Steps to More Enjoyment
A recent Gallup report shows that over 85% of the people out there hate their job. Although the U.S. is at an 18 year high, with 34% of it’s employee market engaged, there is still ample room for improvement. Now this isn’t an article on how businesses need better leaders, better pay, catchy EVPs, ping pong tables or Happy Hours in the workspace to make employees happy. The reality is that only a handful of companies out there will master this mystical formula, while the majority of Americans will remain in companies they don’t care for, doing work they don’t care about for basic income. I am the first person to say that corporations need to keep striving to get make this better, and leaders need to step up, but this still leaves the the general workforce reliant on external factors to solve a very personal, and current issue. Going to work every day and getting no satisfaction from what you do is a slow death.
So, what can the average Joes and Janes do?
I recently went through a spell where I was not happy in my work, any of it. I wasn’t enjoying my 9-5 job. I wasn’t enjoying my side-hustle, and I wasn’t enjoying my passion projects. I don’t know if you can relate to any of that. It struck me funny when I felt this way about my passion project. I mean that’s the thing that’s near and dear to my heart, you know? All the sudden it was something I was numbingly indifferent to. I had to stop and ask myself why. Why was I so unhappy? First, I blamed it on my lack of progress. Then I blamed my lack of progress on my side-hustle and job getting in the way. When I took a look at my J.O.B. I realized that I had allowed a good amount of stress and anxiety to pile up, and then flow over into these other areas. I mean I had a freaking anxiety attack on a day off. WTF! I needed to regroup quick! I did some self-reflection, and self-evaluating, and came up with a formula that I hoped to be successful with my new goal. Well, let me back up. First, I had to set a new primary goal. So, I did. That goal is to experience as much fun, enjoyment and happiness as possible at any given point in my day, regardless the environment, or circumstances. Now I needed a formula or check list to ensure I could be successful with this goal.
Everything starts with awareness! I knew that needed to be step 1 in my process. For anything positive to happen I needed to be intentionally aware in the moment. That became Step 1, Become Aware. Once I become aware of who I am, where I am, and what is around me, I could venture toward Step 2.
Step 2 is Acceptance. This step wasn’t very easy. For it to work it meant I needed to accept each moment for what it was/is. Well, not everything in life is agreeable to me, but the good news here is that acceptance doesn’t require approval. So, step 2 is accepting things as they are, not as I would have them. I gave myself permission to accept the totality of each moment as it is without the pressure of agreeing with all of it. With that position I could move into Step 3.
Step 3 is the action step, Participate in the moment. It’s one thing to become aware, but it’s another thing to accept. The tough part is that both these can still leave you standing on the sidelines. I needed to find a way to take charge and engage what I was experiencing. That meant participating in the moment, and participating authentically. Authentic participation means I can lose the need for perfection, and just allow myself to actively be included in whatever is presently taking place. Participation positioned me to move out of the space of potential victimization and into a realm of Step 4.
Step 4 is the one that drives the enjoyment for me. It’s the gasoline in the tank. Step 4 allows my participation to lead to Contribution. When I feel like I am contributing to the moment, I enjoy it. There isn’t anything better in my book than the satisfaction of knowing I contributed to making something better. The best part is the freedom it presents. Every moment contains an opportunity for anyone to contribute, and that contribution can come in a variety of ways! When we get here the question to ask is simple, how can I contribute to the betterment of the moment. How can I improve things right now? What solution could I present?
All the sudden I had it. My little “magic formula” for finding more enjoyment right where I stood, at any given time. I wasn’t reliant on a good manager, awesome company, huge paychecks, ping pong tables or in-house BBQ festivals. It was all under my control.
By the way, I realized that my previous stress, or lack or enjoyment, wasn’t because my job sucked or that the company I worked for wasn’t great. It wasn’t that my side-hustle was moving to slow or that I had lost passion for my passion. It was simply that I wasn’t positioning myself for life’s best in each moment. My own unhappiness, or happiness, starts and stops with me! News alert! You are no different.
So, you hate what you do, and where you do it? Maybe you change jobs. Maybe you change careers. Maybe you get divorced or move to a new state. You can do all of that, some of that or none of it. It’s totally up to you. But, maybe, just maybe, in the interim you could just follow these simple steps right where you are, and unlock your own door to more enjoyment through awareness, acceptance, participation and contribution!
Live & Lead Exceptionally!