This is a really common question, especially amongst mid-level professionals. You have done ok up until now without a plan. Things have been going well and you have been progressing as quickly as you wanted and in the right direction. But the question usually comes up as people start telling…
Are you working with love or loathing?
We all have things we do to make a living. Some of us do them with love. Some with pride. And some with joy. But many, sadly, do it with loathing. And they do it just to get by. In my work as a strategist, I spend a lot of time helping people deal with work or workplaces that are soul destroying.
Toxic bosses. Overloaded schedules. Chaotic work environments. Manic or apathetic employees.
And sometimes, it’s all barren. Barren of meaning. Barren of pleasure. Barren of just about everything that makes us want to get out of bed in the morning.
Many people have been brought up to believe that working is meant to be hard, and not enjoyably. Not something that you do for personal fulfilment, just for financial gain. They believe you have to check yourself at the door when you go to work each day. That your essential self is not welcome there. They (whoever they are) want the perfect worker, the productive employee, and your wants, needs and desires are not required nor necessary.
And many people are told that their dreams are not valid. Redundant. Defunct even. Give them up and get back to reality we are told. It’s just a pipe dream baby. Get a real job.
So you feel stifled, unappreciated, unrecognised and undervalued. Like no one cares and it just doesn’t matter.
Doesn’t it make you want to scream?
I have witnessed what this looks like. Hell, I have experienced it myself. Bring your whole self to work? Who are you kidding. Bring your strengths to work and do what you do best each day? Sorry, not on the job spec. Time and space to let yourself flourish as an entrepreneur? Nope, not part of the mindset that’s been ingrained since birth, which mandates slogging your guts out to make a success of yourself.
Feels exhausting doesn’t it. It’s not even a question. Just a painful reality for so many people. Exhausting. And excruciating.
How do you show up for work everyday? With a spring in your step and happiness by your side? If you do, you are blessed. This is how I feel about my work now, but I didn’t for a long time. A very long time. And for a chunk of that time I didn’t even realise it.
I was in denial. Denial that I wasn’t fulfilled. Or satisfied. Or making a difference. That’s a pretty hard realisation because you then need to make a change. And change is hard. I had put on the mask worn by so many people in that world, and I hid behind it for all I was worth.
Dumbed myself down, numbed myself down, so I could just keep going. Earn the paycheck. Pay the mortgage. Keep up appearances. Keep my sanity.
Or so I thought. My sanity as it turned out, as well as my health, was fleeting. This type of working wares you down. Piece by piece, day by day, moment by moment. It wares away at your life. And your spirit.
Is this your story? Is this how you show up each day?
What is the other experience of work? Let’s imagine together. You wake up everyday with excitement and anticipation of what lay ahead. Raring to go on that new project you designed that you just know is going to kick some ass and raise some cash. Psyched about the people you work with, co-create with and make a difference with. You feel connected, constructive, inspired and desired for what you do. It feels amazing. And you simply love it.
This is where we want to be yes? But how do we get there?
It starts with our why. Simon Sinek talks about why we do what we do. Whether we’re an individual worker, an employer or a marketer selling kit, it’s not about what you do or how you do it; it’s about why you do it. Why you get up every morning and work the stock market or run a yoga studio. Why you treat your people a certain way or treat your clients like gold. And why you choose to leave behind a world that no longer serves you spiritually, even though it more than serves you financially (like I did).
It’s about your why.
Forget about your limiting mindsets and overbuilt resilience. Feel free to lose sight of crushing deadlines and relentless bosses. Sit and think about why you do what you do.
Then decide. Decide to stay. Decide to go. Decide to change nothing.
Or change everything.
Are you where you want to be career-wise? If not, consider booking in for a career strategy coaching session. I specialise in helping women just like you create careers they love. New client bookings re-opening soon. Email [email protected]to get on the wait list.