Some people don’t need to find joy in their work. But for those of us who do, here’s how to make it possible.
“In order to have true joy in your work, the outcomes that light your fire must match the outcomes you are paid to achieve.” ~ Lighting the Fuse: Firepower for Uniting Passion and Purpose to Create a Powerful Life and Business (coming 2016)
There are people who prefer to have a job. They don’t need to derive joy from their work, they’re happy going through the motions, cashing the paycheck, and deriving joy from the remaining two thirds of their week. They don’t need to be fired up about their work, maybe they don’t even get fired up about their life. And that’s all good for them. If that’s you, this was not written for you.
If you want to find joy in every aspect of your life, then you want something more than a job. You want a career, maybe even your own business. And you want to be as fired up about it as you are about any other part of your week. If you’re like a lot of people, the economic crisis has got you worried about giving up anything that pays the bills. You may be wondering if now (or ever) is a good time to leave a job or business that leaves you cold. Or maybe you are holding out hope that someday your fire will leap back up and you’ll find some joy in your work again.
Here’s how to tell if that’s a possibility, and what you can do to make it so.
What DOES Light Your Fire?
We all have what I call a “pilot light” — it’s that little fire inside that is always on. When you’re on purpose that spark is leaping up, lighting everything else. When you aren’t it slumbers, and sometimes gets blown out. What activities or outcomes make that flame flare up? There is joy.
What Form of Payment Do You Value Most?
Not all compensation is monetary. Neither is monetary compensation a bad desire to have. But know what payment matters to you — money, status, recognition, freedom, flexibility, appreciation, interaction, not having to wear a tie every day?
What Outcomes Are You Contributing To and Do They Matter to YOU?
Most of us want to know that we’re making a difference. But joy requires that you are making a difference to something you really care about. When you look at a week of “business as usual” don’t just look at what you did — look at what changed because you did it. Whose life was improved? Who got better at something, got more of something, felt safer, felt happier, felt BETTER because you did what you do? If those outcomes don’t make your pilot light leap up do something different.
What Opportunity Does Your Work Give You to Excite that Pilot Light?
Once you know what lights your fire you may be able to restructure your work to do more of it. If it’s helping people learn new skills can you take on more training? If it’s solving complex problems can you offer to tackle a project with lots of moving parts? If it’s meeting people face to face can you arrange your work to have more interaction? If you have your own business can you outsource things that don’t do anything for your joy to have more time for things that do?
How Can You Increase Your Compensation for Doing Work that Fires You Up?
Once you know what fires you up, and what compensation you value most, you can start rearranging your work — in small ways as well as the big ones — to get more compensation for contributing to outcomes that matter to you. And that, my friends, is where the joy is.