Tag Archives: motivation

This day, this job, this YOU is only temporary.

this you is only temporary

Thanun Buranapong via Unsplash

I was sick this week.  It started with a head cold and turned into a nasty stomach bug that left me totally incapacitated for 24 hours.  At the worst of it, I remember feeling like I had been sick forever and that I would likely never NOT be sick again.  This would be my world, forever and always.  Obviously, exhaustion and discomfort were skewing reason and my sense of proportion.  But I think there’s also a bigger psychological effect at play.

We humans, as a whole, assume that the person we are today is the person we will be for the rest of our lives.  Researchers call it the “end of history illusion”.  We see the present as the culmination of everything that led up to it (which, I suppose, technically it is) but, more significantly, we tend to underestimate how much we will change in the future.  As a result, TODAY always seems more significant and more permanent than any other day.

This is why early in our careers (or at any stage, really) a bad job can be so gut-wrenchingly painful.  If everything we’ve done to date has gotten us here, and here kind of sucks, what does that say about our lives?  It can feel like everything has been a waste.  And, because it’s so hard to imagine how much we will change in the future, we don’t see the way out and beat ourselves up for not having met our full potential.

Why do we do this to ourselves??  We don’t look around us and berate our friends because they haven’t found their dream jobs.  We accept that they just haven’t found the right fit yet and we still see the potential in their future.  But do we offer ourselves that same kindness?  Rarely.

So how do we get past it?  We remind ourselves that this “now” is simply an experience that will create the next “now” and the “now” after that.  We remain driven and intentional about the future, but give ourselves a break when we get stuck.  This day, this job, this YOU is merely one plot point in the whole story, not the final page of the book.

 

Finding meaning… wherever you are.

Seedling by Ray_from_LA

Graduating with a degree in Anthropology, I never pictured myself working in the private sector, and definitely not in manufacturing.

But life happens, and I found myself in the business world.  And for a long time I struggled with finding meaning in my work.

What’s the point, I thought?

Why am I working so hard at something so mundane?  How is this benefiting the world?

What saved me was realizing that my work as a manager made an impact every day.  Maybe I wasn’t going to change the world by making digital projectors or truck parts, but I could change how the people in my charge felt about their work.  I could change how they spent their time, how they engaged with each other, and how successful they were in their careers.

I realized my job was about helping people.

Yes, I had operational goals as well, but the beauty of well-rounded, motivated employees is that they have a practical value: they perform better.  A positive work experience that helps individuals achieve their personal goals benefits the whole organization.

So when you’re looking for meaning, struggling with the “why am I here?” question, try this:

Refocus on your team.

How can you help them grow their skills, or meet their personal or professional goals?  Is there an outside project someone is meaning to pursue?  Perhaps you can help them through networking, planning, or encouragement.

Think about how you can better meet their needs and maybe you’ll meet more of yours in the process.

 

How about you?  Have you struggled with finding meaning in your work?

 

Revised from original post – August 21, 2013

 

(Photo by Ray_from_LA via Flickr, licensed under Creative Commons)

 

Finding meaning…wherever you are.

Seedling by Ray_from_LA

Graduating with a degree in Anthropology, I never pictured myself working in the private sector, and definitely not in manufacturing.

But life happens, and I found myself in the business world.  And for a long time I struggled with finding meaning in my work.

What’s the point, I thought?

Why am I working so hard at something so mundane?  How is this benefiting the world?

What saved me was realizing that my work as a manager made an impact every day.  Maybe I wasn’t going to change the world by making digital projectors or truck parts, but I could change how the people in my charge felt about their work.  I could change how they spent their time, how they engaged with each other, and how successful they were in their careers.

I realized my job was about helping people.

Yes, I had operational goals as well, but the beauty of well-rounded, motivated employees is that they have a practical value: they perform better.  A positive work experience that helps individuals achieve their personal goals benefits the organization as well.

So when you’re looking for meaning, struggling with the “why am I here?” question, try this:

Refocus on your team.

How can you help them grow their skills, or meet their personal or professional goals?  Is there an outside project someone is meaning to pursue?  Perhaps you can help them through networking, planning, or encouragement.

Think about how you can better meet their needs and maybe you’ll meet more of yours in the process.

 

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Yes, and…(Opening the door to creative possibilities.)

 

(Photo by Ray_from_LA via Flickr, licensed under Creative Commons)