much you value the work they give you and nothing can help you more to increase your job security and your job satisfaction.
Life without meaningful work can be grim and meaningless. But a life which is only about work can be equally soul destroying. You must make time for yourself, your friends and your loved ones too. Whether the amount you work is in your own hands or is down to your employers, it is critically important for you to address this issue if you don’t currently have a good work-life balance. Coaching can be a great way of identifying the best strategies for making changes in this respect.
Most people underestimate the power that the words they use can have over their moods and the mood of those around them. Every time you use words like “I hate Mondays” or “Thank God it’s Friday” you are telling your sub-conscious that your life would be better if you did not have to work, confirming the things you may have taught as a child. Even though this is not true, if you say it often enough your sub-conscious can start to believe it and send you on a downward spiral of negative emotions and unhappiness. Fortunately the process can be reversed. If instead of complaining, you focus on the things you most like about work and the difference you have helped make to your customers you can start to send yourself on a positive spiral towards a much more fulfilling and happy life.
“Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success.
If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.” (Albert Schweitzer)
© Horizons Life Coaching, September 2018. All rights reserved