What’s Love Got to Do With It?
Do you love your work?
Are you passionate about what you do?
These questions used to fill me with dread as I felt pressure to either answer “yes”, or at least know exactly what is the work that I would love to do.
Everywhere we look we can see articles and podcasts and YouTube videos around the importance of doing the job we love to our long term well being. But it is rarely something that is talked about on our paths at school or university.
It feels as if we are looking for LOVE in our work in the same way we would look for it in our life partner. We just hope to fall into it.
Work Love is, fortunately, a less elusive concept than romantic love and it has some clear components. And the good news, we have control over all of them (you might just not know it yet).
Values and Purpose
Our LOVE for work is not so much about the work itself but how it is aligned with what is meaningful to us.
Very often your frustration with work can come because the values the company has might be clashing with yours, or their purpose is not aligned with what is important to you.
The more you are clear on the values and purpose you have, the easier it will be for you to identify with the jobs and organizations that can bring meaning to your day-to-day paid work.
It does not mean that your values and purpose necessarily have to be a hundred percent aligned, but the more they can be intertwined, the more meaningful your work will be to you.
In my corporate career I have worked for the organization that was extremely costumer centered. Everything we did revolved so much around our customer and I loved that. I could really see how every task I did: from the mundane admin to the communication with our legal team around certain legislation was done to serve our customers. That really aligned beautifully with my value of helping people.
When you are frustrated for a prolonged period of time with what you do at work, that is very often an indication that you are either going against your values or you are off course with your purpose.
Before you decide to jump ship and do something new, make sure to clarify if that new LOVE will be compatible with what truly matters to you. Otherwise you risk getting unsettled again, as soon as the honeymoon period it over.
Nothing disengages us more than unclear expectations of the job that we do. You can feel very passionate about what your team/company wants to achieve, but if you are not clear how you can contribute towards it, then you will start disengaging.
Part of the responsibility here lies with the managers and the leaders. The goals and objectives they escalate down have to be clear, achievable and measurable.
Feedback has to be continuous and embedded in clear examples of how your behaviour impacts the rest of the team: positively and negatively.
And saying that, what do you do when you find yourself in the situation that all the above are not executed at its’ best?
You sharpen up your own communication skills.
You are not clear about your goals, or they are too broad, or feel unachievable – you need to speak up.
Having coach-like conversations will come in handy here. We hear a lot about the need for the leaders to be more coach-like. I think we all should strive to develop this skill. We should know how to have coach-like conversations not only with people who report to us, but also with our peers and our own leaders.
The way to look into the coach-like conversation here is to be curious, reflect back what you hear and see, and stay open.
We love to do what we are good at or what we know we have the capacity to become good at.
It does not mean that we will not take on a challenge or go outside our comfort zone, but there needs to be some level of excitement about it.
If most of the activities you do drain your energy it is time to pause and re-assess.
Doing what you are good at but gives you no joy in return, is a sure way to burnout or active disengagement. Both of which are equally harmful for yourself and the organization.
When that happens, this is the time to go back to the communication piece mentioned above and talk with your manager. They can see your results, but not the inner workings of your energy.
Make sure you are clear with your strengths and own them.
Owning your strengths means you know exactly how to apply them. Which activities bring the best out of you and which ones drain you.
Being proactive in surrounding yourself with people who have a different set of strengths. That way you can help each other grow, through the unique sets of strengths you all bring.
When it comes to the LOVE affair with your work, you have so much more in your control than you might sometimes feel.
What is the status of the relationship you currently have with your work?
Dovile Corrigan is an experienced strengths coach at Azkua, who works with professionals and their team to help them to do better and more off the things that they are good at. For more information e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.azkua.eu. You can also connect with Dovile on LinkedIn via https://www.linkedin.com/in/dovilecorrigan/