How to be fulfilled at work
At a recent training session with a private client, I asked the attendees a simple but telling question, “Do you love your job?” More than sixty percent of the employees responded negatively. Unfortunately, this is a common statistic within the workplace.
Many people have become conditioned to only live for the weekend. They have been conditioned to take on jobs that they despise and dread going to work when Monday morning arrives. They think that work is supposed to be work rather than a fun and/or fulfilling career. If that is you, read on.
Your career is something that you create, not a pre-existing role that you step into. It takes considerable energy and drive to plan your own future – unfortunately, not enough people, in my opinion, choose this path.
The saying is true that if you don’t figure out what you want to become, someone else will define it for you. In most cases, this leads to individuals working unfulfilled and far below their potential.
I have been fortunate enough to work and be fulfilled in the same career and industry for more than 16 years (and counting) – training and education. While over that period, I served in many roles, the activity of educating, empowering and inspiring people – on many fronts – has been my consistent and fulfilling area of focus throughout the years.
Jason Theodor, creative writer and speaker nicely summed up what makes a fulfilling career in his article “M.A.P.S. – the 4 Pillars for Creative Job Fulfilment”. It truly provides a compass to help point you in the right direction. Let’s take a look:
1. Meaning. Why are you here (at work)? What drives you to get up every morning? What makes you feel hopeful about the future? This is what really matters to you. Make a list of your purpose, or goals in life. Start with a sentence like: “The reason I work is to…” and fill in the blank. Some possible answers are, “…continue learning,” or, “…get to know amazing, talented people that expand my worldview.” When you are done, rank your list with the most important purpose at the top.
2. Atmosphere. Where do you see yourself? Close your eyes and imagine your ideal work environment. Is it high energy or relaxed? Who are you working with? Or are you working alone? Be specific. What does your workspace look like? Are you working at home, in a shared space? Write it all down. Your surroundings directly affect how you feel. They can inspire you and keep your energy up, or they can drain you of all ambition. When you are finished with your list, prioritize it with the most important elements at the top.
3. Passions. Make a list of the things you absolutely love. These are the things you can’t get enough of. Think of things you love to experience (beautiful art, live jazz band) as well as things you like to create. When you are finished, restructure your list with the items you are most passionate about at the top, to those you are least passionate about at the bottom.
4. Skills. What you are good at? Write a list of your proficiencies, including specific tasks (writing) and social skills (good at motivating others). Remember that these don’t have to be things you like to do, just things you are capable of. If you get stuck, try asking friends, family, and co-workers what your skill sets are. Once you have at least 10 skills, re-write them in order of importance, with your greatest strengths at the top.
Now take a good look at your prioritized lists; this is your new career M.A.P.S. (meaning, atmosphere, passions, skills).
Now, ask yourself some tough questions:
Are you utilizing your best skills?
Are you exercising your main passions?
Are you working in an atmosphere that is conducive to your creativity?
Are you getting something meaningful from your job?
It might be valuable to go over these questions and the results with a close friend, a trusted manager, mentor or coach. Those who have completed this activity with me are surprised by how far off the “M.A.P.S.” they are.
With this new insight, make the necessary changes in your career. For example, can you supplement your current job with a project that brings the top qualities in your pillars? Can you do the passionate things you love on the side, while earn a living to support it? Can you talk to your manager or leader about how you can incorporate some of the desires into your current position? Should you look for something new or begin your entrepreneurial journey?
Fulfillment at work should be important to you because it is where you spend most of your life. Take action by creating your MAPS, developing your unique growth plan and decide to do something about it.
If you would love to work through this process with a qualified, experienced and confidential mentor, contact me at keshelle@keshelledavis to arrange a MAPS discovery session.
• Keshelle is a multi-award-winning entrepreneur, corporate and business trainer and the CEO of the Training Authority. She is the former executive director of the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce, Chamber Institute and an internationally recognized speaker and author. A leading expert in corporate training, technology performance and entrepreneurship, she has helped thousands of people fulfil their vision, obtain mastery and become more productive in their lives. To comment on the article or join her list for free monthly training tips, email firstname.lastname@example.org.