So maybe you’re not one of those people who jump out of bed excited about getting to work. And based on your current job, perhaps you never will be. But you can be happier while you’re there. And wouldn’t that be worth the effort? As the saying goes, “If you can’t be in the job you love, then love the job you’re in.” There are many reasons work can be less than appealing – you don’t like it, you don’t like your boss, your coworkers are negative or maybe you just feel unappreciated or under compensated. Perhaps you’d rather be home with your children.
Whatever the reason, forget about that for a minute – it is what it is. Instead, focus on some of the simple things you can do to make your work experience a happier one. If you do, research shows that the new-found positive emotion will help you deal better with your stress and even make you healthier. These five tools can empower you to be happier at work:
1. Find something to be grateful for, even if it’s just one thing.
On a daily basis, choose to find something in your work to be grateful for. Ask yourself at the end of the day, “What was the best thing that happened today?” or “Who or what am I grateful for at work today?”
2. Step out of your shoes and into someone else’s.
Employees who are empathetic are better with customers and their fellow co-workers. You don’t have to make excuses for others’ bad behavior or frustrations, but you can attempt to put yourself in their shoes so that you can better understand where they are coming from. When you do so, you are less likely to take their limitations or negativity personally. You realize that what they do – whether good or bad – is a reflection of them, not you.
3. Don’t isolate yourself. Get connected!
According to Gallup, who has conducted employee engagement surveys that include the question “Do you have a best friend at work?”, companies with a substantial number of employees who answer “yes” have reported better employee performance, fewer hazardous accidents, greater productivity, reduced employee theft and retail customers who report a more enjoyable shopping experience. Find ways to connect with your co-workers. It will enrich your everyday work life.
4. Tap into your strengths.
You have strengths – innate abilities, talents, passion – that are unique to you. When you use your strengths at work, you feel more fulfilled and engaged in what you are doing. If you’re unsure of what your strengths are, try the VIA Strengths Inventory, a free assessment on the University of Pennsylvania’s positive psychology website at www.authentichappiness.com.
5. Look for a challenge.
We are engaged when we’re “in flow.” That simply means that you are doing something in which your abilities match the challenge before you. When the challenge falls below your abilities, you become bored. When the challenge exceeds your current abilities, you get frustrated and may even give up. If you’re not being challenged enough, seek out opportunities that will raise the bar – talk to your boss, volunteer for new assignments, and go the extra mile on the projects already on your plate. If the challenge is more than you’re equipped to handle right now, ask yourself, “How could I improve my skills?” Then seek the training or find someone who can show you the way.
Being happier at work is a choice. It’s all about being intentional about finding ways to make the most of the job you have.
My Challenge To You:
Choose a positive attitude towards your work this week.
What is one specific step you will take this week to enhance how you feel on the job? When will you take that step?