Tag: boss

How to Find Purpose in Your Job

It’s time to look forward to going into work

No one is going to give you the definition of a truly meaningful life. We are simply invited, driven or compelled to create our own.

What does this mean when it comes to our jobs? Presumably, our jobs are there to provide the means of satisfying the first rungs on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs: food, shelter and protection.

What about those higher rungs, the ones that show the mind we can step outside of simply the need to survive?

What about those moments of inspiration and connection with others that speak directly to our core as human beings? Is it even possible to integrate these things into our work life?

To live a meaningful life is to live free from mindless compliance.?51% of American workers do not feel engaged at work. How do we find a job, or convert an existing job, into one that suits our life purpose and brings us joy rather than the bare minimum? How do we stay inspired even while working a job that isn?t our true calling?

Part of the journey to a more prosperous life (and wallet) means reframing the many actions we take on a daily basis. This includes the hours we spend at work. The average person spends 90,000 hours at work over their lifetime. When time is allocated carefully, we can calibrate our lives into a joyful balance of work, play and fulfillment.

The 4 Pillars Of Workplace Happiness

Here are?4 pillars that promote workplace happiness, along with some great examples of mission-driven brands that give purpose to work by giving back to their employees and to the world in big ways.

Well-Being

The way we feel affects our performance at work. One of the first things we can do to ensure a more pleasant workplace experience is to keep the components of internal wellness in check.

It doesn?t have to be complicated. Implement a moment of gratitude first thing in the AM. Take a small pause to listen to the birds sing. Fresh food, enough sleep and moderate exercise are incubators of happiness. When your body budget is in balance, your mind can become expansive.

An expansive mind cultivates resilience, optimism, achievement and pride in one’s work. We have more control over these states than we realize. Trick your brain into a state of optimism by smiling, even if you don’t feel like it. Because of emotion contagion, these ‘good vibes’ will spill onto everyone around you, elevating the work environment. It’s a win win.

Engagement

Going to work should feel like an opportunity to make a meaningful contribution to your job and world alike. When we feel engaged with our job, we feel as though we are being useful, encouraged to challenge ourselves, and able to help others.

When an employee loves the work they do, the whole office feels it too. Autonomy, learning opportunities, performance feedback and use of strengths are all important parts to the happiness equation at work. Even if you are stuck in a cubicle all day bored out of your mind, figure out ways to engage authentically with your work by looking at each task with curiosity. You might be pleasantly surprised.

Pro-tip: Even if you feel ?stuck? in a job you dislike, take small actions steps daily to get you closer to your dream job. It could be something as simple as updating your resume or something more substanscial, like?taking night classes in a subject that fascinates your mind.

Alignment

Your work culture plays a pivotal role in overall job performance and happiness levels. Social elements such as trust and support from supervisors, the competency of fellow co-workers, cultural values and teamwork are all predictors of feeling purposeful at work. Having a trusted circle of friends at work is an incredible source of energy and community.

Pro-tip: Always go with your gut and ask yourself ?how do I feel?? after each day of work. Are you around people that lift you up or tear you down with gossip, or distrust? Considering the lengthy hours we spend in a workplace, the people we surround ourselves with effect the very cells of our bodies. Be wary of bad company and stick close to those who promote a kinder environment.

Satisfaction

Having a stable job and healthy working conditions is paramount to finding your purpose. This include the nitty-gritty like salary and benefits, job stability, ergonomics, respect, fairness, and work-life-harmony. Simply put, choose a job that you would enjoy. While the journey to a more desired place of work often requires stepping stones that are not your dream job, know that these building blocks are helping you reach your long-term goals.

Pro-tip: While you are on the road to realizing your dream job, consider taking on side jobs (aka side hustles) to make some extra money and explore other outlets that could help you hone in on our long term purpose. This could entail selling items on Ebay or even renting your spare room on Airbnb. Who knows what could happen!

Companies That Are Doing It Right

Let?s take a look at some conscious companies who provide positive work environments for people and planet.
  • Companies such as Costco Wholesale Corporation are focused on employee care. ?In fact, this warehouse retailer has become well-known for its above average pay ($13.50 per hour.) Better yet, their CEO James Senegal believes that ?paying your employees well is not only the right thing to do, but it makes for good business.? He’s not the only CEO who thinks investing in people is a smart money move.
  • Nike created a new approach to move past old supply chain transgressions with their ?responsible competitiveness? model. They now aim to focus on the root causes of labor exploitation. They also desire to bring about systemic change to further prevent such abuses. With Nike?s new philosophy, they have become an advocate for improving labor conditions and have also moved to healthier, long-term supplier relationships as well.
  • Patagonia?is an outdoor clothing company, a?BCorp and a trailblazer when it comes to using business as a force for good in the world. They donated their entire $10 million Black Friday revenue towards saving the planet and have one the highest employee satisfaction ratings around.
  • Whole Foods is an excellent example of a company that maintains meaningful relationships with the community in which it operates. They hold ?5% days? where the store will donate 5% of net sales to a local charity, offer loans to local suppliers, and promote high environmental standards across its many stores.
  • Feed was founded by Lauren Bush 9 years ago after her travels across the word. She found a huge connection between nutrition levels and academic and economic performance in communities. For every product sold from Feed, there is a number stamp on it that represents the amount of meals or micronutrient packets provided to children in need around the world.
  • TerraCyle takes recycling to the next level. They create national “upcycling” programs that help companies re-purpose materials that would normally not be recycled. Their goal:?prevent waste from ending up in landfills, incinerators, and our oceans.

Purpose follows passion, passion follows purpose

Achieving fulfillment in your career is no overnight endeavor. As with any worthwhile feat, a meaningful job experience requires research, discipline and dedication.

Just as eating well, sleeping well, and exercising are important, so is the duty to investigate a work experience that is a living reflection of your long-term goals.

It?s not an easy road, but don?t be discouraged?there are thousands of other people who have blazed trails for us to follow. The most important part is to just begin.


Photo credit:?Aleksandr Ledogorov

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3 Unconventional Strategies That Get You Promoted

Do you feel ready for the next step in your career but can?t seem to land that promotion? Here are three strategies to help you get there.

1. Stop asking for permission

People get so caught up in pleasing others and playing by the rules that they often leave their individuality at the door. The result? They’re pigeon holed into a role. Break out of that mold. Bring your whole creative self to the job and see how far you can go.

Here?s how:

  • Address the problems you see in front of you. Is there a process that needs improvement? It could be as simple as configuring all copiers to print double-sided to save on paper.
  • Disagree with your boss (respectfully, of course). You don?t always have to follow the party line. If you see a better way to do something, speak up. Your boss will appreciate the effort because you are looking out for the team. Good bosses are not looking for a bunch of Yes gals and guys. They value critical thinking, especially if you?re helping them avoid risk.
  • Educate yourself. Maybe your boss? presentations seem dull and uninspiring lately. Take a PowerPoint course and figure out how to make the story sing. Or take the free courses available to you for CRM reporting so that you can bring greater insight into the numbers. Or learn to code. You get the point. Gaining a new skill will make you more valuable.
  • Think strategically. Get smart about your sector and adjacent industries. Make connections and bring these big ideas to the team. Is there a product you produce today that could be re-purposed for an adjacent industry? Is there a new partnership, joint venture or acquisition that your company should take a look at? Good ideas are good ideas, no matter what your role. Strategic thinking is like a muscle. You have to practice to get good at it.
  • Help the company grow. One of the biggest challenges facing companies is organic growth. Every manager knows how to cut costs. That?s their go-to solution because it?s the only thing they can really control. Demonstrate your leadership by offering true growth strategies. Your official title at the company doesn’t matter. Anyone with a growth mindset can help. Check out this book for good ideas: Double Digit Growth.

2. Act the part before you get the part

Companies are constantly looking for ways to reduce risk. ?If you were the boss, who would you promote: the person already taking on next level responsibilities or the person waiting to up-level until they’re promoted? Demonstrate that you can handle the new role now.

Here?s how:

  • Look around corners. Ask yourself what your boss would do with the information you?re about to present. Then do that before she asks you.
  • Put in more hours. This may not be possible for everyone but it?s usually needed, especially if you?re looking to get promoted. The extra time doesn?t have to happen at the office. Technology is a wonderful thing. But make your extra hours count. Empty hours and ?up managing? for optics is a waste of everyone?s time. People see through it.
  • Check the drama (and your ego) at the door. No one has time for complainers or office gossip. Do what?s needed to help your tribe thrive. Be known as a doer.
  • Make your boss? job easy. Show and tell her why you should be promoted. That means coming up with a strategic plan, including milestones. It also means doing those things on the plan. When the time comes, the promotion will feel like a natural extension of what you are already doing.

3. Cultivate your tribe

No person is an island. Think about the stakeholders around you. That includes your immediate colleagues, bosses and employees. It also includes your suppliers, strategic partners, the planet and the community. All of these stakeholders are part of your network. Figure out how to help them prosper. If they win, you win.

Here?s how:

  1. Organize your company?s service days. Many companies now offer paid time off to volunteer at various community organizations. Organize an outing at a food bank, animal rescue center, or University. Choose organizations that resonate with you and your company. It?s amazing what can happen when you work together towards a common goal outside of your regular day-to-day routine. Try it out.
  2. Become a corporate steward. How can you help transform the company?s DNA to improve people and planet? Taking initiative demonstrates true leadership. Here are three ideas:
    • Lead your company?s initiative to offer sustainable 401K investment options. Not many people know that they can ask for different investments. You don?t have to be stuck with what?s offered by your plan sponsor. Here is a toolkit that can help you negotiate green and sustainable funds for your 401K plan.
    • Help your company strengthen their supply chains?by making them cleaner. Here are the top 10 reasons to have your company clean up their supply chain. Done right, it?s long-term profitable for the company and the planet.
    • Propose a corporate wellness program.
  3. Help someone at your office every single day. Go out to lunch with colleagues in other departments. Put the notice out on Slack or your email bulletin board. Break your daily routine by learning something about someone new, every day.
  4. Share information. Gone are the days of zero sum corporate culture. Create the environment you want to see at work. That means communicate and share your valuable data with colleagues. Don?t be a data hoarder. And don?t worry about communication overlap or people stealing your ideas. True leadership will come out on top. Sharing is a shortcut to building trust.

Beyond the promotion, these strategies can help you in other areas as well. If you adopt these behaviors, you will start thinking differently. You will begin thinking like a leader. Leadership mindset takes time to cultivate. Invest in it.


Photo by?Brooke Lark

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