Did You Look Forward to Work Today?

3 Keys to Finding Fulfillment

For many of us, Labor Day signals the end of summer and the beginning of a new school year. While it might be just another long-weekend to most of us now, it began back in the late 1800’s as a labor movement to improve conditions for Canadian and American workers.

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My understanding is that the Toronto Printers Union was instrumental in creating significant changes. One of the issues they were fighting for was the introduction of a shorter work week; more specifically a nine-hour work day.

After 3 years of lobbying, the union went on strike and marched to Queen’s Park in protest. While changes were not immediate, the “Nine-Hour Movement” began to spread across the country.

Today, Labor Day may be more about celebrating the last days of summer, BBQ and back to school, than a tribute to the labor force of the past. But those early pioneers have had a tremendous impact on our current conditions in the workplace.

Has Anything Changed?

You’ve seen the statistics haven’t you? Over 70% of the employees dislike their jobs and find them unfulfilling. Why is that? I suppose there are countless reasons why people hate their jobs…here are some that I hear about.

  • a difficult boss
  • office politics
  • poor management
  • gossip between co-workers
  • never-ending drama
  • monotonous duties
  • endless meetings
  • unmet expectations
  • long hours
  • lack of boundaries between work and personal time
  • sense of isolation between work and company outcomes
  • lack of recognition/ appreciation from boss
  • not using strengths on a regular basis
  • boredom

Would you add anything to this list?

Finding Fulfillment in Your Work

If you are feeling stressed, anxious or discouraged at work, it could be due to any of the reasons listed above. But what I have learned is that fulfillment in our work happens when the following 3 things are present:

Passion: are you passionate about what you do? what do you love to do? what are you doing that causes you to lose track of time? do you love what you do?

Proficiency: what are you good at? are you confident in your abilities? what do you find easy to do that others find difficult? on what do others ask for your help? is there a clear connection between your abilities and your job requirements?

Profitability: do you feel appropriately compensated? are you making the income you hoped for or need at this stage of your life?

The challenge is finding work, whether as an employee or entrepreneur, that combines all three of these aspects of work. You can’t find fulfillment if only two of these are present.

Passion + profitability – proficiency = stress

Most people feel overwhelmed at one point or another, especially when starting a new job or business. But there are countless ways to improve your knowledge or skill level today. Formal education is only one way to do it. There is a book, podcast or online course for just about anything you can think of. This “First day of school” serves as a reminder that you’re never too young or too old to learn.

One of the best ways to manage stress is to be as prepared as possible. Set aside some time and money if necessary, and work on yourself. It’s a great investment. There is always more to learn so the process never really ends; embrace it. Never stop learning.

Passion + proficiency – profitability = a hobby

There are incredible stories of people taking their passions and turning them into a business idea. But not every hobby has a market. Sometimes a hobby should just remain a hobby. Maybe it’s so specific that it doesn’t lend itself to becoming a business. Or maybe, if you spent all your time on your hobby rather than Saturdays, it would become less fulfilling. Too much of a good thing, perhaps. Allow your day job to fund your hobby and your ability to enjoy it. That’s okay. If you’re not bringing home the income you want, maybe it’s time to consider a side job or business.

Proficiency + profitability – passion = boredom.  

Some people know when they are children what they want to do when they get older. Some struggle their entire lives to find their passion. But just because you are good at something doesn’t mean you should do it. Doing something just because you’re able to or because others expect you to, could lead to boredom and dissatisfaction. If you’re not passionate about what you do, why are you doing it? I’m not suggesting that you quit today. But we have access to information and opportunities like never before. It might be advancement with your current employer or a new role within your current company. Or maybe you start devoting 10 hours a week to a new business idea…put a plan together…take action.  Start something on the side that excites you and see where it goes.

What do you think?

Does your work bring together your passion, proficiency and income? Why or why not?

Feeling stuck? Not sure what to do next? Life coaching can help. Contact me to arrange a free 30-minute discovery call. Lets talk.

 

 

Five Keys To Living Your Best Life Now (Part 4)

I remember the day clearly. It was early 2006 and a severe winter storm was passing through so I bundled up to go out and shovel the driveway. I don’t mind shovelling snow most days, but this time was different. After I was done, I came inside and suddenly I could hardly breath, my head was pounding and my body hurt from head to toe. It hurt for days.

I finally just admitted that I was out of shape. I talked a with a good friend to devise a health plan including joining a gym, but I just couldn’t see how I could fit into my life. He said, “You have to make it happen.” Eventually Kathy and I both joined a local gym and committed to working out 3 times a week. We also began running trails and eventually even completing the 30km “Around The Bay Race” in Hamilton. (It wasn’t pretty but we crossed the finish line.)

A Clear Sign Your Life Is Out Of Balance

That day out in the storm clearing my driveway and the subsequent pain from it, was a clear indicator that something was wrong. My health was not what it should have been because I had neglected it. A reminder that my life was out of balance.

In Gary Collins book, “Christian Coaching”, Chris McCluskey, founder and president of the Professional Christian Coaching Institute describes a very interesting perspective on life balance.

In the diagram below you see a triangle with the words worship, work and play. Chris suggests that after accounting for utilitarian activities like eating and showering etc most of what we do each day can fall into one of these broadly defined activities.

Worship, is time spent at church, personal spiritual activities like prayer & solitude. It could also include volunteering or simply taking time to soak in a sunset or some other expression of nature that causes us to acknowledge God’s presence.

Work, is what takes up a large amount of our time. Work includes our jobs, paying bills, mowing the lawn or buying groceries. “Like worship, work should require something from us as well as something that we get back. It is satisfying to put in a good day’s work, to know the bills are paid, to see the freshly mowed lawn and to have the pantry stocked.”

Play, according to McCluskey is the final ingredient in a well-balanced life. What you consider play will be different from me but whatever it is, it will require focused time and effort and perhaps an investment of money. Whether playing on a hockey team, enjoying a hobby, reading or exercising, play, like worship and work requires something of us. “True play will always feed your soul.”

Where Do Things Go Wrong?

You’ll notice in the diagram that there is an arrow from one word to the other. This is to illustrate how things get off track. McCluskey says that “Particularly in Western culture, we tend to worship our work. That’s what we sacrifice to make the focus of our lives.  It’s where we derive our sense of security and our sense of worth.” We also turn play into work. We often turn play into competition. Winning becomes more important than playing. And when that happens, play stops being play and stops feeding us and fueling us.

I think that’s the main reason I don’t play fantasy sports leagues. There’s one for every major sport. But I never participate because if I did, I’d never be able enjoy another game, just for the sake of the game.

Chris goes on to suggest that we also then play at worship. It’s not a priority perhaps just an after thought. “Consequently our worship doesn’t allow God to fill us. We are starved spiritually.”

“When we worship work, work at our play and play at our worship, we are completely out of balance. Nothing is able to nourish us. Work reaches the point of diminishing returns and play and worship aren’t given the priority they need in order to feed us as only they can.” – Chris McCluskey

Key #4 Live Your Best LIFE Now

“Life balance is not about spending the same amount of time, money and energy on each life area equally. But rather giving each life area the attention it needs.” 

In part one of this series, we were encouraged to assess “every” area of our lives. To score them out of 10. To live your best life now, you need to consider your health, your finances, relationships, career, personal development and spiritual life. Success in one area while failing in another is not success, and not your best life. For example, if you are pouring all your energy into your work while ignoring your health, you are not living your best life.

A balanced life:

  • Allows us to be present; in the moment, free from distraction
  • Allows us to be fully engaged at work
  • Allows us to worship while not being preoccupied with work.
  • Allows us the freedom to play while not being distracted by things at the office
  • Places value on all areas of life
  • Is a result of clear values
  • Is intentional
  • Has a plan for every area of life

So are you living your best LIFE now? Why or why not? What changes would make the biggest difference for you and why? What is stopping you from making those changes?

If you have questions or would like to explore life coaching but you’re not sure where to begin, contact me to arrange an initial free 30 minute call. Let’s talk.

Simply fill out the form below and we can arrange a conversation. I look forward to it.