Creating a happy work experience starts on the inside too. Inside you.
I’m hoping that your boss is enlightened, and that the company you work for has a clearly articulated and embodied mission and purpose in the world that you get behind with passion. I’m hoping that your boss (or your brain, if you are the boss) notices when you do things right, when you are in your “zone” and when you need a “just right” challenge.
But just in case you find yourself without the support mentioned above, I do have some suggestions on how you can heavily influence the quality of your work experience. If you have already determined that quitting your current situation is not a viable option for you, then allow yourself to benefit from these 7 tried and true methods for “Loving the one (job) you’re with.”
1. Show up with intention and conviction every day. Intention is a force of nature so when you awaken and imprint the idea, “Today I will look at the world through positive eyes” or “Today I will look for and find things to appreciate” or “Today I will radiate positivity”, you are giving your brain a command it can follow. While these may be a stretch at first, you can start small (“Today I will smile at 5 people” ). Choose your attitude early in the day, and remind yourself of it frequently.
2. Bring your “Best Self” to work. Don’t really know who you are when you are at your best? Ask. Send an email or text to co-workers, close friends and even customers and ask the question “What do I do best?”
The answer to that question when I asked it of my then current customers twenty five years ago helped me form the business I have today. (I called and said, “I want to start my own business, but I don’t know what it is that I do that makes me successful – do you know? What kind of business do YOU think I ought to start?” “What do I do best?” They told me what I did best was take care of my customers and that if I found a way to teach that to others it would be valuable.)
Really take a deep look inside and take a look at what YOU think your strengths are, and then ask others to share what they see. Be prepared to hear some wonderful things and allow yourself to take in the goodness of what they tell you.
Then, take a look at how often you get to bring your best self to work. Not having the opportunity to use your strengths at work can sap your energy and enthusiasm. Take a good look at what you CAN do to bring your best talents to the job you have, even if the job itself isn’t ideal.
Your own creativity at finding places to apply your talents can become a fun activity. Where can you bring your perseverance, your sense of humor, your creativity? After you ask your friends and colleagues what you do best, go to www.VIACharacter.org and learn more about your top character strengths and virtues. This free eye-opening assessment gives you lots of resources to use to make your workdays better. Bring your special gifts to work and put them to work and your job just may look different, your days may just feel more joyful.
3. Ask more questions. If you don’t understand how you fit, or how you play a role in your organization’s success, start asking. We all want to find meaning at work. If you are not connected to the meaning of your work, go look for it.
It’s likely that maybe your boss doesn’t talk about this kind of stuff often. Look, we all get stuck in the minutia – the day to day administrivia that drags us down. Start asking more about the business and its reason for existence. Look for how your strengths fit in. You might be surprised – you could engage and invigorate the mission just with your asking.
4. Find meaning (or make meaning) in your work, either through a connection to the larger vision and your customer’s needs – or through the self satisfaction that comes from showing up each day with the determination to make a positive difference in the lives of others. Customers count on us to enrich their experiences, to solve their problems and see beyond the obvious to the innovative. Happy customers are very motivating!
5. Look for things you like. Put on a positive filter and take a good look at “What’s good about my job….”. Make a long list and focus on the benefits of working. Write that list at least once a week. Perhaps you want to share what you think is good about the company with others. Ask them to share their thoughts of goodness themselves. My clients often purchase a gratitude journal to put in the lobby or reception desk and take joy in writing in it often.
6. Re-structure your job to more suit your strengths. Perhaps you want to ask for some special projects or volunteer to try some new things at work where your strengths will be evident and needed. It might sound scary, but you’d be surprised how many people will listen carefully to what you are proposing and at least consider it. If your job’s not ideal keep an eye out for opportunities in the same company where your strengths might be better used.
7. Focus on enriching your relationships. So maybe the job itself isn’t perfect and you don’t get to use all your strengths – there is still one sure way to have a better work experience, and that is to work on making the relationships you have at work as rich as possible. Make personal connections with others, find out what matters to them, see what you have in common, see how you might help them accomplish their goals.
Happiness often happens in micro-moments of positive connection. As we look for and find opportunities to appreciate and praise others, acknowledge others and their gifts and strengths, we build emotional back accounts and nix negativity, cynicism and sarcasm.
As we look at and speak more about the goodness in our lives we create more positive emotion and begin to flourish. Be open, be kind, be curious, be real. Connect, reflect and celebrate others. Practice kindness and compassion. These micro-moment practices will make your workday experiences with co-workers and customers more pleasurable.
So maybe you don’t have the ideal job, and maybe your leadership isn’t as wonderful as you’d like it to be, you still have the power to create a job you can love – and an experience that elevates you and others.
Use these positivity practices to “love the one you’re with.” The power is in the present moment, make a new choice now.
You are the point of origin.