Four ways to be fulfilled at work
Many people have become conditioned to only live for the weekend. Even worse, people 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 fulfilling career. This couldn’t be further from the truth.
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. However, it is fully possible. In my work with corporate teams and organizations, I have seen far too many employees struggle with this.
The saying is true that if you don’t figure out what you want to become, someone else will define it for you. Unfortunately, this most times leads to individuals working unfulfilled and far below your potential.
Regardless of the various job roles held in my lifetime, I have been fortunate enough and fulfilled in the same career for close to 17 years (and counting) – training and education. I will spare the long details but the fact is this: no matter what job or employer I landed, I always somehow made my way into doing some type of training and speaking at or for the company. 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 career (and life) compass to help point you in the right direction. Let’s take a look:
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 purposes 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.
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.
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.
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). Does your current job pay off on the top few of each pillar? 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?
These are tough questions, and it might be valuable to go over them and the results with a close friend, a trusted manager, or a life coach. Most people have never done this exercise and are surprised by how far off the M.A.P.S. they have let their careers take them.
With this new-found knowledge, you should feel empowered to 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 to bear? Can you do the passionate things you love on the side while earning a living to support it? Can you talk to your manager or human resources person about how you can incorporate some of your new awareness into your current position? Do you feel the need to look for something new or begin your entrepreneurial journey?
Fulfillment at work is everything. It’s where you spend most of your life. Create your MAPS, write your growth plan and take action today.
If you want to create a career, business or life that fulfills you daily, you might be interested in my upcoming “Make it Real” masterclass – a proven program that brings success and fulfillment within your reach. To express your interest, email me at email@example.com.
• Keshelle is a multi award-winning entrepreneur, corporate and business trainer and the chief executive officer 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 fulfill 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.