Would you be surprised to learn that career fulfillment is not about money?
We’re socially conditioned to focus on the external rewards of our work — the money, the raises, the promotions, and the titles — as a measure of our success and key to greater happiness.
However, psychologists, sociologists, and even economists have repeatedly shown that satisfaction at work is not derived from these external factors–as entertainingly and eloquently presented by Dan Pink, author of Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us.
The key to greater daily fulfillment and satisfaction results from doing work that you enjoy, has greater meaning than just a paycheck, and is important to who you are on an intrinsic level.
Try these six strategies to add greater satisfaction to your work.
1. Align Your Work With Your Core Values.
When we are entrenched in the daily grind, it’s easy to lose site of our values. We become complacent, drained, or frustrated with the dramas of the day.
When you are closely aligned with your core values, you are able to prioritize what’s most important and let others know what matters most to you.
If integrity is a core value and you are being asked to compromise, let others know where you stand. If teaching is a core value and it’s not part of your role, find ways to incorporate it into your day.
The first step is identifying your core values and then finding ways to honor them throughout your day.
2. Focus On The Bigger Picture
Focus on the reason why you are doing the work in the first place – to provide service to people in need, to create products that will help others, or to improve the way we live our lives.
When you know that what you are doing goes far beyond making money, daily setbacks such as unhappy customers or dissatisfied colleagues have less significance.
3. Get Clear On What You Want
Is this job a means to an end? Do you have bigger aspirations for your role? Are you gaining skillsets that will help you for your next endeavor?
Getting clearer on what you aspire to do and knowing what you would like to achieve are great ways to stay focused on your greater purpose.
4. Simplify What You’d Like To Accomplish Each Day.
We often have task lists that carry over from day to day. It’s not unusual for me to have a to-do list that exceeds ten to fifteen items. But research has shown that we underestimate the time involved with completing each task, leading to greater dissatisfaction and demotivation.
Try starting a list of your top two to three priorities each day and reward yourself with each accomplishment.
5. Challenge Yourself
The best way to enter the zone, or what Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi calls a state of flow, is by doing something that motivates you to stretch beyond your current skill level.
The struggle to reach beyond your current ability with a clear focus or target in mind is important to achieving that wonderful feeling of elation, complete engagement, and a sense of wholeness.
6. Build a Board of Champions
We are wired to connect with others. It’s been proven that we exchange emotions back and forth with our colleagues and friends. Make sure that exchange is springboard for your success and not an energy drain.
Become more aware of the people surrounding you each day. Do they motivate and support you or do they bring you down? Limit the contact you have with the energy drainers and increase the time with those who uplift you. Seek out mentors and colleagues who provide encouragement and advice that inspires you.
The key to each of these recommendations is self-awareness – taking time to figure out what’s important to you and what lights you up, then finding ways to lead with what matters most.
Investing the time to adopt any of these tips will reap you rewards–not only in satisfaction, but greater well-being. Doesn’t that sound like a great way to rock your work?