9 Keys to Changing Your Life and Workplace Satisfaction
“Meaningless inhibits fullness of life and is therefore equivalent to illness. Meaning makes a great many things endurable – perhaps everything.” – C.G. Jung
When I was a younger man, and a boy, I had what I thought were some of the worst jobs in the world. For example, one winter I worked at a ski area. My job was dragging frozen fire hoses across ski slopes so the snow maker dudes could make snow when God could not or would not. If you don’t believe hell can freeze over, I assure it can if you’re a snowmaker.
I remember countless jobs I thought were dead end places to exist; dishwasher, landscaper, apartment and house painter, and farmhand. Looking back on all the supposed dead-end jobs I had, there’s one lesson I wished I could have learned much sooner; every job had purpose and meaning only when I could be self aware enough of that simple fact.
The Problem with Work Is Us
Did you know that over 70% of workers in America who respond to human resource surveys on workplace engagement reveal they aren’t engaged in their work. Workplace engagement is one measure of how meaningful and connected we feel when at work. If you had surveyed me while dragging a frozen fire hose across a tundra in New Hampshire when I was snowmaking grunt, I would have told you I’d rather be dead than come back to work most days.
Here’s the flip side of workplace engagement from a 2018 Gallup survey:
“The percentage of ‘engaged’ workers in the U.S. — those who are involved in, enthusiastic about and committed to their work and workplace is now 34%, tying its highest level since Gallup began reporting the national figure in 2000.”
The Solution Lives Within You
If you’re one of millions of people who feel little or no meaning at work, and you’re not sure of your life or professional purpose, this article is for you. If you don’t see all of your troubles at work and in life happening because of how you think, think again. The universe works as a mirror and reflects who we are..
I encourage everyone I advise and coach in the workplace to go inside to create meaning, purpose, and alignment with our employers by changing how we think, act, and feel. You can create more satisfaction, better health, happiness, meaning, and job opportunities by working on yourself.
No matter how bad you believe your job might be, here are 9 lessons I’ve learned that may help you learn to love your work and life.
- Practice radical gratitude. A job you hate is better than no job at all. Be grateful you have work even if you don’t love it, or worse, you think you hate it. If you practice radical gratitude for everything, you’ll shift your mindset to be more positive. When you do this, your energy as a human being will shift into a higher gear and new opportunities will show up if you believe in goodness. If you don’t believe in good stuff, how can you expect good stuff to happen? You can’t. So choose to be grateful for everything starting now.
- Open your heart and mind. How can you learn to be more open-minded and create gratitude, meaning, and significance in life even if you hate your job? Practice being more self-aware and mindful. Mindfulness may seem like all the rage, but the reality is when you learn to be more self aware of your thoughts, environment, and how you treat others, good things can and will happen. The bottom line is we get to choose how we think about everything, especially work.
- Think more like Bruce Lee; be like water. One of my favorite quotes is from Bruce Lee, the famous martial artist and movie star. Imagine you are like water and learn to choose the path of least resistance. You learn to go with the flow instead of resisting what you think you don’t like, such as the supervisor or boss you believe is a jerk. Choosing your thoughts doesn’t mean controlling your thinking. If you’ve ever tried to meditate and felt attacked by your monkey mind, you know how futile it can be to control thinking. Instead of worrying about controlling your thinking, start pretending you’re the observer of your thoughts, much like a surfer who loves to sit on her surfboard waiting for the next waves. She lets the less desirable waves go by and seeks to ride the one that will give her the best ride.
“You must be shapeless, formless, like water. When you pour water in a cup, it becomes the cup. When you pour water in a bottle, it becomes the bottle. When you pour water in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Water can drip and it can crash. Become like water my friend.” – Bruce Lee.
- Practice the Serenity Prayer. One of the best prayers is the Serenity Prayer which goes like this: “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.” Just like when you practice radical gratitude, mindful awareness, practice acceptance of what is. You can’t change the world or other people, only how you respond.
- Start believing in yourself and good things will happen. One of my favorite books is The Biology of Belief – Unleashing the Power of Consciousness, Matter & Miracles by Bruce H. Lipton, Ph.D. Dr. Lipton is a pioneer in the science of Epigenetics which basically reveals what we believe affects everything. If we are all products of our environment, and we view our workplace as being toxic or undesirable, it will affect our health. Your belief system affects everything!
- Become a better leader of yourself. Have you ever known someone who believed the boss was a jerk at work? Most of us have had the unpleasant experience of working with jerks. But unless your boss is a psychopath or narcissist, start being a better leader yourself by deciding you don’t want to be the jerk at work. If you practice what I suggest and shift how you think, feel, and believe the world is around you, you’ll start becoming a better leader of yourself. Everyone can become a better leader by emulating the leaders we love the most reading books, embracing new and positive habits, and choosing to improve how we show up at work, during the commute, and when we home to the people we love the most; family.
- Be a servant warrior; give more of yourself by serving others. Humans are wired by nature to help others. That’s one reason most of us feel better when we help someone by volunteering. Minor acts of kindness can make all the difference. Start being more kind with yourself and you’ll more easily be kinder to others. You can’t be to others what you can’t be to yourself. And you don’t have to be a selfish, mean jerk to yourself or anyone else if you realize how much it holds you back from getting what you want like a better job, a promotion, or finding more meaning and joy at work.
- Never stop improving yourself. It’s your life. It’s your job. How does everything happen to you and the rest of us? It’s all about how we see, feel, and behave. You have a choice to make each moment of the day good. Choose to be a better you by reading positive books, watching positive movies, hanging out with positive people, connecting with positive role models, and believing that everything that happens to you is because of how you view yourself and the world.
- Love work now. Even if you don’t like your job, start loving what is. Love is the greatest power of all, and we need more love at work and everywhere in between. Love what is. Love it all!
In closing, I hope you find at least one idea that will help you today. You can learn to love your work, even if you hate your job. If you don’t have a job, your job is to position yourself and market yourself for the next best opportunity, even if it’s making snow.
My personal experience has been that I once believed most of my former jobs were dead ends. But that’s a bunch of nonsense now that I’ve learned over many years to practice radical gratitude and the other habits I’ve suggested for you.
You can love your work even if you hate your job by looking in the mirror right now and choosing to be the new you. Practice often and never, ever give up improving yourself.
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