I was thinking of expanding upon this topic at a later time because of how many people complain about their jobs more than anything. It is understandable! We spend 33% of our days, on average, in the workplace. If we are unhappy for 33% of our days and spend that time just waiting for the other 67% to come, we might as well try to make that 33% of time more satisfying.
Now, to begin, I do not hate my job, personally, but there WAS a time when I could not bear it.
So, what changed? My position? My company? Nope.
The answer is… I did.
Some of you may think your situation is unique. If anyone else had your job, they would hate it too, and there is no way your job can be as bad as theirs. Everyone’s experiences are relative so how can we possibly compare? What may be a great experience for you, may be a terrible experience for me. However, the one thing I think we can all settle on is having the feeling of dread getting ready for work in the morning, feeling that drop in your stomach when you realize it’s Sunday and Monday is creeping behind, or watching the clock with anxiety, frustrated that the time will not hurry the heck up!
If we can agree on all of those emotions, I think it is fair to say we all share in this experience.
Today, I am free from the feeling of dread in the morning, enjoy my sits in traffic to work and home, and I do look at the clock but I no longer curse that slow ticking hand.
I know it might sounds crazy but it also sounds pretty good, right? The good things is everyone has the capability of doing the same, but WE need to change!
So, Alex, that’s great and all but HOW do I change?
Good question. The solutions will vary depending on the person, but all I can share is what I did to change my perspective and ultimately changed my life.
This change came primarily with the adoption of two simple concepts: Self-awareness and Gratitude.
Making these a HABIT is critical in changing your way of thinking and your attitude towards everyday life.
First, having the self-awareness to understand the moments in the day that prompt a certain emotion is critical to making a change. Oftentimes we can all get caught up in this auto-pilot mode, where we react without reason.
For example, when I get a message from a frustrated, rude client who hurts my feelings, my initial, auto-pilot reaction is to tell them off and prove my point. However, this would indicate a lack of self-awareness. My self-aware self then brings reason into the equation. In this moment, I stop, reflect on the emotion I am feeling, which words exactly triggered this emotion, and be proactive about what the client’s response would be if I said something as a reaction rather than a reasoned response. Here, we might want to think twice. At the end of this reflection, most likely, I would resolve to keep it polite and professional. Here, I did not risk my reputation in the matter and felt I was the bigger person in the moment. Simply, “Not a problem. Have a nice night.” Not much too feel bad about after that response, huh?
The assessment of our emotions and our TYPICAL reactions to these emotions allows for us to make adjustments. How could we ever change our behaviors if we are never aware of them in the first place?
To assist in my quest for better self-awareness, I began journaling. While journaling, we are able to express our emotions on paper and read them back. Hmm, why did I feel that way? What can I do in my control to improve my reaction to this event that made me feel this way? Journaling provides us with an avenue to take a deeper dive to get to know ourselves better.
Second, gratitude. There is a Tony Robbins saying that I’m sure I have mentioned before, which I will paraphrase here. “It is impossible to feel sadness while also simultaneously expressing gratitude.” No matter how terrible a job might be, there is SOMETHING in this life I am sure you can find to be grateful for in those moments of frustration with your boss, annoyance with your co-worker, or confrontation with your client.
When you notice the feeling of worry or anxiety in the workday, think of that one person or thing that brings you joy and purpose for being alive and say, “Thank you.” That moment of anxiety just changed to joy by just doing that, if only for a brief moment. But, imagine how the accumulation of all of these brief moments of joy would improve your overall day experience.
Don’t allow for those 33% hours to be wasted in feelings of owe and frustration. Make something out of it! Again, this is a habit we are trying to establish within ourselves. So, the consistent and constant practice of self-awareness and gratitude will be crucial in the success of this how-to. Try these tips out every day for the next 30 days, and see if you notice a difference! Feel free to comment with your results. Enjoy!