Would you be willing to take a breather with me for a moment? To look at your work as a CEO, construction contractor, copy writer or fill in the blank from a different angle? To consider what a successful company requires and what makes a career fulfilling? Can we stroll away from the talk of strategic plans and SEO, copywriter services, social media marketing and the like to concentrate on the foundation of this thing?
What does it take to truly succeed in business?
The numbers offer a temporary thrill. Sales promise future viability. Profit breeds a sense of ease, convenience and even comfort. But, on their own, these things fall flat. After all, even the highest of salaries miss the satisfaction and fulfillment markers when they stand alone.
In fact, the pursuit of these significant variables often leads to stress and tension. Is that success? Is that fulfillment? I venture to say, “no.” So, I would like to steer clear of those things as we talk to today. Because it has come to my attention that greater principles lie beneath the work we do and the fulfillment which comes from it.
I draft words as a copy writer to earn income. And, I love the work. But, recently I have realized that this alone fails to fill me. As I struggle to find contentment in my work and life, a few valuable principles have risen to the forefront, rewarding my quest.
Now, of course, I could just try one of the most fulfilling careers in the U.S. According to LinkedIn, chefs experience 84 percent fulfillment with real estate agents claiming 75 percent and doctors at 68 percent. IT consultants and architects follow closely behind.
But, those fields hold no interest for me. So, what am I to do? What are you to do? Simply wade through to catch the next wave of happiness? There is more hope than that.
Let me share three keys to finding job (and life) satisfaction and fulfillment whether you work as a copy writer like me or as the CEO of a Fortune 500 company.
Do not skip this section because you fall miserably short of Picasso, Mozart or Baryshnikov. Creativity is not reserved for the masters alone. In fact, the definition of this oft misunderstood word merely states the use of the imagination or original ideas to produce work. Said another way, creativity involves thinking beyond traditional ideas, rules and patterns to develop meaningful new ideas.
In the context of a successful and fulfilling career, pursuing a creative sideline increases job satisfaction. For proof, the Journal of Positive Psychology reports the details of a study on this subject. The research concluded that volunteers engaging in creative pursuits on one day reported significantly greater energy, enthusiasm and excitement the next day at work. Plus, these same participants scored themselves higher on the “flourishing” scale.
These sideline activities boost the degree of your creativity and change the approach you take with your job. Whether you putter in the kitchen as an amateur chef, two-step around the local ballroom or learn guitar via YouTube, your brain resets its creativity quotient and the impact proves life wide. Plus, your identity broadens and becomes more resilient. In other words, you are not defined by your work alone.
But, how is the full-to-the-brim calendar of the professional suppose to accommodate the addition of these personal, creative pursuits amid the board meetings, travel and daily problem-solving? I get it. Writing, five kids, a husband, school activities, team meetings and more fill my days. But, the power of this concept proves over and again to me its value.
Trust me? Even if the answer is “no,” give it a shot:
- Start small. And, build from there.
- Assess where you waste a few minutes each day. Checking email, scrolling Facebook, wandering aimlessly in fatigue?
- Re-claim those minutes in a lump sum to do a bit of creating.
As a result, you will experience:
- Improved creativity.
- The benefits of your side hustle and job drawing on one another.
- Greater work efficiency in the days afterward.
Even small-time pursuits reap rewards. Think doodling, knitting and daydreaming. Yes, these random, thought to be time killers count. Choose something you love to do or have always wanted to try, and give it a go.
In her article, Want to Be Happier at Work? Don’t Quit Your Job – Get a Creative Side Hustle, Phyllis Korkki encourages us:
“Know that 20 minutes here and there add up. We can make it a priority to find time to devote to personally meaningful endeavors. And collectively, we can work toward building a culture that understands our creations are no less meaningful if they don’t pay the mortgage or the rent.”
Joy can be elusive for certain. Remember the unbridled joy of childhood as you ran around the backyard or simply woke up eager for the day to begin? I admit that in recent days I wonder where that exuberance has gone. In fact, life seems a bit flat as of late.
But as I wrestle this through, two things come to mind relating joy to work. One, passion breeds joy. Two, taking my eyes off myself reveals joy.
Love What You Do
Let’s start with passion. Discovering what you love comes through the things for which you are grateful, your creative interests and the activities which have drawn your attention since your youth. Interestingly, the issues which upset you or cause you to go on the defensive hold clues to your passions as well. In other words, what issues and activities drive and motivate you?
In regard to work, research finds two intriguing predictors of joy related to passion (though there are likely more). First, job satisfaction relates to the degree to which you align with your employer’s mission. In other words, you want to feel as if you make a difference, right?
Second, the presence of “flow” proves vital. You have likely experienced this phenomenon in your lifetime. Remember that project that consumed you to the point of forgoing nutritional input and growing completely unaware of the clock? You had flow. The more your job capitalizes on this experience, the more joy grows.
Celebrate With Others
While the above concepts address our internal connection to a mission and meaningful work, I find the second principle more compelling and intriguing. You must take your eyes off yourself to find joy.
While this may seem counter-intuitive, finding ways to serve the mission or others and identifying the good in others saves you from a variety of traps. These spirals of downward thinking include the Comparison Trap, “Why not me?” syndrome and “Woe is Me” cycles. And, good thing because they do you no favors.
On the contrary, studies show that serving others and sharing in their joys brings feelings of reward which increase your happiness. Celebrating the victories and accomplishments of colleagues and recognizing the good they bring to the workplace without considering your own loss or gain creates unity, belonging and a sense of team. Yes, an other-focus improves your life and the workplace.
A beautiful illustration of this idea comes in Ann Voskamp’s blog (written by Dandi Daley Mackall) titled, The Best Habit to Cultivate When Joy is Eluding You. Through her special needs daughter, Dandi learns the art of sharing other people’s joys. And, this practice returns joy upon joy to you.
With the competitive nature of the business world, cultivating this attitude of sharing in the joy of colleagues and employees breeds an environment of success. Inspiration to put forth the best work, take risks and learn comes from knowing others believe the best of you. And, clinical cases suggest this climate increases company longevity.
The author of “Give and Take”, Adam Grant, reminds that being “otherish” or giving more than you receive requires you to keep your interests in sight to prevent overwhelmedness or burnout. Avoiding guilt-trip serving, being proactive, and integrating your interests and skills guards against this issue.
That being said, jump into joy by taking any of the following actions:
- Consider your passion and joy sharing capacities in life, particularly at work. How does the status of either reflect on your fulfillment on the job?
- Intentionally celebrate the joy of others. Can you identify at least one person this week and share in his or her joy?
- Keep a positive attitude even in the face of adversity or conflict. If you think into tomorrow, what steps can you take to improve your routine?
Furthermore, if you are the boss, your leadership in cultivating a positive work atmosphere is crucial. Research indicates good return on your investment in creating this environment. But, how can you breed joy and thereby job satisfaction in your employees? Check out this business article for a quick start primer.
Maintaining an attitude of gratitude requires intent and practice. Recognizing and affirming the goodness in the world and our lives despite the burdens, hassles and struggles takes practice. Even for the eternally perky employee who always presents a good mood, I promise you, it does not come naturally. It is indeed a discipline.
But, the efforts prove worth the fight.
For certain, the benefits of being thankful are backed by science. For instance, a study asked over 1000 people to keep gratitude journals for three weeks. The consistency of this practice equated with a host of physical, psychological and social benefits.
And, these rewards pay off in your business. High levels of positive emotions, alertness, increased joy and pleasure and being more generous and compassionate benefit work productivity and relationships. Plus, studies further conclude that gratitude positively correlates with job satisfaction. (For more on this, read 10 Plus Reasons to Give Thanks for Your Blog Copywriter.)
In my own life, this practice proves powerful. After adding daily to a list of moments and observances that I was thankful for over the course of 30 days, I found greater resilience when dark, overwhelming life circumstances hit at the end of the month. While I struggled to gain my footing, my mind, practiced in gratitude, continued to find reasons to be thankful.
And, the same applies to your career and work relationships. Personal practices of gratitude leave you less isolated, more outgoing, compassionate and forgiving. And, with these qualities on board, you see others and your work experience with renewed vision.
Furthermore, gratitude itself requires “a humble dependence on others” as Robert Emmons terms it. You cannot be thankful without recognizing the goodness a higher power or other human beings bring to your life. These gifts do not come from you alone.
To get started cultivating thankfulness, pick one of the following options and run with it:
- Keep a gratitude journal.
- Create a gratitude board (even in the board room).
- Commit to recognizing the good in three people each day. Tell them.
- Write weekly thank you notes to family, friends and colleagues.
- Use visual reminders.
- Consider gratitude for what you give not just what you receive.
To further demonstrate the power of gratitude on business success, research backs the idea of company-wide gratitude measures. A study conducted by Bersin & Associates reveals that companies who excel at the thank-you economy prove 12 times more likely to achieve strong business results. In fact, companies which embrace attitudes of gratitude garner employees with qualities of:
- Less stress.
- Greater self-worth.
And, these characteristics lead to greater productivity. So, also consider including your gratitude practices in your leadership on the job. The whole company will benefit.
The Sum of It
Of course, the list of qualities required to find fulfillment in your work could go on. To move past mere job satisfaction to success, you could also look at:
- Maintaining strong boundaries.
- Developing a healthy money relationship.
- Moving away from energy drains.
- Facing your fears with courage.
- Building healthy, positive working and support relationships.
But, leaving these subjects for another time, the foundation of creativity, joy and gratitude get you started on the road to success. Begin today by choosing one activity from each quality and acting on it. I believe you will experience greater fulfillment in your work. After all, my life is a living testimony to the research which backs these vital keys to success.
In Need of a Copy Writer?
At Copywriter Today, we believe in developing an environment where writers are encouraged to pursue creative interests, share joys with one another and express an attitude of gratitude. What does this mean to you? We have a fulfilled copy writer at the ready to pour resulting energy into making you a success.
Contact us today to discover the work we can do for you.
P.S. I would love to hear how creativity, joy and gratitude impact your work and feelings of fulfillment. Post a comment below. And, be sure to share this blog with friends. The more involved in the conversation the merrier.