If you listen carefully, you can hear the murmur of debate. The debate is whether people should be doing something they love for work. Should people be actively enjoying their work and living out at least part of their purpose in life through their careers?
In 2013, Gallup released some research that indicated 24% of workers HATE their jobs. OK – so that’s a lot of people, but what is more startling to me is that a full 63% don’t hate their jobs but are not engaged and don’t particularly like their jobs. Those numbers are worldwide numbers. It turns out the U.S. has some of the best numbers in the world, with 30% happy in their work, 52% feeling blah and 18% who hate their jobs. Compared to the rest of the world those numbers aren’t AS bad…but come on…they are still pathetic.
Here’s my point: does it really matter? Some would argue that it doesn’t matter. That finding joy, happiness and purpose at work doesn’t matter. Others will argue the opposite. The facts say that unhappy, disengaged people are less productive, take more time off for sick leave, and generally drag down efficiency. I am not smart enough to fix those issues, but I do know this: the healthiest people are the people who are drawn to some core meaning. They are involved in pursuits that impact them and the world where they live in meaningful ways. I am blessed to enjoy a career where I am certain I am doing exactly what I am supposed to be doing for exactly the right reasons that fulfill and energize me. BUT not all areas of my work fulfill and energize me; not all parts of speaking and coaching center and ground me. Traveling is often exhausting but I do it so that I can do what I love. That’s the message I want you to get in this blog. Rigorously find something or somewhere to feel and experience what REALLY matters to you. Be relentless in creating space to live out those things that energize and center you. Here’s a clue: it has nothing to do with stuff.
Here are some suggestions:
1. Do a fearless inventory of your life. Find those areas that distract and dilute your energy, the things that aren’t in alignment with your core values and purpose.
2. Evaluate the extent to which adjustments to the choices you make or the energy you invest could increase your level of engagement.
3. Keep in mind that being fully engaged doesn’t always come from work alone.
4. Focus your energy away from stuff and eliminate any stuff that distracts and draws you away from what matters most.
5. Create at least one silent time in your week. No phone, no meetings, no people. Immerse yourself in gratitude in the stillness.