originally featured in Darling Magazine
We spend over half of our waking hours each week working. While the dream is to be on fire and fully inspired every minute, the reality is that for many of us those 40+ hours are an unfortunately draining experience. Not feeling inspired or engaged while you are at work—a place meant to be about contribution, creativity and collaboration—can be a lead indicator that some serious shifts need to take place.
According to the Gallup Research Institute, “Only 22% of U.S. employees are engaged and thriving…70% of American workers are not engaged or actively disengaged.” That’s a grim reality.
Here’s the good news: shifting your work experience from being disengaged to lit up with inspiration is in your hands.
The key shift we’re offering is simple: become the owner of your role, your career and your life, not a passenger on the bus to Boredville. By tuning into your experience, seeing where your goals lie, and then stepping into your voice, your expertise, and your leadership, you can be the catalyst for a completely different experience. You can become the CEO of your own life.
Disclaimer: we’re not saying it’s time to write ‘the memo to end all memos’ or throw down the world’s most epic departure speech (although for some of you, it might be time to pull a Jerry Macguire - you know who you are). What we’re advocating is even more powerful than throwing everything out the window. It’s to take back your future and empower yourself with choice.
Arianna Huffington, cofounder and editor-in-chief of the Huffington Post Media Group and author of Thrive, writes, “We need to redefine success and create a life of well-being.” It’s time we start choosing this for ourselves instead of waiting for someone else to create change. Arianna says she hires her team for their “judgment not their stamina.” In other words, choose yourself by being smart and selective, not by working yourself into the ground.
Here are three concrete steps to move towards radical ownership — being the CEO of your whole life, including your productivity, your health and your happiness — and igniting a culture of ownership in the environments that surround you:
1. Envision the change you want to live/lead.
Visualize yourself living the life that most inspires you. How are you working, communicating and interacting with those around you? Then, consider: what’s different from what I am experiencing today? Get specific. Nail down the most important differences. Take yourself seriously and commit; give your wishes the respect they deserve by writing them down on paper. You’re one step closer simply by becoming aware of the changes you want to cultivate.
2. Get in touch with your unique strengths and abilities.
The most effective way to forge a path to thriving is to identify the ways you most naturally think, feel, behave and take action. See where you are the most expressed in your life: What are you drawn to? Where are you skilled? What gives you energy? Where do you lose track of time because your performance is so engrossing? Those moments and activities are you in your strengths, and the things that are meant to be further expressed in your life. Build on who you are and leverage what you naturally do well to create the changes you’ve committed to making in your life.
3. Make a bold request — either of yourself, a colleague, or a loved one — to move towards the vision.
Crystal clear vision? Check. Strengths in mind and passion in your heart? Check. Next, adopt the daily practice of clarifying what your requests are and speaking the truth. Be bold. Be authentic. Most importantly, be you.
Give up the story that having needs means you are weak or ungrateful. Acknowledge and respect the needs of others, and that it is possible to create workable solutions when needs do not align. Cultivate an environment where everyone’s needs can be heard without shame. People will know you’re speaking and listening from your heart and, when you step into your true knowing, they cannot help but support and feel supported by you.
Repeat this three step system as needed; you’ll feel the results.
Creating a vision, knowing your strengths, and voicing your requests will create some serious momentum towards your goals coming to life. It will also have ripple effects into the people and places around you.
Remember: you don’t have to accept a mediocre culture or a less-than-inspiring environment. Change is possible and you are the one who can have an impact. Make a conscious choice today to create your future. Take action: small steps create monumental shifts. One person taking a stand for greatness can stir change across a team, department or an entire organization.