Imagine waking up every morning eager to go to work! Unfortunately for the vast majority of workers this seems like the impossible dream. And yet, there are those folks who do achieve it. They are invigorated by work and happily head off to work day after day. What is it about them or their work that makes such a difference?
Consider for a minute that you had just won the lottery. What kind of energy would you have when you got up the next morning? How is this different from the way you feel when facing another Monday morning? Wouldn’t it be great to wake every day feeling like you had just won the lottery? You can.
Career satisfaction and success are not simply a matter of the amount of money you makes or the career you choose. The secret to successful, satisfying work is creating opportunities that combine the right mix of skills, challenge, meaning, and financial rewards enabling you to live a life rich – one filled with purpose and meaning.
Here are five secrets to getting the most satisfaction from your career and life:
1. Find a way to use your gifts and talents every day. We are all dealt a hand that includes specific gifts and talents. Nothing is more frustrating than being forced day after day to rely on one’s short suite; to be forced into playing to one’s shortcomings and prevented from doing what one naturally does well.
Ask yourself, “What are my gifts and talents? Which are essential to my overall career satisfaction? Who would value these gifts?
2. Decide what is important about your work. What is important about work varies from person to person. For some people the actual tasks they perform are the most important aspect of work – the kind of work they do matters greatly. Other people are less concerned about the actual work and instead place great value on the relationships they build at work with co-workers and clients. Other people are most concerned with organization’s mission and how it aligns with their values.
What is most important to you, your responsibilities, the relationships you develop, or the organization’s mission? What is it about work that provides meaning? What is most important about your job or career? What do you need to succeed?
3. Identify the kind of challenges you crave. Today it seems that 90% of the working population is burned out, stressed out, or experiencing information overload. It turns out that work that is overly challenging - mentally, physically, or emotionally, as well as work that is extremely boring or repetitious contribute significantly to stress. Surprisingly, boredom can be as stressful as constantly working operating at maximum capacity or beyond!
Ask yourself, “What kind of challenges do I crave?”, “How much challenge is enough?”, “How much is too little?”, “What motivates me?”, “What stressors do I want to avoid?”
4. Determine how much is enough. Given that everything else about your work is perfect, how much and what kind of rewards and recognition make you feel like you are exchanging value for value. How do you want to be rewarded: salary, commission, bonus, time off, healthcare benefits, specific perks? What other forms of reward and recognition are important?
5. Settle for more. It is easy to settle for less. People do it every day. Imagine for just a minute, how your life would be different if you actually settled for more - more fun, more satisfying work, more of what you want out of life. It’s your choice. Go for it!