Most of us spend at least 40 hours a week dedicated to our work lives, and another 10 or so commuting to and from our jobs—and many of us spend many more hours working than that.
That’s a huge chunk of our lives spent doing something it turns out doesn’t make very many of us happy.
Human capital expert and Tony Robbins advisor, Elatia Abate, reports that over 80% of people globally are disengaged or highly disengaged at work.
“This disengagement can be translated to boredom or misery—or worse!” she says.
“For companies, the costs of employees being unhappy at work are heavy and equates to billions of dollars in lost productivity. For the people who are disengaged and not happy at work, this is nothing short of life stifling.”
According to Elatia, the biggest factor causing such high levels of unhappiness at work is what she calls “a flawed strategic approach to career design.”
This approach has us locked into a mindset we learned at an early age: go to school, get an internship or work placement, then find a job that matches the skills we’ve acquired. A few years go by and we’re ready to move on, so we repeat the process.
The problem is that we often get so far down this path that we are now, as adults, making decisions based on a set of criteria from our student days.
“All you’re doing is compounding bad decisions on top of bad decisions,” says Elatia.
“By never really thinking about your passions or what you love to do, you’re dooming yourself to be perpetually unhappy at work.”
“A much more effective strategy is planting your flag,” says Elatia.
“This requires taking a few steps back and asking some critical questions including, ‘What do I want to create?’ ‘How do I want to use my life?’ ‘What kind of impact do I want to have?’”
“You also need to take a look at what drives you. When you have a true purpose behind your decisions, you can align them with your values and ensure that you are always moving in a direction that will fulfill you.”
Elatia has developed a three-part strategy designed to help you make your (new and improved) goals a reality. These are the three C’s: commit, create, contribute.
“Truly committing to creating a more fulfilling career is the crucial first step. Commitment can come proactively by listening to that quiet voice in your head that asks, ‘Is this all there is? Could there be something more?’”
“Once you’ve identified your purpose and drive, these decisions usually come much easier. If your current job does not align with your values, you’ll always be unhappy at work.”
“Identifying this as the reason will help you commit to something new.”
“Once one has committed to making a change, then comes the real fun—getting into action and creating a new career based on your values that drive you. This is when you can truly start feeling the possibility of never being unhappy at work again.”
First, you need to undergo a process of self-discovery to become clear on what you really want out of life. Figure out what you value most and let that be your guide, then start reaching out to people to build a community that’s aligned with those values.
Then you need to address your limiting beliefs that are holding you back—thoughts like I’m not smart enough, I don’t know the right people, even the idea that there is one route to any particular career that you must follow to find success.
Then comes the actual nuts and bolts—the “how to” sort of stuff: CVs, LinkedIn, job hunting. But don’t forget that this step is about creating the kind of career you want – and sometimes you need to get creative to create!
“Once you’ve created the next new and fulfilling career move for yourself there is one more critical step, which is to contribute,” says Elatia.
“No good story ends when the hero or heroine wins the war or slays the dragon. It ends when the protagonist goes back to the community from whence they came to share the bounty of what they’ve won.”
“This is what will truly ensure that being not happy at work will never be part of your new endeavour and that your career will be full of purpose and meaning.”
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