Sep 29 . 4 min read
What is your overall job satisfaction? Does your career fit into the overall picture and plan of what you want in life and who you were made to be? If not, it begs the question:
What do you want in life?
I was shocked at how many people I have found who were unable to answer that question for themselves. If you are at a loss for words, you’re not alone.
The reason can be rooted in these areas:
- You don’t know the options available to you.
- You don’t know your limits.
- You lack boundaries (and focus).
Know Your Options
Not knowing the available options sounds almost too easy, doesn’t it? But it turns out that it is very common. College students who had made choices they later regret state that these choices originated in unawareness of other options. Later in life, we often don’t assess the options until the discontent reaches a pain level that propels us to look up and look around, thus exploring the options again.
Exploring the options isn’t rocket science. You can take an assessment like the one 16personalities.com provides. It is based on the Myers-Briggs personality assessment and spits out a pretty neat profile that aligns your personality with fitting jobs. It’s a starting point. You may want to consider working with a career coach. This can help you explore your career options and develop a plan of action tailored to your needs.
Know Your Limits
If your job satisfaction has tanked, but you generally like what you do, then take a look at the seemingly elusive work-life balance. More importantly, achieve balance in your own quarters: manage your physical, emotional, mental and spiritual capacity. You’re not limitless.
Why am I stressing this point?
When I was younger, I thought I was invincible. I had no limits. I could get up early, stay up late, eat all kinds of stuff, do anything I wanted and get away with it. Only for so long. Unlimited or unrestrained behavior like that eventually catches up with us. We are incredibly resilient, but we do have limits. I don’t know why it takes a disaster for some of us to teach us our mortality and vulnerability. Take my word for it – the reality of this life lesson isn’t pleasant. Test your own limits if you want to see your health at risk or your family fall apart.
The irony here is that any inclination to appear invincible will in the end make you appear as weak as you will become when you don’t acknowledge that your capability has limits. You may be mentally sharp and physically strong, but you need rest to fuel your batteries on all levels to maintain that strength. To use you favorite car as an analogy: you wouldn’t consider the car less powerful just because you had to do a pit stop to refuel it.
Set Boundaries And Maintain Focus
Believe it or not, it is actually possible to have a fulfilling family life and be successful at your job at the same time. I had a boss who consistently overachieved on all her ambitious targets and who gave birth to a healthy child, and who had a balanced family and work life.
How did she do it?
She had laser-sharp focus and she knew her limits. She also knew how to set healthy boundaries around her priorities. To do that, you need to know what your priorities are. That requires clarity. Once you have clarity, you can begin to build a plan around your priorities, build margin into your schedule and erect boundaries around them to help you meet those priorities.
Complaining about other’s expectations, or about work overload that extends beyond a normal peaks-and-valleys cycle often points to lack of boundaries. No is a legitimate response to a request – even at work. You are at work under contract, not a slave. You do have personal commitments, family needs, weekends, etc.
If you find yourself in a permanent state of working around the clock, it’s time to address it at work. Perhaps your work needs to be supported by another employee. Maybe you need to assess the priorities. Maybe you need help in finding a more efficient way to do your work. Maybe it is time to move on. It’s your job to find out.
Job satisfaction is your responsibility. You own your happiness. Your emotions are yours. If you don’t like your life or work, it is your responsibility to ignite change – whether you work with a recruiter, a career coach, or yourself on your mindsets and habits. Your job satisfaction is yours to shape.
Get clarity on what you want first. Any subsequent step is useless without clarity.
Examine your thoughts. You don’t know who you are or who you’re dealing with unless you know your own thoughts and feelings. Your thought life tells you a lot about your feelings and can help you to gain clarity about what you want (and don’t want).
Your job satisfaction reveals your level of clarity, ability to stay focused, set boundaries and manage your responsibilities and limitations. The better you learn to know yourself and manage these areas, the more you will influence not just your job satisfaction, but your satisfaction with your life.
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