‘Tis the season of love. What better way to celebrate Valentine’s Day than by reflecting on and reminding yourself of the things that you love most about your job?
The benefits of practicing gratitude are endless. Science shows people who regularly take stock of the things they’re thankful for experience more positive emotions, demonstrate greater compassion and humility, stress less, are less likely to burn out, develop better relationships, become more effective managers, find greater meaning at work, and so the list goes on.
So make a decision today to fall in love with your job again this Valentine’s Day. Here’s a blueprint you can take to heart as you set about doing just that.
1. Learn something new
Learning is an ongoing practice and a contact sport, not a one-time event. Pursue every opportunity to develop the knowledge and skills of yourself and those around you. Suggestion: Draw inspiration from podcasts, articles, and quotes (there’s a bounty of free resources online!) as well as by creating feedback loops with peers and mentors. Signing up for a webinar, conference, or panel can also be a great way to get inspired. The most important thing to keep in mind is to approach life with a beginner’s mindset.
2. Play to your strengths
Leverage the fundamental skills you already possess to support further growth. The more aware you are of how you uniquely deliver value for your team, the better you’ll become. And the better you become, the more engaged you’ll feel. In fact, a Gallup survefound that 67% of employees whose managers focused on their strengths were fully engaged in their work, in contrast with only 31% of employees whose managers focused on weaknesses. Suggestion: Make a list of your strengths and remind yourself of what you bring to the table. Then find more ways to integrate your skills little by little into your job every day.
3. Get social
Making an effort to connect with your teammates on a human level matters. Gallup shared that people who have a best friend at work are seven times more likely to be engaged than those who don’t. Suggestion: To strengthen bonds with colleagues and achieve true collaboration, seek out commonalities, whether that’s sports, a love of craft coffee, or other activities you enjoy in your free time. Then be the person who plans that fantasy football league, invites a coworker to chit chat over a cup of joe, or gets your team to sign up for the after-hours soccer league. There’s something for everyone. Bowling or trivia night can also be a fun leisure activity to get your team to connect outside the workplace.
4. Stay active
Remember to find moments throughout the workday to stay active. It can have a profound impact on how you feel and perform. Suggestion: No one prefers sitting at a desk for 10 hours straight, so take a walk, or perhaps squeeze in a lunchtime workout to keep your blood flowing. Perhaps even organize a lunchtime run with some co-workers. Even taking five minutes to stretch at your desk can make all the difference.
5. Mentor or be mentored
When it comes to mentorships, growth opportunities are widespread for all involved. A Wharton case study found that retention rates were much higher for mentees (72%) and mentors (69%) compared to those who didn’t participate in mentoring (49%). What’s more, mentors were promoted six times more often than those not in the program; mentees were promoted five times more often than those not in the program. You’ll also reap benefits from improved communication and leadership skills to enhanced confidence and motivation. There is great value in having someone to go to for an outside perspective and to bounce ideas off. Suggestion: Whether you’re a CEO looking to build a stronger network or an up-and-comer, find ways to bring value to others. Check if HR has a program, help set one up, or look outside the workplace for an unbiased opinion.
6. Get back to basics
It’s easy to get caught up in the moment if you find yourself at a difficult time or dealing with a difficult colleague at work. When in doubt, remind yourself of why you took the job in the first place. What was it that made you fall in love with your role? Think about the excitement you had when you started and get back to that mentality. When we forget, it’s easy to feel out of touch. Suggestion: Make a list of the reasons why you took your job, then map out where you want to be in the next three to five years to stay motivated. Then look back on your note when in doubt.
7. Challenge yourself
Feeling stuck in your everyday routine? Step out of your comfort zone and challenge yourself to shine brighter at work. Although easier said than done, the benefits of creating your own opportunities at work are worth the growing pains. Suggestion: Take the initiative to offer your coworkers or boss support. Being proactive about spotting strategic opportunities and proposing solutions is sure to get you positive recognition. You’ll also play a critical role in unleashing the potential of yourself, your team, and your company. Just remember, undertake the right projects and don’t take on extra work you can’t deliver on.
8. Up your emotional intelligence
It’s important to recognize our own emotions and those of others. In fact, it’s key to a positive and productive work environment. In our interview with the father of emotional intelligence, Daniel Goleman, he shared that “for jobs at every level, EI is about twice as important as cognitive ability. The higher you go in the organization the more it matters. For top-level C-suite jobs, 80% to 90% of the abilities that distinguish high performers is based on emotional intelligence.” Also revealing, Forbes shared that mood and engagement are contagious, so if you have a team member that is happy, the probability you will be happier goes up by 25%. Suggestion: When communicating with coworkers, think before you speak: is what you are about to say necessary, kind, and true? Other ways to foster greater mindfulness, sharper focus, and cope with stress include a regular meditation practice and breathing exercises.
9. Set your mind
Specifically, develop a growth mindset. A growth mindset is all about viewing your abilities as ever-evolving versus fixed. People who simply believe they can “grow their brain” through hard work and dedication outperform those who don’t. Suggestion: To feel and perform better at work, approach your learning and development as a constant work in progress. Take it one step at a time. And do the work.
10. Explore new opportunities
If you’ve taken this blueprint to heart and you’re still not feeling the love, there’s a chance this isn’t the right role for you. And that’s okay. There are lessons to be learned from every position you hold in your professional career. Some signs things are not perfectly suited might be feeling under-utilized, being bored more than not, dreading going to work, knowing your passion is elsewhere, or not seeing a future there. Suggestion: If this is the case, decide to explore new opportunities. If you’re not thriving, it’s in both your and your employers’ best interest to part ways. Take some time to reflect on what you enjoyed most and least about your job, and then map out which opportunities align most with those times that you felt in the zone, motivated, and passionate about your work.
We could keep going through the myriad of reasons to fall back in love with your job again, but in the end, it comes down to the eye of the beholder. We believe you should always do something that brings you joy, drives you to grow your edge and connects you to your organization’s purpose. Most importantly, we believe you should have a job that you love – one that unleashes your true potential. ‘Tis the season, try not to eat too much chocolate.
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