career tips, self improvement

Finding Joy and Purpose in Our Work Life

Years ago I had the privilege of working alongside a glorious woman. Down to her core she believed in the power of joy. Her infectious laughter produced smiles instantly.  She possessed a flair for the written word with all her emails being thoughtfully crafted. Everyone she spoke to was put at ease with her gentle manner. There was a sense of anticipation, wondering what gem of wisdom she would impart on those around her each day.

For the longest time I was positive that at any moment she would jump into the nearest phone booth, don her red cape and save society from drowning in their mundane sorrows. Alas, she was human, she endured through life’s struggles, as everyone does, yet each day she proudly walked through the door and made it her mission to discover joy and find her daily purpose.

Hide and Seek

She became a trusted confidant, seeing through my jaded demeanor. She would ask me “Have you found Joy today?” Wait, what? Where do I find it? Was I involved in a fiendish game of hide and seek? My smart aleck, alter-ego was quick-witted answering: “No, is it hiding with Waldo somewhere?”

Fortunately for me, she saw through my appalling attitude, still granting me the gift of her undivided attention. Her answer was simply beautiful “Joy is everywhere…in the quiet current traveling gently, smoothly beneath and through the chatter and clatter of daily life.”

Evaluation and the Crucial Question

That was a wake up call. Joy and it’s true definition never crossed my mind except for when I spotted it beautifully embossed across Christmas cards during the holiday season. Summed up, it’s a feeling of great pleasure and happiness. So, should a person only consider this during the holiday season? So many of us spend a large percentage of our life at work, shouldn’t we, experience joy and find purpose in our occupation?

Too many of us have experienced the same situation realizing we are spending our days wrapped in negativity. This thought process started me down a new path of reflection and reevaluation. The light bulb switched on and it boiled down to one question:  Was the discontent caused by my job and the company where I work or is it my own attitude while at work?

Uncovering the Answer

To decipher the difference for yourself start with this collection of thought-provoking questions about your company. This list could prompt you to consider things like: Does my company’s leadership care about the things that matter to me? Do the products or services provided by the company improve people’s lives? If you are not satisfied with the answers maybe it’s time to consider creating positive submissions for the office suggestion box. Perhaps: team building activities, a food drive or an alternative activity benefiting a local charity.  This may be a nerve-racking alternative, but it could be time to examine alternate career options.

However, let’s not create a panic situation. Say we discover it’s not the company therefore the answer must lie within ourselves. A drastic re-framing of perception can instill a positive change in personal behavior.

Consider trying this activity: Observe your thoughts while at work and keep a journal of your findings. At the end of each day re-write every negative statement as a positive one.

Here’s a simple example:  “I don’t get paid enough!”  Change that to:  “In today’s job market I am fortunate to have a full-time job where I receive a regular paycheck.”  Continue with this new habit until your daily entries only consist of positively worded statements such as: “I’m a force of nature and can accomplish my to-do list today”  Where as before it might have read “My to-do list is too long.”

Dawn of a New Day

After answering your personal questions, gather your courage, seek change. Create and develop your own personal rediscovery. Find a new career or merely re-frame your way of thinking.  Inspire a new movement within your company. Hopefully the new attitude and/or the fresh suggestions will be welcomed.

If ever a reminder is needed think about that glorious woman and her wise words that joy leading to our daily purpose is everywhere, let it be our mission to find it.

Share how you find joy and purpose during your work day.

C.A. Newberry is a retired event coordinator with passion for continued
learning and sharing life experiences. You can connect with her on Twitter.