Let me ask you something. It’s Monday morning and you are coming off an awesome weekend. You had the opportunity to spend time with friends, got everything you needed to do done, and you are feeling rested and recharged… are you happy to go to work at that moment? There are no more excuses; no saying that you are tired or wish you had more time to get things done so, are you happy?

Happiness is not found - it’s created.

Let me tell you a story about a client I just recently started working with. His name is Kevin and he is in the design profession and a few years ago secured a really coveted position at a local firm. He’s working with some top name companies and generally likes what he does. But day after day, Kevin left feeling a little less happy with his decision to work there. He doesn’t hate his job, but had nagging questions in the back of his head like, “Is this as good as it is going to get?” and “When will this job make me feel happy?”.

To help get to the root of the problem, I asked him the following questions:

Who do you surround yourself with each day?

There is an old saying that you are the company you keep. Find people who genuinely are happy and positive about life that will encourage and inspire you and ditch those negative nelly’s that gossip and bring you down. Soon enough, you see your happiness factor rising.

Do you have a social circle at work?

Do you have a best friend at work? This question is on every engagement survey out there. Why? Because liking and enjoying your coworkers is the key to a happy, positive work environment. Get to know them, ask them questions, and tell them about yourself. By putting in this effort, you are going to find people to provide you support, encouragement, and simple friendship!  

Do you get to do something you love every day?

Let’s be real here, we are adults and there are plenty of things that we don’t want to do in our jobs every day. That is life. But, there is also that thing – that thing that makes you smile, and you can’t wait to do. If you don’t know it is, find it and make sure that you do it every day! Trust me when I say that having that little nugget that you look forward to will make the mundane stuff so much more tolerable!

Are you proactive in your own growth & development?

This is by far the top complaint that I receive from people. They want to quit their jobs because they don’t feel like they are growing or being challenged. But, when you ask them what they are doing to help that situation, they shrug and say nothing. You are in charge of your own personal and professional growth, not anyone else. If you want to be learning and be challenged, develop a plan and ask for help. No one can do it but you!

Do you feel as if you are receiving enough support and feedback about your job?

This is a big one for me personally. While I am resourceful and can find creative solutions, I like knowing that my company is supporting me. This also includes feedback. If you are being honest with yourself, you know how you are doing. But, it feels good to have that affirmation, especially if you feel positive about your performance. Receiving good feedback is a struggle in our workforce, so what can you do? Simple. Ask for it. Once again, you are the only one responsible for your growth and development. If you need something, take charge!

In evaluating these questions, Kevin was able to realize that his needs were not aligning with the current job which was impacting his happiness factor. We developed a plan for him to address what was off, so he could create the happiness he was seeking.  

Happiness is 100% in your control. You are the only one to determine what makes you happy, even when your circumstances are not ideal.

When you are feeling that ping of unhappiness in your career, it's so important that you take a step back and look at what is causing it. Have you fallen in with the negative crowd? You know, the ones that complain about how awful everything is and their misery loves your company. Or maybe you feel isolated and alone, keeping your head down and working hard but not really socializing with any of your coworkers. Perhaps you love what you get to do, but not feeling challenged, respected, or recognized. There are a million things that can impact your happiness and only you can control it. You can make the choice to do something about it or not.

If all else fails and you are not able to create happiness in your current work, maybe it is time to reevaluate. Whether it be your employer, your job, or your entire career, you don’t want to spend your life being unhappy.

Find a way to make yourself smile!

If you are not feeling happy but not sure what to do next, let’s chat. Just like Kevin, we can help you identify what is causing it and build you a plan to create some happiness back in your career!

Photo Credit: IG @ ktnewms