When was the last time you were fulfilled at work? (A reflection)
It's an honest question and one that I wonder how you will answer? You see, I believe that we've become accustomed to not asking this question and cruising through life like it just, doesn't, matter.
Does it matter?
I mean, you are paying the bills, raising your family and you have a good job. You might even be running your own business, doing exactly what you wanted to do when you left corporate life.
So, I guess you're happy - aren't you?
Think about the question, really think about it. Are you happy?
Do you leap out of bed, your heart singing, with a smile on your face. When you think of your work do you feel ... joy?
No? Yes? Maybe?
The Oxford Living Dictionaries tells us that to be fulfilled is to be satisfied or happy because of fully developing one's abilities or character. So, being fulfilled is about your own personal development. If I ask the question 'are you fulfilled at work?' does this make it a question that is easier to answer?
Whenever I make the commute into London to work with clients, I ponder the question of fulfilment. Everywhere I look I see people who look the very opposite of fulfilled. If you speak to them, they tell you about terrible bosses, unchallenging work and a desperate longing for the weekend.
Working life shouldn't be like that.
When I go networking I see a similar thing. People that talk about their business or services in a way that is devoid of passion and perhaps a hint of embarrassment. No longing for the weekend, although there is a longing to have people understand what they do.
Running a business shouldn't be like that.
When our work is meaningful and that work is developing our abilities or who we are, we can become more fulfilled. Not only do we end up doing things that are greater than ourselves we have a much better chance of finding joy - regardless of where we are with our career or our business.
One of the funny side effects is that when we become fulfilled, joy is easier to obtain. When we are joyful, our ideas are more attractive and we become people that other people want to be around. What we have to sell whether that is an idea or service becomes easier to sell.
The other thing is that we all have a need to be fulfilled. How can we be truly successful if we don't develop our abilities or mature our characters? How do we build and show competence to others? Is it possible to have real influence if what you do doesn't bring joy to you?
Is real trust possible if we remain unfulfilled? Trust requires not just a positive assessment of character but also the ability of the other person to show a worthy track record of competence. Before and after you work with them.
Take a serious moment to ponder whether you need to seek fulfilment. If you do, and you want to find it in a non messing about maverick way, with a dollop of fun for good measure, then you know where to find me!