Recently, I was talking with a friend of mine, and she was really struggling with her job. She used to love her career field. She was interested in all of the innovations that were coming down the road, and wanted to be a part of it. However, now she has come to view her career as drudgery. She dreads waking up and heading out the door every morning. Work has become boring and without meaning. This seems to be a common theme in many people’s lives. Why do we enter college or graduate from high school with great aspirations, but then quickly become disillusioned with our careers, and our lives?
Most of us spend a minimum of 40 hours a week at work. This leaves only 128 hours left in the week. Ideally, 56 of those hours are spent sleeping, which leaves us 72 hours to spend with family, take care of chores, and hopefully enjoy some leisure time. Many of us spend more than 40 hours a week at work, which us a large proportion of our time during the week. Shouldn’t we enjoy what we do? Shouldn’t we get some satisfaction beyond a paycheck? The myth that work is called work for a reason, and that reason is that it is hard and unpleasant, sets a very negative expectation of a huge section of our lives. What if we could be more positive about what we expect from work? What if we were proactive in creating a work life that is meaningful and made us come alive?
There is a quote that I find very helpful in evaluating what I want to do with my career, which is a vital part of my life, “Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”- Howard Thurman
What if your work allowed you do what makes you come alive? Would you want to go to work? I know I do. The trick is identifying what makes you come alive. Do you remember your dream when you entered college or chose your career field? What did you envision your life being when you were a child? Our lives and expectations change, but being in touch with what makes us who we are and what makes us excited about life is a key to happiness. We all have work we need to do, and we all have a unique set of strengths that allow us to make a contribution to the world. Think what kind of workplace and society we would live in if we all came in with a positive mindset, and really worked to make ourselves and the world come alive. Now that is what I call employee engagement!
Take initiative in your life. There are so many possibilities out there. Identify what you want out of life, and what makes you come alive. Working with your strengths will open many doors.
Let me know, what makes you come alive?