MOST of us have to work for a living. But ALL of us want to be happy. And happiness at work requires a “work-life balance”. The phrase often invokes thoughts of flexible hours, ample paid time off, and elements of a positive work environment. Now, that’s not incorrect, but it is incomplete. The term is comprised of three important and distinct words. And at the center of it all, is the gift of LIFE. And when reflecting on the daunting concept of LIFE, our minds almost inevitably journey through questions of PURPOSE (What is my Life’s purpose?) and HAPPINESS (What in this Life of mine makes me happy?) And before we can even help it, we’re back to thinking about jobs and career paths…and how to balance work (jobs and careers) with LIFE (purpose and happiness).
If you are lucky enough to have an employer who cares about you, your work, and your happiness, than I would dare to say, your battle is won! As for the rest of us, the majority, we struggle with the concept and actualization of happiness, purpose, and the coveted balance. No, I don’t have the answer. But as a life-long learner I seek it fervently and deliberately. And I want to share a few lines, formulas, and epithets that keep me hopeful we can work and live happily ever after.
Knowing what works at work (and, at home) is largely dependent on how well we know ourselves; and that takes some honest reflection. And if you are anything like me, you are already thinking:
Reflection? “Ain’t nobody got time fo dat!”
But what I really ain’t got time for?... Being unhappy without an action plan to change it.
And the first step in said action plan is: Get to Know Thyself Better. I recommend a good ol’ fashion Q & A session with ourselves. Ask (and answer) these questions for yourself inspired by author Whitney Johnson:
- What skills have helped you survive (or thrive) this long?
- What made you stand out as a child?
- What makes you feel strong?
- What compliments do you ignore?
Answering these questions for ourselves might take an hour, a week, may be longer. In comparison, we should ask “How long have I already gone without knowing these things about myself?” And I bet that time is exponentially longer, and “Ain’t nobody got time fo DAT!”
The answers to these questions (or others like them) have the potential to reveal our GIFTS. Our gifts may or may not be related to what we do for a living, but our GIFTS are what we are good at. And for the sake of our confidence, happiness and purpose we should all exercise what we are good at! Whether at work or in pursuit of our passion – but ideally, BOTH!