Where are you at with your career right now?

Whether you have just started in a particular job or you are well established in a career it’s important to regularly check your satisfaction levels.

Positive psychology research has shown that in order for us to flourish and as a result be able to tap into and fulfill our potential positive experiences must outweigh negative experiences by at least 3:1 – so for each element of your role you find stressful, frustrating or boring there must be 3 elements you enjoy.

So how do you create work opportunities that are really satisfying?

Step one:

Get clear on your work values.  To be able to consciously create a satisfying work environment you need to be aware of what makes you tick.  Relax and ask yourself (or better still get someone to ask you), what is important to you about work?  Keep asking until you have a list of 6-10 words.

Look at your list and consider if these words describe behaviours or very low level values – things that aren’t absolutely crucial to you. You’ll know this when you think of your reaction if anyone were to ‘stand on’ this value. If you think you’d be a bit annoyed, it’s low level. If you were to feel incensed. … you know you’re on to something big!

If you feel they are low level then ask yourself what that particular thing gets for you?  What is important about it?  What purpose does it serve?

For example, you may have said the opportunity to progress is important.  While that will motivate you to a degree what that progress offers you will motivate you more, and be entirely personal to you.  It might get you recognition, freedom or security and these are the real juicy values you want to be aware of. Ask yourself what does X get for you? and you’ll get to the juicy stuff.

Step Two:

Appreciate your own strengths.  Strengths are thing you are naturally good at AND energise you. Think of a time when time flew by, when you were totally ‘in the zone’. What were you doing and how we’re you doing it?  You’ll begin to notice a pattern.

You may find it useful to use a notebook for a week at work and each hour or so reflect on how you felt while you completed various activities. Again, you’re looking for patterns of activity that indicate what you are good at and leave you refuelled.

When we use our strengths we maximise our performance and satisfaction levels so it’s a win:win for you and your employer.  Review your job role and the objective of your team and organisation. How can you maximise the use of your strengths in what you do now?  Start consciously using your strengths, especially to support you do the parts of your role you find most challenging.

Step Three:

Start actively appreciating your role.  What do you enjoy doing most? What has went well each day?  Who has complimented you?  How have you shared your appreciation of someones work, support or just their presence? By training yourself to spot the positives you are helping yourself achieve the 3:1 positive:negative experience ratio which enhances your well being.  This in return may well improve your work performance, communication and feel good factor as we tend to be more creative, energetic and solution focused when in a positive frame of mind.    And even if you feel that you need to move on from your role you will be a more resourceful state to consider your options.

Step Four:

Stay in the drivers seat of your life by accepting responsibility for the results you do and don’t get. Start noticing what works and gets you results you want and do more of it.  And notice what doesn’t work and do less of that.  But whatever you do, take some form of action. If you have too long a period where you are not enjoying your role, and carving a new path using your strengths isn’t creating more satisfaction, move on and find something else.  Consciously make plans to find alternative opportunities that do offer you what you want and deserve.

Here’s to some work life happiness…let me know what you think x