Grind got you down? Forgot what your passion for joining your current work drive was? Forgot what made you want to try it as a career? We’ve all been there. I think more than anything else 2020 was a big huge pause button for us to recall why we choose the careers we choose. We got a lot more time to reflect and think about what we choose as our occupational path. For some, it was the wrong one. For others, we forgot our careers that once made us excited don’t owe it to us to feed out excitement. We owe it to our careers.
I learned from a recent change in my path and from taking the time I have to reflect on next, how I will do it differently. One of the most direct ways we can do this in our career is to constantly put ourselves in front of that work that makes us excited and challenged. But, when our work gets busy, and assuredly it will consistently happen, we don’t always remember to take the time out to assess whether we are doing those most enjoyable things that we signed up for. Somewhere along the way we felt it was entitled to us. That it should be owed to us.
I learned from a simple exercise from a company called Holstee that helped me bring this back into perspective. Every 3 months or so, with my new work, I am putting on my calendar protected time to do this exercise every 3 months. Because, my job I realized, doesn’t owe it to me. I owe it to it. Holstee recommend three simple reflection points to harvest from:
- Why you should try it? What made you try it in the first place as a career option?
- How to do it? When was the last time you took a time out for a day or two, and really figured out how you need to bring that happiness back? (HINT: Your job won’t provide this for you, you have to.)
- Why it works? What can you combine in your day together that makes your job less habitual and get more satisfaction?
“This exercise prompts you to engage in a variety of activities associated with happiness and reflect on how they make you feel. Different kinds of activities bring different kinds of satisfaction, all of which contribute uniquely to happiness.”Holstee, Creating Positive Events, Greater Good Toolkit
Imagine that message with your career as the filter. What are some of the varieties of things available in your work that you could do that make you happy? Maybe you waited for them to come to you. I say go after them! Lean in!
The second exercise is strongly encourage to take you up to 1-2 days of reflection to complete. This only works if you make the protected time to do it. It’s that kind of reflection from my perspective that makes you go deeper than just taking 30-60 minutes or reflection. Do it on a day off. When you’re removed from the work, you have the best chance to connect the dots looking backwards to understand what you’re doing that you enjoy and don’t.
In this second exercise Holstee suggests we we reflect on threes areas. Our work we enjoy doing alone, work you enjoy doing with others, and work that personally develops you or engages you to grow. Here’s some of Holstee’s recommended questions to ask yourself:
“What did you do, and how did it make you feel? Did different activities make you feel different kinds of happiness? What feelings or associations linger with you now, after you have completed all activities?”Holstee, Creating Positive Events, Greater Good Toolkit
The last part of this reflection exercise is a dive into identifying why “habituation” in our efforts or getting used to the things we commonly do in our careers is dangerous, mitigating it, and bring more satisfaction to our work.
Here’s what Holstee shares about the last reflection exercise.
“What’s more, research suggests that combining activities that are related to different kinds of happiness can promote greater overall happiness than focusing on only one kind of happiness.”Holstee, Creating Positive Events, Greater Good Toolkit
I’ve heard a lot that finding a job you love, you’ll never have to work a day in your life. But, what they didn’t share is you have to invest in that work. Add to that work. Enrich that work every once in a while, to truly find the love in it. It’s not going to be owed to you, or entitled to you, it can be taken away from you, and we can during the grind lose our way.
I want to give Holstee a lot of credit. I’ve followed them a lot during my career changes and one of the best coaches at reminding me to harvest more in my failures and successes, personally or professionally. Sometimes we need someone else to help us and bring clarity to what we can’t see. Help us mitigate our blind spots.
Check out the Greater Good Toolkit once you check into the link below, if you’re looking for the exercise above on site. Great Good Toolkit isn’t just for teams and individual contributors, it’s for anyone. The toolkit provides over 30 different reflection cards for you to use. Lots of reflection questions. Great guides for you to lean in with yourself or with your team on. Highly recommend them.
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