Let's face it. We've all been there, running full speed in the hamster wheel of work-exhaustion and malcontent. It's a big reason people come to therapy or employ a Life Coach. People often feel burned out and unappreciated at work. As Psychology Today blogger, Lisa Firestone, states, “The psychological well-being of a work force can strongly influence productivity levels.”
In other words, unhappiness at work isn't good for anyone.
Does this sound familiar?
Consider transforming that unhappy hamster wheel into a Ferris Wheel of job and life fulfillment.
The Miracle Question:
This is a powerful question in Life Coaching and Solution Focused Therapy, developed by Steve de Shazer. Ask yourself this question, "Suppose that overnight, while you are asleep, a miracle occurs and your problem is solved. When you wake up in the morning everything is exactly how you want it. What do you notice is different? What is the first thing you see?"
Explore this new terrain. Who is there? How do you feel? What are you doing? Imagine yourself fully in that place. Those are your truest wishes for the life you want to live. Are there clues to your professional identity? Name a few changes you can work on now!
Name Your Talents:
What are your special skills and strengths? Everyone has strengths! What are yours?
Start to notice the challenges and tasks that are easily and enjoyably solved. Notice what brings you energy, and a sense of satisfaction. Instead of going through your work day full of dread and disdain, shift your focus to the responsibilities, interactions, and projects you savor. Break them down into their unique steps and acknowledge your successes in every action involved. Use this critical information to create the kind of work environment you can feel good about. Know your values. Identify your hobbies and interests and determine the industries in which they are relevant. Pursue those paths.
What are your options? Based on your answers to the miracle question and your special skills and strengths, what can you do differently today? Consider ways to leverage your successes to create the role you want. Can you request a meeting with your boss to discuss ways to utilize your strengths more fully? Are there other positions within your company that might be a better fit? Is it time to begin updating your resume and searching elsewhere for opportunities?
Consider calling a Career Coach or contact a headhunter. Perhaps it’s time for additional training and/or education in preparation for development in a different industry altogether! Stay true to your talents and interests. The more you enjoy your job, the less it will feel like work.
What information do you need? Now that you've identified what's important to you, name the industries and companies that match those preferences. Once you've identified target organizations, begin researching their history, mission, and products. Begin networking activities, such as attending industry conferences or business networking groups. Find out what specific skill sets and education requirements exist for employment in the position and/or organization you desire. Speak with people within these companies and industries. Formulate smart questions and be prepared to ask people in the business to help clarify any ambiguities. Determine the realities of those jobs. Do your homework first, to avoid jumping from the frying pan into the fire!
Choose a Deadline:
This is a crucial factor in the process of self discovery and change. Creating a deadline helps you stay on track in defining and aligning your course in career development. It keeps the journey time limited, focused, and easier to manage by breaking down the steps into weekly, monthly, or annual goals. What do you want to accomplish by the end of this week, this month, or this year? Put it in writing. Share your goals with others. Accountability to yourself and those you love will provide the structure, support, and expectation that you may need to follow through on your goals.
Throughout the process, be good to yourself. Maintain life balance. Spend time with friends, family, and participate in your hobbies. Be patient. In the words of Buddha, "There is no path to happiness: happiness is the path."
Heather Edwards, MA, LMHC is a therapist and life coach located in New York City. She can be reached for consultation at:
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