In my journey of self-employment, I’m reconnecting. Talking to connections – old and new, former colleagues, coach friends, friends. And as you might expect in that connection I get to a point where I talk about my story, my journey to where I am today and why I’m doing what I’m doing. More often than not, in that story comes a memory. A memory so vivid that it prompts me time and time again when people ask me what I do. It sparks the connection to my purpose, my passion – to the work I do in workplace happiness.
It’s one of those stories that people have prompted me to share more widely but I seem to shy away from it. I’m perhaps not so good at the ‘talking about yourself’ thing. But in the hope that it will help more people who are struggling to find their happiness at work, I’ve decided to park the shyness and share it with you ….so here goes!
It was a usual work morning…
…I pulled into the car park at my usual time, seeking out a space and getting my things organised for the day. As I stepped out of the car, I connected with the familiar faces around me. The people who I’d normally see at that time of day and in that particular area of the car park. Although that day was much the same as any other, something was also a little different.
One colleague jumped out at me that day more so than any other…
He was a gent in about his mid-late 50’s I’d say. Not anyone I knew but someone who’s face was familiar to me. A businessman like you might expect – dressed smartly in a suit and ready for his day in the office. But what I noticed about this chap in that particular moment were the smaller details …things I’d never noticed before. When I looked at him all that I saw was grey! … The greyness of his hair… the greyness of his suit…and sadly the greyness of his complexion. He looked so serious! Like he had no life, no energy, no purpose. That he had to do what he did whether he liked it or not. It looked like his spirit was gone…
…and this caused a reaction in me!
My self-talk kicked in immediately… ‘There is NO way on this earth I am going to let myself end up like that man!’ I knew I didn’t want my spirit to be gone! I had to do something about it.
You see the thing is…
I knew I was unhappy. I’d known it for some time but I’d let it fester, unaddressed! It was an unhappiness created by what I felt was going on around me, an environment that I felt didn’t enable me to be who I was all of the time. I felt like I’d lost my purpose.
But the reality is …
…what I thought I was seeing in that colleague of mine was exactly what I had become. The greyness I was seeing had nothing to do with that colleague at all. He may well have been happy in what he was doing and who he was. And I may well have seen something that wasn’t even what he had felt. It was what I had felt that had sparked the emotion in me. It was me who had become grey.
And what I know now is that the reality of the experience for me that day was a sign to reconnect with myself – my creative, playful, energetic self. One that I let die whilst I was trying to conform, aligning with someone else’s purpose, being what I thought may have been expected of me. Whether that expectation was real or imagined.
And this had affected my happiness!!!
So why am I telling you this?
People in workplaces have many grumblings about their environments. I know having spent many years in business that some of those grumblings are genuine. And I appreciate there are many things that organisations can do to address those grumblings – to make workplaces more enjoyable places to be.
But the bottom line is this … workplace happiness is not solely up to the organisation to address. There are also many things that we can do ourselves to make our workplaces more enjoyable, our time at work more enjoyable, our minds more enjoyable! We can be the master of our own workplace happiness.
…yes, really! Now I appreciate that we can’t wave a magic wand and get from an unhappy to a happy place overnight but we can do something about it….if we choose to that is!
So if you’ve chosen to do something about it then read on…
Here’s my 4 easy steps to help you on your way to boosting your own happiness at work.
- Be present…open your eyes and your ears to what’s going on around you. Sense the things that ‘get your goat’ on a daily basis. Maybe its the people that frustrate you, the behaviours that you find annoying or the work that you’re doing. Maybe its the practical stuff – like the commute to work, the queue for the car park, the fact the water cooler is out of water.
- Take note : Avoid at all costs depleting your energy by talking endlessly to others or in your own mind about these things. Simply jot down those things that are sparking emotion in you and affecting your workplace happiness. You’ll know instinctively when its happening – and if you find you don’t then stop for a minute and listen to what that self-talk of yours is saying when you don’t even realise it. You’re busy I know, but taking the time to jot even one word (so you can come back to it later) will help you connect to what is going on for you. Maybe even buy a journal or notebook specifically for your personal reflections.
- Cherish the responsibility : Ask yourself…what can I do to improve this situation? What action can I take? What am I or can I be accountable for in my own happiness at work? How can I change this into a positive situation? What action am I going to take?
- Track your progress : There will be times when you find yourself off track and you’re back to to the grumblings with your colleagues. If you find yourself there, don’t beat yourself up that you’ve fallen off the happy wagon. Concentrate your energy instead on how you can bounce back to that happy place. Ask yourself what’s getting in your way? How are you going to get yourself back on track? and what are you going to do differently this time?
I’d love to hear how you get on…
…to see what difference this makes for you. So if you’re comfortable to then please share your comments or stories – leave a comment, drop me an e-mail or share your progress with a friend. Getting a little boost from someone who believes in you I guarantee will make the world of difference for you.
Over to you …
If you’re unhappy at work and are struggling to get back to that happy place by yourself then please get in touch. I’d love to explore with you how my coaching programmes could assist you in getting to that ‘happier you’ much more quickly than you may be able to alone.
Just drop me a mail on firstname.lastname@example.org or give me a call.
“Be who you are and say what you feel because those that mind don’t matter and those that matter don’t mind”
– Dr Seuss