Rather ying on your managers to magically know what you need to feel more valued and engaged at work, take matters into your own hands. Schedule a meeting and discuss how you feel about your job, how valued you feel and how engaged you are. Without complaining or criticizing, describe how your feelings impact your work and explain you want to do some joint problem solving. Work with him or her to develop a plan to increase your engagement or strategize best ways to maintain your high level of engagement. Your enthusiasm for increasing your personal level of engagement might open the door to finding creative ways to make your job more interesting and fulfilling. While it’s impossible to be highly engaged every minute of every day, if you include your manager in your plans to work towards higher engagement, you’ll ultimately be more successful in achieving your personal engagement goals. The bonus? Research shows that when employees are more engaged, they perform at higher levels. And when you perform at your peak, you are more motivated, creative and feel all-around good about yourself and others. What other ways can you increase your engagement?
Every ten years, U.S. travelers are required to renew their passports due to changing homeland security regulations. Renewing your passport means your travel documentation is accurate, up-to-date and in alignment with government travel requirements. In the same vein, it’s important that you take the time to reassess the current conditions in your life and make sure your present job is still in alignment with who you are and where you want to be. As roles and responsibilities in organizations reposition and change over time, ask yourself if your professional actions and outcomes are still in alignment with your job and career goals. Each year, get a big-picture perspective with your leader about the broader organization, and inquire about changes they foresee for your company, your department, and your role. Discuss what you can do today to realign and renew your skills so you can be ahead of the change curve. When did you last have this conversation with your manager? How’d it go?
There is an evil beast that lurks in the background of many people’s lives. It usually stays hidden from view until you want to do something, until you need to do something. The beast then announces its presence and drains the energy and drive you need to reach a target, achieve your objective, or just plain get something important done. It replaces your ambition with anxiety and feeds on unfulfilled desires and empty dreams.
This beast’s name is Procrastination. It is often confused with Laziness, but they are not the same. People who are inhabited by Laziness are unwilling to invest their energy in work. That is not you. You DO work, and you DO have energy… for the things that you believe are most important. But here’s the dilemma: You may believe that you need a change in your career or in your life, but the uncertainty of an unknown future is feeding your beast. You may know that the job you have is stifling your creativity or overwhelming your life, but the thought of trading off the security of today for the uncertainty of tomorrow is more than you can manage.
If you are unintentionally feeding the procrastination beast, consider the following:
- Pretending that something doesn’t matter doesn’t make it less important. If dissatisfaction with a job, career, or life situation is causing you distress, you can pretend you don’t care, but suppressed unhappiness can lead you to lash out to loved ones and become a person that you don’t want to be. Are you okay letting that happen? If not, starve your beast out of existence by refusing to pretend it doesn’t matter. Refuse to say that something you care about isn’t important.
- Doing something because someone says you “should,” or not doing something because someone says you “shouldn’t” can derail your strongest convictions. Before you follow someone else’s advice, listen to your own advice. Don’t let the opinions of others influence you to give up on your goals. Letting your goals and dreams fade into the belly of the beast won’t help you to achieve your life’s ambitions. Evaluate all options, and take the actions you choose to take, when and how you believe they will help you reach your goals. Stab your beast with the honesty of your own convictions. Refuse to say you can’t or shouldn’t because some else has told you so. You are the master of your own destiny.
- Striving for perfection can leave you disappointed and demotivated. There is no such thing as perfect. You can wait for the perfect time to do something, but unless you have realistic criteria for the perfect time, how will you know when it has arrived? You may say you don’t want to start exploring options for your life until you have the perfect vision of what you want, but without looking deep into your heart and soul, how will you know what options are worth pursuing? Remember, whatever is perfect isn’t real, and whatever is real isn’t perfect. So, be real. Be the best you can be, and that will be enough to kill the evil beast!
Martin Luther King Jr. once said “If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.”