Find Joy in Your Job

Xperience Growthblogposts

By: Carter Williams, Director of Xperience Growth Coaching & Consulting

Your job is probably hard. It can create stress & burnout and even even lead to depression & problems in all areas of your life. Maybe you’re experiencing some of that now and wish it could better; or that you could manage it better.

We actually have the power to get more joy and fulfillment from our jobs. We can engineer our time and the activities that we do to incorporate more of what brings us joy. And when we do, we find our performance and results increase as well.

A win-win, indeed.

If we had an overall goal with our career – other than making money – it would be to find meaning and purpose in what we do. For most of us, our career is where we spend the most amount of our time. And, we think, when we find a career where there is meaning and purpose that we’ll naturally enjoy and appreciate it.

Think of a physician. Probably not too many professions that have a calling higher than that of a doctor. Their job is to literally make sick & hurt people feel better. And not only is it noble, for most the pay is quite handsome.

You would think that physicians would have really high fulfillment and get joy from their careers. They check SO MANY of the boxes that you would look for in a career. And if you think by in-large doctors as fulfilled in work… well, you’d be incorrect.

According to his book, Nine Lies About Work, author Marcus Buckingham shares a staggering study from the Mayo Clinic that states the following: 52% of doctors experience burnout; 15% have some form of PTSD (which is 4 times the average workforce and even higher than returning military from Afghanistan & Iraq); 15% suffer from substance abuse during their career; doctors have double rates of depression and suicide than the national average.

And, their outlook is not any better. The same report says 80% of physicians believe the profession is on the decline and 73% would not recommend their kids follow in their footsteps.

In his book, Buckingham tells of an anesthesiologist, Miles. He bucks the trend… Miles loves his work. Why? It’s not because he is idealistic about making sick people well. In fact that is the part of his job that he HATES. That might not make any sense until you hear what he loves about his job. Miles LOVES the pressure of keeping people sedated during surgery. He’s responsible for the balance between life and death of a patient unconscious on the OR table. He’s a thrill-seeker who finds that high rope fascinating. Because he spends his time keeping people asleep and still alive, he loves his job.

What can we learn from this?

We must find the activities in our job that we love doing. Even if we have a higher purpose for why we’re doing our job, it’s crucial that we also find elements of our job that love doing.

We don’t even have to spend that much of our time doing what we love in our jobs to experience fulfillment. Buckingham states that spending 20% in our “love” areas drastically reduces the level of burnout that people experience. Moreover, increasing past 20% doesn’t really add to your enjoyment. Increases above 20% are incremental at best.

I coached a client that was experiencing some burnout and not getting the results that he wanted. He was in a lull. Through our coaching we discovered that he loved face-to-face interactions with people. Being in real estate, he already did open houses as a form of finding new people to work with, which he enjoyed doing and that got him good results. That wasn’t enough, though. We then installed a plan where he met with two of his top referral partners for coffee each week. His happiness increased and so did his business. His referral partners referred him to even more business, which led to him nearly doubling his business in one year. Greater happiness, fulfillment and business success.

A win-win-win, indeed.

Here’s what you can do to figure out which activities in your job you love. Create a “Love It / Loathe It” list. In his book, Buckingham prescribes that we spend a week doing our normal job routines. When we find that we’re doing an activity that we love, we mark that down. When we do something we loathe, mark it. At the end of the week, take the loathe list and see what (if anything) we can get off our plates. Take the love list and literally schedule in those activities to equal at least 20% of our time. Buckingham calls those “red threads” and says we need to intentionally weave those threads into our careers.

What you’ll find is that when we are doing more of the things we love, we get more out of those activities, which adds to the snowball that creates greater business production and ultimately results. Plus, we get to experience greater joy & fulfillment along the way.

Wins all-around!