At a certain point in our lives, we hit cruising speed. Things settle into a routine. We may feel stuck, bored or restless at work, not quite knowing why. Life starts to feel stagnant. How can we find more fulfilment in our work? Are we in the right job? What is our passion?
If the world of work has recently lost its lustre, here are some tips on how to find fulfilment in work.
1 Create meaning and purpose
Viktor Frankl was a psychiatrist and a Holocaust survivor. Observing his fellow prisoners at the concentration camps, he found the differentiating factor between those who survived the Holocaust versus those who did not. Prisoners who had a reason to live always found the will to survive. Frankl called this the “will to meaning”.
“A man who becomes conscious of the responsibility he bears toward a human being who affectionately waits for him, or to an unfinished work, will never be able to throw away his life. He knows the “why” for his existence, and will be able to bear almost any “how”.” – Viktor Frankl
Knowing our why applies to the world of work as well. If we know the ‘why’ for our work, then each moment is imbued with significance. On the other hand, if we do not know why we work, then our work becomes a drudgery.
So ask yourself, why do you work? What impact do you make to yourself and to others?
2 Build supportive relationships
Back in the 1930s, a group of Harvard researchers wanted to find out what exactly made a happy and fulfilled life. So they embarked on an ambitious study to track hundreds of people through 75 years, surveying them on all kinds of dimensions every year. They asked about their work, families, relationships and physical health.
After 75 years of studying the group, the study found that one thing, and only one thing contributed to long-term well-being.
“Happiness is love. Full stop.” – George Vaillant, Director of the Grant Study at Harvard.
It turned out that warmth of relationships had the greatest positive impact on life satisfaction.
Whether in life or at work, relationships are a key ingredient for fulfilment. So build and nurture work relationships just as you would your personal ones. Sometimes a simple lunch with a co-worker or a heart-to-heart conversation with a colleague can add pleasantness and meaning to our working lives.
3 Recharge yourself to prevent burnout
In striving to meet the demands of our jobs, we may sometimes experience burn out. We put so much focus on our jobs, our friends, and our commitments that we neglect the one person that makes all this possible – ourselves. While it is important to perform, we also need to stop and refuel.
Each of us recharges in our own specific way. Somebody might treat themselves to a good meal, another might like to take a walk in nature. We each have to find out for ourselves what truly delights us and returns us energy. Going on long holidays is also a great way to recharge ourselves.
In fact, we get more creative when we give our brain a rest. That’s why so many of us get our best ideas in the shower. The science of creativity tells us that our brains produce the best ideas when we’re relaxed. Taking a break allows us to access our subconscious processes so we can come up with better solutions to problems.
4 Seek new areas of growth
We sometimes feel bored because we’re not growing. Human beings have a natural desire to grow, to expand, to fulfil our potential. When we hold ourselves back due to fear or doubt, we stop growing. When we stop growing, we get frustrated and bored.
Is your work offering you opportunities for personal growth? Personal growth includes intellectual growth, emotional growth, and physical growth. At work, we may be given the opportunity for intellectual growth through new assignments and new responsibilities. But we may not be given the opportunity for emotional growth, which requires self-awareness and introspection.
We can seek growth at work by finding mentors, getting coached, or simply asking for feedback on our performance. Anything that allows us to transcend our personal limitations ultimately leads to growth. So look inside yourself and find a personal limit you want to go beyond. Muster the courage, strength, love, and perseverance you need to overcome it, and you will surprise yourself.
5 Find ways to contribute
Human beings have a need for connection, to give and receive. We have a need to offer love, to contribute and serve. When we give deeply, truly, it is not the act of giving nor the impact of our actions that fill us. It is the momentary transcendence of ourselves to be part of something greater than ourselves that moves us.
“Only those who have learned the power of sincere and selfless contribution experience life’s deepest joy: true fulfilment.” – Anthony Robbins
When we give to others, we feel the bond of kinship and common humanity with another. In that moment, we see that what we give to others, we also give to ourselves.
In what ways can you contribute and make a difference? There may be something you can do in the workplace that adds value to a colleague, a cause you feel passionate about that allows you to make a difference through giving your time and expertise. Or perhaps by just simply, offering a listening ear.
For the past twenty years Cassie has helped hundreds of people increase their personal income, improve relationships and achieve more peace, balance and fulfilment in all areas of life and work. You can connect with Cassie in the following ways: