We have been taught all our lives that in order for us to be successful and happy we must:
- Study hard to
- Get good grades, so we can
- Get a good job and
- Make lots of money, so we will
- Become Successful, then
- Retire and relax
How many of you are now discovering that this is a huge lie, and, in truth, has led to a life of being busy instead of productive, frustrated instead of successful, and unfulfilled instead of happy?
I know I did, and I hear it expressed everyday from people I know and people I meet. Let me be clear, I am not saying that we shouldn’t study diligently and endeavor to make good grades, or that there is anything wrong with earning a lot of money, being successful, and eventually retiring. But, if we are simply blindly and furiously chasing after grades, money, success, and material things we think will keep us happy once we stop working, we are in for a huge disappointment. This is the huge lie that so many buy in to, only to end up feeling empty and as though there life has or has had no real meaning or purpose.
So, if this is a huge lie, what is the truth? I believe that the truth is this:
- God’s love for us is extravagant and immeasurable. And,
- God created each one of us in His image. And,
- God desires to have a close intimate relationship with us, and
- He has a plan and purpose for our lives;
- To share and demonstrate his love by loving and serving others. And, in addition,
- God created all things, including work and wealth. And,
- Work and our careers are an opportunity to both experience God’s love and to love and serve others, and when we are able to make this paradigm shift (from the huge lie to the wonderful truth),
- Our work and careers will have new and eternal meaning and purpose, and
- We will begin to look at our work, our families, and are lives in a whole new, exciting, and energized way!
So how might this look practically? Jon Gordon, speaker, consultant and best selling author offer these five tips to being happier at work (comments in italics added):
Focus on “Get to” instead of “Have to” – While driving to work focus on what you “get to” do instead of what you “have to” do. With gratitude realize that you don’t have to do anything. You get to go to a job while so many are unemployed. Gratitude floods your body and brain with emotions that uplift you and energize you rather than stress hormones that drain you.
Plus, remember you are blessed to be able to have the opportunity serve and be a blessing to all those you come into contact with during your day. God loves it when we live an others centered life, he views our commitment to demonstrate his love to others as an act of worship.
Don’t Expect your Boss, Co-workers and Customers to Make you Happy – Realize that happiness is an inside job. Our happiness has less to do with forces outside of us and more to do with what’s inside of us. The way we think about work, feel about work and approach our work influences our happiness at work. For instance, just by making yourself smile you produce more serotonin in the brain-which makes you feel happier. You’ll also be happier when you focus on what you are giving instead of what you are getting.
Only Jesus truly satisfies; let him come alive in your heart and show you how living for his glory will bring true joy into your life. Live by the spirit, and produce fruit!
Don’t Seek Happiness – Ironically if you want to be happier don’t seek happiness. Instead share your strengths and decide to work with passion and purpose and happiness will find you. The research shows that people are most energized when they are using their strengths for a bigger purpose beyond themselves. Whatever your job, decide to bring passion to it and find purpose in it. I’ve met bus drivers, mortgage brokers, janitors and fast-food employees who are more passionate about their jobs and happier than some professional athletes making millions of dollars. Every job will get mundane and “old” if you let it but purpose and passion keep it fresh and make you happier.
If we are willing God can use us no matter where or what we are doing. God is a master gardener, and if we allow him, he will equip and enable us to bloom where we are planted!
Focus on Excellence instead of Success – When you focus on success you can easily fall into the trap of comparing yourself to others, looking over your shoulder, feeling envious, playing office politics, and competing against coworkers instead of collaborating. However, when you focus on excellence you measure yourself against your own growth and potential. You strive to be the best you can be. You simply focus on getting better every day and this makes work more meaningful and rewarding.
God is the ultimate designer, creator, engineer, and manufacture, resource manager, and relationship builder. He is a God of excellence; just take a look around at his creation. Follow his example by using your unique gifting to all you do well…let god take care of the rest!
Celebrate Together – While we shouldn’t depend on others to make us happy, by building a positive team or support group at work we will be happier. So instead of expecting others to make you happy, you proactively create the positive relationships that enhance your engagement, productivity and happiness. One great way to do this to huddle with your team/group at the end of the week and have each person share their accomplishments, victories, and great moments of the week. This will produce great feelings on Friday that inspire you and your team to come back to work and make a difference on Monday.
God is a God of relationship; he wants to know each of us intimately, and he wants all of his children to enjoy fellowship with one another, sharing our lives, praying for one another, encouraging one another, exhorting one another, and lifting our hearts up in praise!
What makes you happier at work? Share your thoughts…and have a happy week at home and at work.