In our Facebook Live broadcast Tuesday we talked about how to increase your job satisfaction on your own. Our discussion came on the heels of several discussions about how to stay motivated at work. One of the most effective ways to stay motivated at work is to make sure you are exercising your purpose on a daily basis. And one of the best ways to exercise your purpose? Step up to the plate when you’re offered an opportunity to contribute.
So, a quick overview of purpose. Your purpose is informed by your values and your passions. Your values might include dealing with challenging problems, creativity, independence, and being involved with something that yields practical or useful results. Your passions might include working with people, teaching, or problem solving – or any combination of things. Both of these feed into your purpose.
Why do you work?
At work your purpose might be to deliver an unparalleled customer service experience so your customers look forward to calling in for help. Or, it could be to create innovative instruction that allows each of your students to enjoy learning. Your purpose could also be to deliver well thought out, quality projects on-time and under budget. It could even be to put together teams who can deliver creative solutions for customer problems.
Don’t be afraid to show them what you can do.
When you’re offered the opportunity to affect change at work, and it’s in the realm of your purpose/ passion/ values, you have to step up to the plate and go for it. You must take that risk. Here’s an example from one of our Facebook Live coaching sessions. An attendee told us about an opportunity that’s come up at her job. The heads of all the departments where she works have been instructed to overhaul all their processes, so everything is up for examination and change. She’s been at this job for a couple of years now, and she has some ideas. But here’s what she said: “I feel that I have a lot to contribute toward this goal but the ‘politics’ scare me. I’m afraid to stick my neck out and promote change.”
We get that, don’t we? It’s hard to push ourselves out there and contribute when we’re not sure what’s going to happen. So here’s the thing, this woman is an amazing project leader, a crazy good customer support person, and she loves both. She focuses on the end result and knows how to deliver exceptional results. Her purpose is to deliver exceptional value to her managers and exceptional customer service experiences to her customers. She’s passionate about doing great work and creating relationships.
So, this is an opportunity that aligns to both her purpose and passion at work. She has to take it because it’s really 3 opportunities. It’s an opportunity is to do the work that she loves to do, so it’s also an opportunity reinvigorate her motivation at work. And – this one is huge – it’s her opportunity to shine, to be noticed, to let people know there’s more to her than they realize.
Expectations hold you back.
You might ask, “She’s got this covered, so what’s holding her back?” Good question. I’m pretty sure I know what’s holding her back. It’s the same thing that holds us all back. She even alluded to it in her comment. She’s afraid of what’s going to happen after she offers her feedback. And folks, that is the problem that keeps us stuck right where we are – unhappy, dissatisfied, wishing we could change things for the better at work, wishing someone would come rescue us.
Take that opportunity to shine!
And here’s the solution. Do it anyway. Yes, I mean it. Do it anyway. Then let go of the results. Put forth your best effort, do your best work, put it out there. But…. First examine your motives, your emotions about work, and how you feel about yourself. Make sure you’re not attaching so much significance to this project that you’ll be crushed if it doesn’t turn out a certain way. Air out all of your emotional work baggage then examine it carefully. Acquire the mindset that says “This is a great opportunity to contribute by doing what I do best. I’m going to put it out there and I’m going to walk away knowing I’ve done my best.” Then do the work. Present it. Then walk away with no expectations, because those expectations are what keep you from taking the risk and doing the work. All those expectations masquerading as what if questions keep us stuck right where we are.
Let go of the result.
When we dare to put our best work out there and walk away with no expectations we win. We win because we forced ourselves forward. We win because we dared to live out our best selves at work. We win because, whether or not they realize it, the people we work with have just been gifted with the opportunity to experience our very best work and the opportunity to use that work to help everyone move forward.
Put your best work out there.
So do it. Examine your motives, do your best work, put it out there, and walk away, head held high, relishing that you took that risk. And feel how your motivation at work returns. Because it’s not about how they feel about your work/ suggestions. It’s about how you feel empowered by doing your work, your way. You’ve taken control.