9 Simple Steps to Career Happiness
Wednesday, March 5, 2014 • 1:27pm
Anybody else out there marvel at someone because everything seems to come so easy to them? You know the ones who seem to have achieved career happiness. They seemingly have thought through each of life’s eventualities and have come up with the perfect answer before the question is even asked.
These folks ooze charisma while not going over the top to the level of being considered an obnoxious bore (re: think the Dos Equis guy and you’ve gone too far). They’re confident, clever and everyone wants to be around them because they have the world by the tail and they’re not letting loose any time soon.
Whenever I can glimpse into what makes these folks tick I jump at the chance because I’m a long way from being this sort of person. Rest assured I’m fairly confident that few people really have all the aspects of their lives under control, but they know how to keep up appearances.
I’ve never met Joel Gascoigne, the founder of the startup Buffer, but I’ve got to hand it to him because he’s captured a little bit of this lightning in a bottle. When his blog post “Six Simple Habits to Keep You Consistently Happy Every Day,” popped up in my LinkedIn feed the other day, I realized that Joel has the world by the tail.
Here are nine simple steps for you to achieve career happiness:
Wake up Early: Scratch that one. I’m not a late riser, but you won’t find me milking the cows either. I can appreciate those people who meet the day with a 6 a.m. run or some “me” time found early in the day.
Exercise Daily: Rule two I’ve got covered. Whether it’s running, biking or time spent just getting out and moving around, I crave that daily hour of exercise. Getting your heart rate up helps out in a variety of ways from fitness, strength and stress reduction to discipline, better sleep and a more positive self-image.
Disengage: Run. Garden. Volunteer. Just do something that takes your mind away from the toils of work each day. All work and no play does make Jack a dull boy.
For many of us, however, this is easier said than done, especially in these times when we’re all electronically tethered to our work lives. It’s hard to tune out, turn off and drop out now that we’re all plugged in. Periodically I declare an “off-the-grid” day and make a point of not checking emails, Facebook or text messages.
Help Others: It’s important to put some good out in the world. I truly believe there is some sort of karmic payback when you help others.
Learn New Skills: There’s self-satisfaction in learning how to do something for ourselves. Recently I was playing with a new remote camera, and while I was sharing it with some of my office friends when one of them said, “you really love what you do, don’t you?” “Yes,” I blurted out. Partly because of the appreciation I’ve gained from being unemployed, but mainly because taking the new things I learn and being able to use them to do my job better and more creatively results in success for my employer.
Find Multiple Ways to Win: We need to cultivate victories because in our fast-paced get-it-done work existence we often take for granted the small things we do each day like meeting a deadline for a report, finishing an essential mailing or posting a social media update
Although it’s in our DNA to gain self-esteem by being defined by our work, it’s important to not let what you do define who you are. If all you do is focus on your role as a worker, you miss out on the goals you achieve as a human being.
I’d like to add three suggestions: 1) Don’t worry about what other people say about you; 2) don’t sweat the small stuff; and 3) be happy.
Don't Worry: Often times we feel like everyone, especially in our work lives, is talking about us. At the end of the day, you have very little control over what others say, so the key is to control the things you can control and let the others go.
Don't Sweat the Small Stuff: As our kids were growing up, we seldom grappled with what they wore to school or how their hair was cut. As long as they were clean, got good grades and were respectful and nice we didn’t fight them on the small stuff.
We’ve all worked in and around micro-managers who not only control every minute of their own day but that of their underlings and co-workers. Makes you have to ask yourself, when was the last time they were truly happy? There are battles and wars and you have to decide the hills you choose to die on. I say live to fight another day, and you’ll live a joyful life
Be Happy: It’s taken me nearly 30 years of being employed to fully appreciate that you make you happy. When you look at those people who have the world by the tail, ask yourself “are they the smartest, brightest most well-educated people you’ve ever been around?”
My guess is your answer will be no. They do, however, exude self-confidence because they speak from a place of bliss.
Share your own tips on achieving career happiness in the comment section below.
AnnMarie Quintaglie McIlwain is a former marketing executive with Procter & Gamble and Johnson & Johnson and consultant to several Fortune 100 companies. Now, as Founder and CEO of CareerFuel.net, she is a social entrepreneur who connects people with the information and inspiration they need in order to get jobs and start businesses. CareerFuel is the only site that gives people what they need to know to find jobs or start businesses plus blogs and short films about real people who made it happen.
A recipient of numerous civic and leadership awards, AnnMarie is a Board member of CFIRA.org, was a participant in the first White House Entrepreneurial Session, the recent WeOwnIt Summit, and the first Alley to the Valley Event. She is also a member of 85Broads and Startup America.
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