Do you remember that feeling of simple childhood joy, like you could do anything you dreamed? Do you remember the many times you were asked as a kid what you wanted to be when you grew up? Without even knowing it, that question probably shaped your current work satisfaction, and it may be limiting your success today.
Many of us have chosen life and work based on childhood dreams and/or the values that someone else held for us when we were young. We assumed that we would be doing what we wanted when we "grew up," yet set off on a path defined more by our early experiences then we ever imagined.
Days turned into months, months turned into years, and we found ourselves stuck doing things we never planned to be doing. Most of us held the (magical) belief that when we "grew up" we would suddenly be on the path that would lead us to our greatest self—even though we never figured out what that path of work success would look like.
We often know a lot about what our families, communities, and even the world define as success, but few of us have really grappled with how we define our work success.
Creating success in our work life is more than just our role as providers and laborers, it includes finding joy and meaning, no matter what our work is, paid or unpaid. It's about finding a way to weave the magic of our dreams into the concrete and tangible requirements of our jobs.
So today we are asking you to take a few minutes to consider what you define as work success for yourself. Most of us have never really thought about it. As you answer the following questions, see if they give you greater clarity to help you determine where you might best thrive today as the unique grown-up you are now.
- What activities inspire you, bring you joy, and make you feel like you are really doing something?
Examples: Working in my garden, teaching my child how to make mud pies, leading my team to success, taking five minutes to work on the poems that I write when I have a spare moment, working alone on something requiring incredible focus and attention. What sets you free?
- Now, relax for a moment and spend a few minutes thinking deeply about WHAT it is about each of these activities that is so satisfying, meaningful, and rewarding.
Examples: I can block out the world and create. I can make a difference in the lives of others. I get my energy and passion from my team's energy and passion.
- Finally, here's the most challenging question: what would it take to increase those activities and experiences in your day-to-day life?
Examples: I could let my boss know I'm scheduling several hours a week to focus on thought work. I will take my lunch break each day to write poetry. I will step up and offer to lead some of our team managers. I will find work that needs someone who can get people working well together.
Let us know what you discover!
Your Coaches and Allies at Carpenter Smith Consulting
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