Written by Shannon Lyn Arnold, Coach on Collective Gain, and a self-described introvert who helps others find self worth using introversion as a strength.
What’s the first thought that runs through your mind when you wake up on a Monday morning? If you’re like most professionals, it doesn’t generate excitement about going to work. A 2017 Gallop Study found that two thirds of workers are unengaged or disgruntled at their current job.
And that's likely no surprise given that many social conversations center around complaining about work and the stress our jobs take on our personal lives. So you know what we mean too, it seems most people don't love their work but tolerate it.
When it gets bad enough, everyone has a breaking point that motivates them to begin looking elsewhere. In many situations, this is the best path. But it’s not the only one. Before you pull the rip cord and quit your job, read this. It will save you from repeating the same pattern over and over again.
Here are three ways to create a fulfilling career at your current company, and how a coach can help you effectively implement each one.
1) Develop More Positive Patterns
Can you see a pattern in the negative work experiences you’ve had at each company of your career? Or have you ever noticed how some people seems to gripe about the same issues, no matter how many times they change jobs?
It’s so easy to place blame on our bad bosses and difficult coworkers. But the way we show up and respond to our colleagues is what creates our professionals lives, and puts the same problems on repeat.
We all have a choice of how to respond to the variety of circumstances we encounter each workday. Some of us rise to challenges and are known to be adaptable, great problem-solvers, and easy to work with. Others resort to a victim mentality or get angry when something goes wrong, and are known for being reactive, inflexible, and negative.
How Coaching Can Help
Your responses shape the way you’re perceived and how healthy your relationships are with your coworkers, and this plays a key role in how happy you are at the office.
Working with a coach helps you become aware of how you’re showing up when you’re under stress —and why. In other words, they help you understand your triggers and why you have them (Article: Our Triggers Are Our Best Teachers). This will disrupt your deeply ingrained patterns so you can identify how you want to respond, and create strategies to help you develop a new and more positive pattern.
2) Focus on What You Can Control
What you focus on you feel. If you allow yourself to dwell on the insensitive email you received yesterday or the way your idea was shut down during a meeting, you’re giving all of your power away. This also makes it easier to fall back into your pattern of negative responses.
When you focus only on what you can control — the way you show up, your responses, and how you treat others during meetings — it changes everything, because this is the only thing you have the power to change.
How Coaching Can Help
A coach creates a safe space for you to share all of your frustrating work experiences, but unlike venting to a friend, it doesn’t end there. Coaches have the advantage of being completely objective and can expose your interpretations, which helps to uncover what’s actually triggering you.
Working through this allows you to take responsibility for your part in what happened, move past the circumstance, and decide how you want to show up the next time something similar happens.
Each time you respond intentionally instead of defaulting to anger or an “everything always happens to me” victim mentality, it will create a shift with the person on the other side of that interaction as well. This is a powerful ripple effect that can extend to entire teams and even the organization as a whole.
3) Find the Win-Win
Each one of us is multi-talented, and we are happiest when we have the opportunity to use our strengths at work. We are even more fulfilled when we are passionate about even one aspect of what we do, and feel like we’re contributing to the organization.
We may think that our role is too defined for us to incorporate our passions, but this could be our own limiting belief. More research is coming out every day that proves the productivity increase that happens when an employees’ position is aligned with their strengths, and this is a win-win.
How Coaching Can Help
A coach can help you define your ideal job — how you really want to be spending your time at work. This may require a career change, but first, why not try to incorporate some of this ideal into your current position?
If you are already showing up differently, you’re likely single experiencing a more positive work environment. If you’re successfully focusing on only what you can control, you probably feel a lot better than you did before.
Taking this final step of actively creating opportunities to infuse your strengths and passions into your everyday responsibilities could be what leads you to actually like the job you have.
It can be difficult to see all of these possibilities when you’re immersed in the day-to-day. Working with a coach can expose a myriad of options that are right in front of you, but you’re unable to see on your own.
One of these options could be changing roles and even departments within your current company. This often allows you to do more information gathering up front to ensure you’re not signing up for a similar situation, and saves you from the arduous process of job searching externally.
Life is too short to spend so much of it working at a job you don’t like. To avoid creating the same cycle at every company in your career, look for the lessons you’re supposed to learn in your current situation, and do everything you can to create a position you love right where you are. There's a saying in coaching that what you run from won't stop chasing you until you turn around and face it and get happy with it sitting right next to you. Same goes for that job you don't like.
There very well may be bad actors at your office that make your day miserable, but unfortunately the aren't just at your company. Learning to thrive in any professional situation is your biggest asset to a successful career.
Hiring a coach to help you get clarity, ensure you make the best decisions for you and your career, and boost your satisfaction at your current job is worth it. Take the opportunity to learn more about who you are, what you need in a job to feel fulfilled, and how you want to experience work. This is the first step to creating a career you love and being strategic about each step along the way.