Hate your work? Do you know why? It’s almost always because you’ve lost your purpose.
I mean, you could happily carry a load of rocks on your back for 100 miles if you knew it would save the people you loved. The load would be a lot lighter because you knew what your purpose was. It’s the same with work. So here are the 8 steps for rediscovering your purpose and getting happy about work again:
1. Define your life’s purpose. This is something you can assign yourself, or rely on divine intervention to do. Once you have a purpose, you can determine how to use your business as a vehicle for delivering on your purpose. And by the way, if you can’t figure out what your purpose is, then make your life’s purpose to be finding your life’s purpose. Use your work as the great investigation of what you like and don’t like. Don’t judge yourself. Just keep asking why you don’t like things and why you do. Become really, really curious about you.
2. Everything in life is a choice. If you start the morning and say it’s going to be a bad day, it likely will be. If you say it will be a great day, it likely will be. It's not what happens, but the meaning you assign to what happens. Recognize you have the power to choose not only what you see, but also how you see it. Choose to be happy at work.
3. Chunk your day. It’s far too easy to become unhappy when there’s no end in sight. So intentionally break up your day into one- or two-hour chunks. Position yourself to have something completed during that time, even if it's just the completion of one step. Then go take a break to celebrate. Come back and tackle the next step. Regular intervals of completion of small tasks give us a string of small accomplishments that make us happier than infrequent success and long intervals between big accomplishments.
4. Stop watching TV. Studies indicate that unhappy people watch more TV. This is not a chicken or the egg question. When unhappy people started watching less TV, they became happier. TV may be your outlet from an unhappy day at work, but it’s probably just adding to your unhappiness. Try to spend that time with some (happy) friends.
5. Birds of a feather. The old saying, “birds of a feather, flock together,” is true. Vultures or bluebirds—it’s your choice. We are the aggregate of the five people we spend the most time with. Those five people are usually the people we work with. If they’re negative, you probably are too. If they're unhappy, you will be sucked into the same misery party. Pick happy positive people to hang out with. It won’t be an instant cure, but the more time you spend with them, you’ll change for the better.
6. Get a life. All work and no play makes you unhappy at work. You need a life outside of your business to be happy at your business. Having something to look forward to, something to share with colleagues or friends when you’re at work, all make you happier at work. Hobbies are great, but also consider joining a meet-up group if you’re not the hobby type. There are meet-up groups for sports, movies, dining out, hiking, running, book clubs or even playing board games. To find a group in your area, go to Meetup.com. It’s free to join.
7. Make friends. Don’t be the weird guy (or gal) who comes in, does his or her thing, eats lunch huddled in a corner over a book or magazine and then schleps home every day without engaging in any social chit-chat. Make a friend with someone in your business. It will make the day go faster, and you’ll feel better having someone to run ideas past and talk to, who understands what you’re talking about.
8. Grow. Take a continuing education class, read an inspirational or educational book, go to a conference or meet-up, or hang out with other like-minded self-improvement types. You’ll grow your confidence, skills and networking opportunities.
Remember, your state of mind—your happiness—is a choice. To get out of the situation you’re in, or to improve it, choose to do something different. Yeah, it’s that easy.
Looking for more inspirational tips? Check out these great productivity articles.
Mike Michalowicz is the CEO of Provendus Group, a consulting group that helps companies whose growth has plateaued to grow again. Michalowicz is the author of The Pumpkin Plan and The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur, as well as one of the most popular entrepreneur blogs.