We spend a lot of time at work… and I mean A LOT. Think about it. A huge chunk of your day during the work-week is spent at your job. And for some people – tack on even more time for the long commute that it takes to get to work. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with spending time at work – most of us need to work to support ourselves – but it’s definitely worth recognizing the time investment that goes into the work that we do.
So, let’s ensure there’s purposeful meaning behind that time.
Before I go any further, I want to acknowledge that unfortunately not all of us have a choice in the work that we do. The generation that we were born into, our country of birth, and our life circumstances are just a few of the things that impact the level of choice we have in our work life. The reality is that a lot people around the world don’t have a choice. That’s why I consider it a privilege for those of us who do, and with that understanding it’s something I don’t want to take for granted.
If your life circumstance allows you to have some level of choice in the work that you do, when was the last time you thought about how connected you felt to that work?
Having some level – ideally, a high level – of connection to our work is important. Again, not only do we spend a significant amount of time at work (and away from other people and things that are important to us), but we also give a lot of ourselves to the work that we do – and that should fill you up in a positive way. For example, if you’re going to a job that you literally hate everyday – at some point you need to ask yourself, “Why am I doing this?” Is it the money, the security of the position, or the fear of not being able to find another job?
What’s keeping you in a job that you clearly don’t feel connected to?
There are certainly many answers to these questions – some of which we can control, some of which we think we can’t control, and others that are truly out of our control. Let’s talk more about the ones we think we can’t control. This is a good time to ask yourself if you truly are in a situation where you can’t do anything to change your work circumstance, OR if you’ve been saying you can’t but there is some possibility of change. It’s easy to default to saying you can’t do anything about a situation, even when some change is possible – but it’s up to you to make it happen. Don’t get stuck on that path. Your life and your happiness are dependent on it. If there’s room for change – even a little bit – be willing to step up to do something about it.
In addition to the questions above, continue to dig deeper on your level of connection to your work by asking yourself the following questions:
1) Are you excited to go to work?
2) Do you feel like the work you’re doing is in alignment with your purpose or values?
3) Do you see the work that you’re doing as part of a greater goal that you have in life?
These are big questions, so give yourself time to think about them, or if you have an initial gut reaction lean into that. See what’s there and what’s behind how you feel. And as you’re doing so, continue to get real with yourself. This is not the time to sugar coat anything, or think you have to convince someone you’re happy doing what you do. These answers are for you and you only – so be honest with yourself. By doing so you’ll be able to move towards making the changes you need to make in your life to do more of what you love.
At the core of all of this is the question: How much more time are you going to spend in a job that you don’t like and that’s not feeding your soul?
I know it’s not easy to let go of a job that’s paying the bills, or that gives you a certain level of security. In addition, you might feel like you have a good paying job and it’s unlikely that you’ll find anything else. Again, this is a time to ask yourself: Is this real or is it not real? Is that proven or not proven? Have you tried to apply for other positions? Have you considered the possibility of starting your own business?
I am certainly not telling you to go out and quit your job. That’s definitely not an ideal move to make without a solid game-plan in place for how you’ll continue to support yourself. Instead, take it one step at a time by starting to consider what you need to do so that you’ll be able to do work that you feel more connected to. That could mean adjusting your current roles and responsibilities, transitioning to a completely new position or career field, or finally taking the steps to start your own business.
Keep in mind that if you decide to go the route of starting your own business, you don’t have to go all-in at once. In fact, sometimes it’s best to explore your business idea as a side-gig at first. And this could be beneficial in many ways. You’ll be able to explore what your potential business will look like, while still having the security of your current full-time position. I always like to remind people that this isn’t something that’s easy to do, but it’s a great way to make the transition with less risk (which is ideal).
Feeling connected to the work that you do is important. We may not feel connected to every aspect of what we do, but in an ideal world there needs to be some overall purposeful connection there. You give a lot to the work that you do. Let it count. Let it feed your soul. And let it be something that’s guided by the impact you want to make on this world.