A favorite author on mine, Annie McKee, has a new book out called How To Be Happy at Work. According to McKee, one of the keys to being happy at work is to approach your vocation with purpose.
Now, as a CEO, this book reminds me that to do my job as well as I can, I must work to create an environment where you can achieve purposeful work. At the same time, as I read McKee’s book, she’s clear that finding purpose is an inside job.
Here are some of the strategies she suggests:
- Make, Create, Innovate – Doing something new and different is purposeful. Looking at the work you are doing with an eye toward making it better and doing something that achieves that goal can be very inspirational. We have a habit of conforming to the norm and following the established routine. But, anything you focus on will get better. Take a fresh look at the way things are done and dare to modify it. It opens up your creative mind
- Fix problems – You know the problems and frustrations you deal with each day. Pinpoint the hassles you deal with every day, come up with potential solutions to fix them. If you can, do something about the problem. If you can’t, ask for the resources to work on them. Eliminate your hassles and you make life better for you and your teammates. Develop a reputation for eliminating hassles and you will become more valuable to the company.
- Relationships matter. If you are a teacher, find someone to teach and to share your expertise with. If you are a colleague, build relationships by helping deal with tough situations and workloads. If you are inexperienced, ask more experienced people to help you develop your skills. One of the things known about successful teams are that they are filled with people who care about each other. Be a builder of relationships.
- Learn. Develop learning opportunities. Different jobs. Different skills Develop a learning objective and make it known.
No matter who your boss is, you have a chance to implement some of these purpose building strategies. As I said, I am also responsible to help assure that you get the support you want.