Not feeling overjoyed to go to work each morning? You're not alone. According to a Gallup Study performed between 2011 and 2012, only 13% of employees are "engaged" at work, and a whopping 63 are "not engaged."
In many cases, these feelings are warning signs that flash before us, urging us to make a change, uncover what it is that our heart is truly called to do, or take the leap toward pursuing our passion.
In some cases, however, we find ourselves lacking joy and feeling unengaged even while doing work that is an expression of our purpose in the world.
In these cases, a few small shifts can help to make you feel more alive, more engaged, and more connected to your work.
1. Replace "I have to" with "I choose to."
How many times do you find yourself stating....
"I have to work late."
"I have to finish a big report."
"I have to go out of town this week."
If you're like most people, it's pretty often. These statements are problematic for two reasons. First, they remove all sense of personal choice. And second, they have the potential to quickly spiral into a place of workplace heroism, where we find ourselves in a place of comparison with others about all the things we have to do.
For the next week, try replacing "I have to" with "I choose to." Because in almost all cases, it's the truth. We choose to be employed, we choose to say yes to taking the job, we choose to write the report, and we choose to get on the airplane.
Practice this subtle yet powerful shift in language, and notice the impact.
2. Find the bright spots.
It can be all too easy to get caught up with - and sometimes, even partially obsessed with - the things we don't like about our job. The burdensome process of submitting our travel time and expenses, the fact that we all have to be in the office for the weekly sales meeting, the fact that we can't roll over our vacation days - the list goes on.
As we focus more and more on those things, we often lose sight of the good stuff - the things we actually love about the company, the things that led us to take the job in the first place, the things that cheer us up even during a really stressful day.
Make a list of all the bright spots about your job.
Include everything from the mission of the company, to your coworker who always makes you laugh, to the fact that you can wear jeans once a month, to the things you truly enjoy doing throughout your day.
Take a moment to update your list at the end of each workday.
3. Express gratitude.
Most of us have heard a lot about the incredible effects of gratitude on health, happiness, and success. Expressing gratitude can increase our overall level of wellbeing, it can help us live longer, and it can make us more successful in the workplace.
Much of the gratitude research out there focuses on individual practices such as a gratitude journal. While I fully support this idea and have witnessed the impact both personally and for many of my clients, I propose taking it a step further - especially in the workplace.
Once a week, take time to express gratitude to at least one person you work with. This could be in the form of an email, a hand-written note, a phone call, or an in-person visit.
Sincerely express to your co-worker what you're grateful for, and why. You'll be amazed at the impact this has both on you, and on the recipient.
I'd love to hear from you in the comments- what are the things you do that keep you feeling engaged and alive in the workplace?