You’ve no doubt run into that strange species, the workis contentis
—it can be found in almost every organization. They’re the creatures who arrive at work every day with a smile on their faces, raring to tackle any challenge that crosses their desk. They sit in an office, just as you do. They receive a paycheck, just as you. But something about them is so radically different. THEY ACTUALLY LOVE THEIR JOB!
You can see it in the way they walk; you can see it in their daily activities and you can certainly see it in their productivity and the quality of their work. Why do they thrive while others languish? The difference is they have found a way to live the life they love. And guess what? You can learn to do the same. Here are 7½ secrets to living a life you love:
1. Be true to your purpose. Take time to identify your strengths and passions. What makes your heart beat faster, your eyes light up with enthusiasm? Do you thrive as a leader? A listener? An encourager? An innovator? An implementer? Complete the following statement: "My purpose in life is…" Once you are able to align your passions with your daily activities, your productivity and level of fulfillment at work will soar.
2. Talk it over. Have an honest conversation with your supervisor and co-workers. Host a discussion about the organization’s mission and vision. Is it possible you have not fully understood the real purpose and importance of your job? Once you recognize how your talents and skills add value to the organization, you may quickly regain respect for your work and feel a renewed sense of purpose.
3. Reestablish written priorities and boundaries for your life. If you truly want to live a life you love you must first determine which parts of life you value most. What is most important to you? Is it your family, health, financial security, faith, hobbies, and so forth? When was the last time you sat down and created a written list of your priorities? Often we allow some parts of our life to squeeze out our favorite activities. Making a written list will help you reestablish priorities that, while important to you, have somehow fallen by the wayside.
4. Reclaim your day. How much of your time each day is spent on accomplishment and productivity? How much time is wasted on unproductive matters? Time to make another list: write down all of the projects you need to complete, then rank each numerically according to its importance. Focus on the tasks that really matter. Simple time management strategies will allow you to feel a greater sense of accomplishment and control, which in turn help you love your job.
5. Do what you like and delegate what you don't like. This boils down to focusing on your strengths. No one is good at everything; we are all born with individual talents. Spend your work day doing what you love and your job won’t even feel like “work.” If you work on a team, have open conversations about how the members can cooperate and collaborate to share responsibilities based on the individuals’ strengths. Try to determine how each person can be most valuable to the achievement of the team’s and the organization’s overall objectives.
6. Clean it up. Disorganization is one of the biggest causes of dissatisfaction at work and at home. Clutter contributes greatly to stress. If you spend many minutes or even hours each day locating documents, files, e-mails and so on, your productivity will suffer. Clutter translates to being out of control; it makes you feel defeated before you even start. Make it a top priority to deal with everything that crosses your desk—either deal with it, file it or toss it. Believe it—all that mess stands between you and a better work experience.
7. Make a decision to embrace change. When was the last time you mastered a new skill? Consider going back to school or taking a training course. The more you know the more valuable you will become, not only to your company but in your own heart as well. If you want to reignite your passion for work, raise the bar on what you expect of yourself. Arrive at the office 15 minutes early to give yourself time to read professional journals and trade magazines to keep up with what is going on in your business. When you read about a superstar in your industry, contact him or her. Create and maintain a network of people with whom you can exchange information and advice. Find out who is on the cutting edge in your industry and ask him or her to be your mentor. Consider becoming a mentor to someone just starting out in your business.
7½. Appreciate what you’ve got. Create one more list: write down 10 things you actually love about your job. Think back to your first day at your company. What were you most excited about? How can you recapture that enthusiasm? Your job may not be perfect, but like much of life, it’s all about what you make of it. Focus on the positive and try to change the negative.
The moral of the story? When you love life first, you will love everything that comes with it—including your job.