Did you know that 70 percent of U.S. workers are not engaged at work? This stat made my jaw drop, and also made my heart sad. What in the world is everyone doing all day!? How much innovation, impact, and prosperity is lost because we aren’t present? What opportunities for learning, growth, contribution, joy and connection are we squandering? Whether you just kinda-sorta like your job or are ready to run for the hills (of Bali), I’m talking to you today.
Let’s play for a moment, shall we? Imagine the job market is frozen and whichever “desk” you are sitting behind today will be your desk for the rest of your professional life. No upward mobility, no change in scope of responsibility, no quitting, no going back to school, no new boss, no new staff, no salary increase, no title change. This is it.
Your mission, should you choose to accept, is to find as much fulfillment in your current work-life as possible. Are you up for the challenge? Don’t worry. I’ll help you out!
Get Curious to Get Clear
Your first task is to get curious about what is going on in the now. What about your job is making you crazy or hindering you from playing full out? List the 5-10 most salient items.
Take your list and put a star next to the items that are within your direct control. Then, place an X next to the items that are outside your direct control. For the items you put an X next to, double check it. Ask yourself, “Is this really outside my control or is there an aspect of this dynamic that I am actually in control of?”
Go through the list again and put a circle next to the items that are a what issue and a square next to the items that are a how issue. What issues are related to the actual task, subject, function, etc. How issues are related to the manner in which the what is being carried out.
Take a moment to notice how much of your dissatisfaction comes from things that you actually have the power to change. Notice how much of your dissatisfaction comes from what you are doing vs. how you are doing it. What does this picture show you? What two or three actions could you take right now to create a completely different reality?
Now let’s do an opposite exercise. List all the things you really love (or at least like) about your work. Write down whatever comes to mind first. Your list can include the tasks you work on, what skills you flex, who you work with, where you work, how you are challenged, etc. Come up with two or three things you can do right now to amplify what’s already working.
Grow More, Get More
When we are disengaged in any aspect of our life it is often because two of our core human needs are not being met: growth and contribution. Both are needs of the spirit and are always in our control. So let’s think about growth. Where in your work do you feel you are plateauing? Is it time to learn a new skill or opt yourself into a new project? What about contribution? How are you contributing to the company’s performance in a meaningful way? How are you contributing to others you work with? Are you sharing your knowledge and perspective on a regular basis? Are you managing people? If this responsibility doesn’t come with your job description, think about connecting with someone who might need a compassionate and attentive mentor. It is often the simple shifts that significantly transform your experience at work.
Get Grounded and Grateful
It is so easy to get wrapped up in short-term, self-centered thinking, so let’s take a moment to give context to your current work. How did you get where you are today? What struggles did you have to overcome? Who supported you? In what ways are you living the work-life your younger self dreamed of? What does having this job enable in your broader life? What basic needs are you able to meet? What experiences are now possible? Take a deep breath and give thanks for the privilege of being able-minded and able-bodied to do the work you do. Let this gratitude permeate through your entire being. Feels good, right? Consider implementing a gratitude practice during your lunch break to reset your vibe mid-day.
And just like that, the job market is suddenly back in full swing. You now have endless opportunity to step into the work [and way of working] you were made for. Remember your biggest takeaways from being forced to fall in love with your current work. Take them with you as you keep clarifying what it is that you truly desire in your career. Whether you stay at our current desk, find a new one, or build one from scratch, you deserve to love the work you do in this world (and yes, it’s absolutely within reach!).
Sarah Anassori is a Holistic Executive Coach on a mission to guide the next generation of heart-centered leaders to step into the work [and way of working] they were made for. Sarah seamlessly unites her years of traditional business experience with her passion for mindful living, personal innovation and authentic leadership to bring a strategic and spiritual approach to career transitions. You can find her on Instagram, Facebook and at sarahanassori.com.