Work is work. You may have a great job, a great boss, and some nice perks. But it is still work. I hear from many leaders, especially those stepping into their first leadership roles, that they are struggling to connect to something meaningful in the workplace.
While I believe that it is more satisfying to work in a place that matches your values, that fits with your worldview; it is not the be all to end all.
Life is what we make it, always has been, always will be. Grandma Moses
It is easy to believe that the external trappings of jobs, relationships, vacations, etc will fulfill us; but as Grandma Moses put it so eloquently, our personal happiness and satisfaction comes down to us, how we respond to our circumstances and live our best life.
So, what does that best life look like? Of course, the answer to that question varies by person, but here are some additional questions to ask yourself if you desire a more satisfying life (within and outside the workplace).
What matters most to you? If you value friendships, are you actively cultivating them in a way that is meaningful and lasting?
If you have a desire to make a difference in the world, what need can you fill that would fill you up? What are you doing to challenge the status quo in a positive way? Or what elementary school or food bank could use your help on a weekly or monthly basis?
If excitement and challenge are your cup of tea, include meaningful adventures in your life. Take time for that ski trip you keep dreaming of or create an increasingly difficult workout plan that stretches your limits.
If learning something new is what gets you up in the morning, ask your boss if there is a stretch assignment you could take on.
If friendships feed you, quit working through lunch and instead, plan to walk with a friend. Take time from your weekend and volunteer with a group of friends. Schedule face-to-face engagement for maximizing these connections.
Ultimately, life satisfaction, including the work part of it, comes down to how you respond, who you choose to be, and what you create. No one’s life is perfect, in spite of the happy-go-lucky social media images we see. There is hardship, frustration and painful moments, as well as beauty, joy and love.
It is what you do with what you are given – both the good and the not-so-good – that leads to a life fulfilled.