When it comes to our professional lives, we’ve been told to “lean in,” aim for the four-hour workweek, focus on “deep work,” and not give a f*ck. We’re encouraged by our employers to achieve on the highest level… but to absolutely prioritize work-life balance first. And we’re tasked with providing for our loved ones (and ourselves!) financially and emotionally.
We here at Busy Happy Healthy know just how hard living well and working hard can be: We’re a team that sometimes needs to works long hours – including weekends and nights. But we’re also a group that deeply prioritizes health, happiness, and personal fulfillment. Which is why it is so important to try and be passionate about our work – ahead, we have our top three recommendations how to do just that.
Find what you like doing best and push to do more of it
Are you secretly a killer public speaker? Do you have a gift for writing? Are you a numbers whiz? Seek out areas in your job that reinforce your skill sets and try to make them more central to your role. I’ll use myself as an example: I started my career in media, where a lot of my job consisted in crunching numbers and whizzing through spreadsheets. I’m not an incredibly analytical person and I don’t love excel. Rough.
I soon found, however, that there were other parts of my job that I really liked – such as writing media briefs, drafting client emails (seriously, I liked doing that), and contributing to creative brainstorms. I started asking my boss if I could sit in on more brainstorms, with my role being to send a recap email to all involved about what we discussed. My fellow colleagues loved how thoughtfully I summarized and (sometimes) contributed to the chats. Soon enough, creative and writing projects started pouring my way and that became my “thing.”
Set goals and celebrate them
Many of us neglect to cheer for ourselves when we accomplish milestones, largely because we don’t even realize that they are milestones! Remedy that by establishing – and then celebrating – goals. These don’t need to be the big and/or usual professional goals (get promoted, get a bonus, et cetera), but rather smaller, more intimate goals. For example, at the start of my career I used to really struggle with presenting to clients -- I’d become a nervous wreck. About two years in I was on a phone call and suddenly realized: I wasn’t nervous! I’m sure no one noticed but me, but that was an epic accomplishment. I didn’t celebrate it then but I sure as hell am going to celebrate it now: Go me!
Look to the positives -- or look elsewhere
Generally speaking, we get down easily. In fact, Psychology Today reports that up to 70% of our “mental chatter” is negative. Given that we, on average, spend 8-9 hours at work – which is more than the amount of time we spend asleep! – plenty of those thoughts are focused on our jobs.
This is why it’s crucial to bring a persistently positive attitude to our careers. For example, instead of focusing on what you don’t like about your job (quarterly earnings reporting), stay focused on what you do enjoy (your colleagues). If you find it hard to be upbeat about your work at all, then try focusing on the positive things your job does for you -- even if it's as basic as the fact that it provides you and your family with a source of income. (Many of us our blessed to have things like regular paychecks or health insurance, but we often forget about those things in the midst of dreary office to-dos.) And, hey, if there's absolutely nothing positive in your job -- actual work or how it benefits you -- then you heard it here first: Maybe it's time to start passionately pursuing something new. We're rooting for you!