You have feelings. Feelings that are there to guide you and that don’t go away during a meeting, at the office, or at a conference. The salary and title you have only mean so much when you feel disconnected from the work you’re doing. Our workplaces would be radically different if we let how we feel at work guide us instead of just trying to think and strategize our way through our careers. What if the titles and promotions mattered less than feeling challenged, inspired, and fulfilled?
How do you feel about your work right now? When you think about your day today, do you feel drained or energized? Interested or bored?
How do you want to feel while you’re working? Inspired? Creative? Connected? If how you actually feel and how you would like to feel are closely aligned, hooray! Keep building up that alignment. If how you feel and how you would like to feel are on opposite ends of the spectrum, start paying attention to times when you may have felt aligned while working. What were you doing when you felt the way you wanted to? What was it about that action/environment/community that made you feel good? How can you incorporate more of that into your life today?
The next time you think about where you want to get to in your career, I'd encourage you to consider first how you want to feel while you're actually doing the work. Once you get clear about how you want to feel in your career, you'll have a much better sense of what kinds of work actually nourish you.
If you have ideas or reflections related to doing work that makes you feel glad to be alive, I’d love to hear about it! This is a new framework for me, and I love learning about it from others. You can comment here or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This premise is in large part thanks to the work of Danielle LaPorte.