We’ve all seen the quote “Love what you do and you’ll never work a day in your life”, and perhaps even the more entrepreneurial version: Love what you do and you’ll do weekends, long nights, sacrifice time with the family…..etc.
For the purposes of this article (and the fact I really, really wanted to use that heading regardless….), lets expand what this means from a career or business perspective. Loving what you do is actually a pretty big concept. And is essentially about having an alignment between your head, heart and gut. Curiosity, passion and action! Get that right, and you are pretty much on track for an amazing work-life experience.
So what does that look like?
- It’s more than just working to your strengths – although that’s important.
- It’s more than doing “what you love” – although we all would like to do that (once we work out what that is).
- It’s more than feeling valued and able to make meaningful contributions… but yes, that’s also really important.
Most of all, its about having your VALUES in alignment. Whether this is with the work you are doing, the people you are serving, the people you are working with, or the organisation you are working for. And yet often, this is the one we compromise on. It’s easy to just ignore that niggling feeling…. because everything else feels so exciting! “It’s what I’ve always wanted to do” “I’ve always wanted to work with them”… But…. there’s something that’s not quite right. Things that we need to say or do which are not true to ourselves. That we might feel a little (or big) bit uncomfortable about. It just doesn’t sit quite right. Perhaps we can’t quite put our finger on it. But its there, somewhere. And sometimes it might be the values that are promoted (that might really fit with us) aren’t quite being demonstrated how we expect in some way. And when things get tough, any values that aren’t truly being lived go straight out the window… and when it comes to being motivated, it’s hard to keep on track if it’s not in alignment with our values (who we are).
Our values are about who we are as a person. When we compromise on our values we are giving up an important part of our selves…
So what can I do about it? Seems complicated!
Hey, we’re human. Everything is complicated! But that doesn’t mean it has to be difficult. First step is of course, Know thyself. Easy, you might think. But often we might develop a more “superficial” version of our values. What sounds good… or what someone else has mentioned. Have you even set aside a good 20 or 30 minutes just to reflect on that? No interruptions, just quiet time alone with your self? In fact, to really connect with ourselves, starting with a meditation (guided, nothing scary) just to feel more centered and more connected with our inner selves….
Time to take action!
- Block out 30 minutes of quiet time (and don’t cancel on yourself – be brave, this is important).
- Turn off all distractions (phone on airplane mode, etc etc).
- Put on headphones if necessary, and listen to an awareness meditation (if you sign up to our mail list here, I’ll send you one of my own).
- Whilst you are still in calm mode from the mediation, reflect on your Why (purpose)….
- What do you want to achieve in your life? In your work?
- What are the things which are important to you?
- Who are the people who are important to you?
- Who are the people you would like to help or influence?
- What are the behaviours which are important to you in your life, and in your work – for you and others to demonstrate?
- What are the things you or others do which upset you most?
- What are the things you or others do which bring you the most joy or feeling of tranquility?
- Review your list. How might you frame these as values (ensuring all negatives are reframed as positive values)?
- Is there anything that feels like it is missing? If so, add it now.
- As much as you can, prioritise these for yourself – with 1-5 being the ones which you cannot, ever, compromise on. This does not mean the others are not important. And it doesn’t matter if these are different to other people. These are personal.
- Imagine what it would look like, feel like, sound like, if you could live these values everyday, and work in an environment (and with people) who were in alignment with those values.
- How will this change what you want to achieve in 2019?
- What will you commit to doing differently in 2019 and beyond to live and work more in alignment with your inner goals.
So how will you make sure your time spent working is in what you love?
….Your strengths, your passion, being valued, and of course in alignment with your values?