Are You As Important As Your Work?

Businessman Stretching at WorkThere is no denying that work is a vital part of our lives.  We work to support ourselves and our families, establish a desired lifestyle, and plan for a future.  We spend forty hours a week (at least) on the job, and in today’s economy some of us need more than one job just to make ends meet.  For most of us, work is our main priority and our main focus.  Not only do our occupations support us, many of us use them to define a sense of self.  We strive to do our best at work for the rewards that are important to us.  Some are monetary, some involve status and prestige,  some come from the joy of following our passion.  We give a lot to our jobs, and hopefully they give a lot to us in return.

Unfortunately, there is a growing number of people who put their work above themselves.  It is usually a slow process, starting first with email after work.  Then it is staying an hour or so after closing, or coming in an hour before everyone else.  Lunch hours become a time to catch up on voicemail while scarfing a sandwich, or worse, a burger from that joint on the corner.   There just isn’t time for a healthy meal with all the management deadlines coupled with staff reductions.  Sometimes it is just a desire to move ahead that narrows our focus to occupational tunnel vision.  After all, there will be time to relax after that promotion, or product launch, or once the ad campaign is up and running.

Of course, there is a problem with that whole scenario.  As work starts to take over every waking second we tend to lose ourselves.  As the job takes more and more time and energy, there is less and less to devote to our personal health and well-being.  We  don’t get enough sleep,  we don’t eat properly, and exercise goes out the window.  There is little time to pursue leisure or spiritual activities. Self improvement or personal development goals fall by the wayside.  Stress levels can’t help but skyrocket, and we eventually compromise our own ability to perform well on the job.

More and more employers today are beginning to realize the overall health of their company  is tied to the overall health and well-being of their employees.  There are even provisions in the new health care laws in the United States for wellness programs in the workplace.  However, sometimes I think the hardest thing to do is convince the Type-A overachiever of the importance of  personal health and well-being as it relates to job performance.   After all, when you have been putting your job first for years, it is no easy feat to start focusing on yourself as the primary concern.

What are a few ways to treat yourself with the same respect you show to your work?  One of the most basic but most important things you can do is to reframe the way you view the relationship between your health and your job. You cannot separate the two; they are intertwined.  If you are in poor health, there is no way you can perform to desired standards.  Realize that focusing on your own health is not selfish–it is vital to success in life, both personally and professionally.

Make time to exercise.   Take a walk at lunch, or take the stairs.  Park in the farthest stall from the building, or get off one subway stop before you usually do.  There are lots of ways to incorporate movement into your day.  It doesn’t have to involve changing clothes or going to a gym.  Even taking a couple of minutes a few times a day to stretch is a great way to tone your body and reduce stress.

Take a lunch–literally.  Bringing your own lunch gives you control of what you eat, and helps reduce the chances of hitting the vending machines or eating nothing at all.  I know people who fall into both categories,  and both camps have trouble functioning in the afternoon.   And when you take a lunch–take it away from your desk.  Eating at the desk does nothing to promote a sense of downtime.  By leaving your work area and removing distractions such as phone and email, you will be able to recharge more easily for the rest of the day.

Establish boundaries.  Just as you do not bring your personal life to work, do not bring your work life to your home.  Leave email at work.  Since that may not be possible in today’s economy, set a time that you will stop reading and responding to it.  Let coworkers know what that cutoff time is, and not to expect a response until the next day  if they haven’t heard by the cutoff.

Make time for  family and friends.  Maintaining a support network takes effort, but it is one the best tools for dealing with stress.

For mental conditioning, spend ten minutes a day in silence.  Use the time for meditation, prayer, or reflection–but be quiet.  Turn down the noise in your head and around you, turn inward for a few minutes, and be still.  You’ll be amazed at how much more energy and concentration comes out the other side.

Work is important, no question.  But if doing your best at work is really important to you, than it is crucial that you give your own health equal time.  Even if you love your work and can’t imagine a life without it,  you won’t receive the full benefit if you are not contributing at full capacity.   Take your health as seriously as you take your job.  Both are important, but if you neglect the former, at some point you may lose the latter.   And that, in a nutshell, is why you as a person are more important than your work.

So how about you?  I would love to hear how you focus on your health and keep the demands of your work in perspective.  





Celebrate Yourself

I think it is fair to say  that we all need a cheering section.  People standing on the sidelines applauding as we move toward our goals or more importantly, just through the day.  Just as the bystanders in a marathon energize the runners , our cheering sections should keep us moving forward in a positive manner.   But even if we do have a cheering section,  the truth is sometimes we are just too busy and stressed to pay attention.

It is so easy to get wrapped up in to-do lists, projects, deliverables, or daily errands that oftentimes we forget look at what we have already done, and what has already been accomplished.   When we fall into that trap, we are in danger of losing our biggest cheerleader–ourselves.   It’s not surprising that most of us focus on what hasn’t been done, what hasn’t been crossed off the list.  We are wired to fixate more on the negative than the positive.  It is simply the negativity bias  kicking in and trying to keep us safe.   The problem is that this can set us on a treadmill of continual effort to finish things, without any of the satisfaction that we anticipate when we do.   If we don’t take the time to celebrate ourselves and our achievements when they happen,  we risk experiencing longterm burnout.

Any good business leader will tell you that in order to keep projects on task,  it is imperative to provide constant positive feedback in a realtime fashion.   Not only does it help keep people on track, it helps to build confidence, creativity, and enthusiasm.  The same holds true in our personal lives.   And as we manage our personal lives, it is just as important to recognize positive behaviors and actions in order to keep our own momentum flourishing.

One way to do this is to take some time each week and review what has been accomplished.  This is especially important when focusing on longterm goals such as weight loss or changing to healthier eating habits.    It is so easy to get discouraged if we don’t feel we are where we should be or where we had planned to be.   So during this personal review session,  focus on what did happen, not what didn’t.    Every step we take is part of a process that leads to a milestone, and those steps deserve to be celebrated just as much as the ultimate goal.

The next step is to decide how to reward yourself.  Sometimes just recognizing how much you have accomplished is enough to provide satisfaction.  Sometimes, though, the rewards should be more tangible.   Remember–bonuses serve a great purpose in the workplace,  and they can do the same in our personal space.  Maybe it’s an afternoon out , or a new pair of jeans, or even a spa day.  Perhaps it is a walk in the woods or coffee with friends.   The goal here is to reward yourself and break up the routine, since routine can be deadly to progress.  Once we fall into a routine we are more likely to function on autopilot and get through the day without really thinking about what we are doing.  When that happens we are less likely to recognize our progress, and that threatens our momentum and enthusiasm.   Without enthusiasm, it is much more difficult to see a project or a goal through to completion.

So give yourself a break and celebrate what you’ve done this week.  Chances are you have accomplished more than you give yourself credit for.   Once you realize that and allow yourself to feel satisfied about what has been done rather than what remains to do,   you will find that you have much more energy to keep moving forward.  And having more energy should be a great reason to be your own best cheerleader.

Are you ready to discover how the power of one-on-one coaching can help you break down self-imposed barriers and reach your Personal Best?  Click  here to schedule a complimentary strategic coaching session and see if wellness coaching is right for you.

Mindfulness vs Multi-tasking

“Mindfulness is paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally”–Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn, 1994

Here’s a little quiz.  How often during the workday do you find yourself putting out fires and moving in two hundred directions at once?  Have you ever found yourself thinking that you do many things during the day but feel that you do very few of them well?  If you answer yes to either of these questions you can consider yourself a functioning member of the modern workforce.   It seems that multitasking is here to stay.  It  is the only way we can possibly keep up with increasing productivity demands in an environment plagued by diminishing resources.

Studies show that our minds wander away from the task at hand about 49 percent of the time.  And that is without any additional prompting or stimulus.  Throw in digital technology–texting, face time, email–and it seems that focusing on what we feel is important is almost a lost cause.  We have been conditioned to respond to  a smartphone alert almost like a Pavlovian dog.  It is not at all unusual to see someone stop during a conversation to check a text or email.  Couple this with the fact that a whole generation has grown up with TV remote surfing syndrome, and it is not surprising that staying focused on one subject for a given period of time seems almost impossible.

Many people regard multitasking as the ultimate productivity tool.  The number of items crossed off a list in the shortest period of time indicates your effectiveness at work.  However, findings from Basex, a New York based business research firm tend to disprove this concept.  Data from their studies shows that multitasking costs the US economy an average of $997 billion in lost productivity and a minimum of 28 million hours annually.  In a time when people are asked to do more with less, it would seem that multitasking has finally become counterproductive.

So how can you, and the company you work for, possibly hope to combat this loss of productivity?  Is there a way to create an increased productivity flow with stronger personal interactions  along with a decreased error ratio?

Yes, there is.  More and more forward-thinking companies are introducing mindfulness training programs into their daily operations.  The result?  More rational decision-making and problem-solving, not to mention a stronger sense of equilibrium no matter how many  fires are burning around you.  Companies such as General Mills, Apple, Google, and AstraZenenca, to name a few, have a successfully incorporated mindfulness practices into their workforces.  Apple even has meditation rooms where employees can regain focus during difficult periods.

There is a bias against mindfulness in many circles.  Often it is thought of as some esoteric type of Eastern religion that couldn’t possibly mix with a modern corporate culture.    Mindfulness is  most often associated with meditation, which when misunderstood can seem like a selfish waste of time.   However, if meditation is introduced not just as a mindfulness technique, but a secular exercise in concentration, there is more often a willingness to explore the possible benefits in corporate cultures.  After all, who wouldn’t want to experience increased concentration, stronger relationships, enhanced decision-making abilities, and a more positive work environment?

One way to bring mindfulness to the office environment is take a few moments each day and focus inward.  Begin by sitting comfortably and focus on your breath.  Breath in for a count three and out for a count of five.  Chances are your mind will immediately rebel and start throwing around any thoughts it can to distract you.  The mind does not like to be challenged or harnessed, so that is perfectly normal.  Simply acknowledge the thoughts as they appear, then let them float away.  Do not focus on them, but at the same time, don’t try to pretend that they don’t exist.  Continually let your focus come back to your breath, breathing in for three and out for five.  Continue the practice for five minutes in the beginning, or even three minutes.  Meditation is not as easy as it sounds, but you will be able to extend your practice as you become more comfortable with it.  If you feel that it sounds like a waste of time, just remember that Apple, Inc. allows each employee thirty minutes a day for meditation, with on-site classes offered as well.  I think we can all agree that Apple doesn’t appear to be suffering from a decreased level of productivity.

The goal is to be present in each moment throughout the day.  To be aware of what you are doing at the time you are doing it.  It sounds so simple, but keep in mind that we lose focus about 49% of the time. That is when mistakes and faulty decisions are more likely to be made.   There are physical, emotional, and spiritual benefits to mindfulness practices in addition to  improved best-business practices.  As companies become more concerned with the overall well-being of their employees,  it seems only natural that mindfulness practices will become accepted as the norm if an organization truly wants to flourish.

Are you ready to discover how the power of one-on-one coaching can help you break down self-imposed barriers and reach your Personal Best?  Click  here to schedule a complimentary strategic coaching session and see if wellness coaching is right for you.

There are a few spaces left for the upcoming free  Jumpstart 2013   teleclass.  Sign up today and be ready for those resolutions on New Years Eve!

The Power (and danger) of Should

I believe  the word should is one of the most deceptive words in the English language.  Not by definition,  but because so many of us live our lives by what we feel we should do.  I’m not saying that there is never a reason to feel like you should do a particular thing.  For example, you should say thank you when someone does something nice for you.  That is part of social code that is in place to make life easier among us humans.  There are things we should do to keep us safe and healthy.  That is another part of the good side of should.

Should becomes a problem when we begin to act in ways that are contrary to our core values or beliefs simply because we feel we should.  Because it follows the norm, or what we feel is expected of us.  There are so many people today in jobs that they don’t enjoy simply because they feel that the position fit what they felt they should be doing.  A friend recently told me she took her first job because she felt she should–she didn’t like the company but that wasn’t really important at the time.  It was one of the first jobs offered to her, and she had always been told she should accept a job offer since they were few and far between.   The result?  Years spent in a job that left her unfulfilled and uninspired.

One of the reasons so many of us feel that there is something missing in our lives is that we have crafted lives that reflect what others feel we should be rather than what we believe is important.  We may choose a career path that fits what we feel we should do, even if it has nothing to do with what we want to do.  Climbing the ladder may be fine for a while, but eventually there comes a point when we realize that the Senior Vice President title isn’t as satisfying as it was supposed to be.  If the title and position that seemed so important doesn’t capitalize on our own strengths and beliefs, it will ultimately be very difficult to be truly happy.

Sometimes we do what we think we should because it is actually the easier path.  For example,  I know a man who had started his own business  doing work he found meaningful but was offered a new job in the corporate world.  The problem is  while he loves what he does, it doesn’t have the same prestige, perks, or security of his previous position.  So which is more important–the sense of satisfaction from doing something meaningful or the benefits that come with a more traditional position?  It would be easier to accept the corporate position because it fits with the general idea of what he should do, and the type of job that he should be pursuing.  The fact that it has nothing to do with what he finds important is almost secondary.  It is a question of following the should rather than the want.  A question of a life created from passion or one created by expectation.

That is why should is a very powerful–and dangerous–word.  We can easily end up doing things that we don’t believe in or necessarily agree with because we feel we should.  A life filled with proper rather than passionate actions will most likely end in a rather empty existence.   The challenge is more to blend want we need to do with what we want to do.  By eliminating the idea of should , or acting solely out of expectation when making decisions, we are more likely to live a life in balance with what we find significant and important.

And  that would definitely knock the danger out of should.




Reinvention as a Life Skill

There is a very interesting trend occurring in this country right now.  There is a whole generation of people wondering what they want to do when they grow up.  Now, this may not sound like anything new, but here is the twist.  This generation is not considering the senior prom.  They are considering retirement.

More and more people are looking to reinvent themselves and put new meaning into their lives.  For some this is a voluntary thing.  Perhaps the kids have grown and graduated and they are suddenly left with more free time.  Possibly some have reached a certain level in their careers when the expected percs and rewards no longer hold the same satisfaction.  For many, though, this decision may have been made for them, through no choice of their own.

There is no doubt that this economy has affected everyone at some level. But there is a group that is often overlooked when discussing the fallout.  That group consists of boomers near retirement, but not ready to retire, who suddenly find themselves without jobs.  These are people who have defined themselves by what they do for over half their lives, and in a matter of days they lose that point of reference.  These were the people who were comfortable with their lives.  They had made decisions along the way—sometimes sacrifices—so they would be able to enjoy a retirement on their terms and on their schedules.  Unemployment was not part of that plan.

One of the great things about a career, or raising a family, is that is keeps us busy.  We don’t always have time to ponder if our current reality is really what we want to do.  When those obligations suddenly disappear we can be left with the frightening realization that what we have been doing has not really been very satisfying.  As long as we had something to distract us, we could put aside the vague feeling that there must something more than just the next project, or perhaps planning the next vacation.  And while facing this realization is disconcerting at any age, it is doubly frightening when the solid foundation you thought you had built a life on suddenly seems to be crumbling.

I have spoken with more and more people lately who fall into this last category.  This is a group of people who suddenly have the time to step back and examine their lives rather than blindly living them.   With life expectancy increasing with each generation, these people are not ready to spend a quarter of their lives sitting idly by with a suduku or crossword puzzle to pass the time.  They may not want to go back to work full-time, but one thing is certain.  They want to be involved and they want make a difference.

Of course, the search for fulfillment is not unique to unemployed mid-life boomers.  It is occurring at all ages and in all levels of society.  People want to be happy, and fulfillment plays a huge role in that equation.  If you do not feel that you are contributing, that you are making a difference on some level, then most likely you will not really be satisfied with your life.  There are many factors that contribute to overall happiness, but the need to be a part of something greater than yourself is one of the overarching conditions that ensures authentic happiness.

They say necessity is the mother of invention.  If that is true, then I think it can also be said that change is the mother of reinvention.  Some people are very good at reinventing themselves—they seem to be able to weather change and come out the better for it.  Others seem to have more trouble.  They seem to get stuck without any idea of how to start the process, or what that process even looks like.

Here is a coaching exercise that can help get the party started.  If you are looking at making changes in your life but you aren’t sure what direction makes sense for you, then this may help.

Block out some time, sit down, and review the achievements in your life.  Go back as far as you can, possibly in ten-year increments, and write down things that you did that made you feel happy or proud.  This can be difficult for some people because they have been trained not to discuss their achievements or strong points.  That would be considered vain or immodest.  But no one is going to read this, and the point is to explore what you did that gave you a sense of satisfaction, and how you felt about yourself when you did it.  Be as detailed as you can, and paint a vivid picture.  You may find as you do this exercise that certain things come to mind that you had previously forgotten.

Once you have finished, set it aside for a day or so and then come back to it.  Read the narrative, and look for similarities in the things that made you happy.  Possibly it was learning new things.  Perhaps you were happiest when helping others in some way.  Maybe you felt the most satisfied while creating something, whether it was short story in High School, a watercolor in an adult ed class, photography on vacation, or even a new procedure for the office.

Aside from taking time to focus on yourself–always a good thing–this exercise does something else.  It acts as a blueprint or a roadmap, pointing out qualities or strengths that have contributed to your feeling of well-being in the past.  Oftentimes we don’t take the time to acknowledge how our actions make us feel, so we lose a vital piece of information that can be invaluable when we set out to craft the next section of our lives.  This exercise can help to clarify what types of activities are the most fulfilling for us and can start us thinking about ways to incorporate them into daily life as we begin our personal reinvention.

It is not a hard exercise, but it does take a bit of time.  However, the information from this self-reflection can have a very grounding effect when exploring all the possible options available. Once you have a clearer idea of what gives you a sense of satisfaction, you can have a better idea of the type of activities that should be included in your life going forward so it becomes one that is enriching and fulfilling.

Personal reinvention shouldn’t be seen as a last resort, forced on us by external circumstances.  It is a journey that anyone can begin at any time with a destination created by our own determination.   And from personal experience, I can vouch that it is a journey well worth taking.

Are you ready to discover how the power of one-on-one coaching can help you break down self-imposed barriers and reach your Personal Best?  Click  here to schedule a complimentary strategic coaching session and see if wellness coaching is right for you.

This job is killin’ me

In today’s economy, a lot of us have had to learn to do more with less.  We’ve had to make a dollar stretch farther when someone loses a job.  We’ve had to learn to make the hours mean more at work when we are the ones remaining after the job loss.  No way around it, it is not an easy time.

A lot of people don’t like their jobs, but stay because they are afraid to make a change.  But there are a lot of people who love their jobs.  They enjoy them, and savor the challenges they present.  You could even say they live to work.  Only one small problem.  Their jobs are killing them.

There is a myth out there about something called work/life balance.  That at some point we are supposed to give equal time to both personal and professional aspects of our lives as well as everything in between. As a wellness coach, I am all for that—if that is something that you strive for.   Sometimes that is just not a realistic goal.

Over the years the workday has shifted from 9:00 to 5:00, to 8:00 to 5:00.  Then the start of the day blurred a bit to 7:00 as the end started to push out toward 6:00.  Now it is not unusual for a workday to run twelve hours or longer. Depending on your career, keeping these types of hours can be a choice or an expectation.  Either way, it leaves people little time to devote to anything other than the job.

There are by-products that come with keeping this type of schedule.  One is a higher burnout rate.  It’s very difficult to maintain a sprinter’s pace if you are in it for the marathon. Stress levels skyrocket, and health can’t help but suffer.  So literally, your work can be killing you.  There are certain professions  where the average life span extends only six years past retirement.  It’s not a lot of time  to enjoy the golden years.

Relief is possible, however.  When I was hunting in the corporate jungle, I would walk at lunch.  It’s a simple thing, and doesn’t really fit into the corporate expectation, but I did it anyway.  I walked almost everyday, usually for about 30 minutes.  I used it as a time to decompress.  My colleagues thought it odd that I took this time rather than just grabbing a bite at my desk and working through lunch. I even earned the title of exercise freak—just for walking for thirty minutes.

But I had a secret.  This time was vital in preparation  for the rest of the day.  I could clear my mind of the morning’s events and move on to the afternoon’s agenda feeling much more refreshed.  An added benefit was the fact that although I didn’t set out to find solutions to problems during my walks, I often returned to the office with new ideas on ways to tackle the thorny issues of the day.  In a sense, for me it served almost as a walking meditation.

A man on my staff used his breaks in a similar way.  He would meditate during his morning and afternoon fifteen minutes breaks.  Now, at the time, meditation was not as widely practiced so he did have a bit of a reputation as an odd duck, but it worked for him.  He remained calm during the daily tsunamis when everyone else was running for higher ground.  His co-worker’s opinions of his meditation practices didn’t bother him at all.  He was practicing self-care.

Unfortunately, as we rise in the food chain, it often feels like we have less control of our time, not more.  I know several people who don’t even take the time to eat during the day because they don’t have time to take a break.  They grab something on the run, or snack on nuts during meetings.  By the time they do get home, they are starving   They raid the pantry for anything they can find before dinner. Obviously, they can make great professional decisions, but they don’t give themselves the same consideration as their latest projects at work.

This lack of self-care is a catalyst for a myriad of other health problems.  Friends of mine complain that they can’t lose weight, no matter what diet they try.  When we review their daily routines, they realize they spend hours at a time sitting before the computer screen, forgetting to get up and even stretch.  They end up eating dinner an hour before bed.  Not a real good prescription for weight loss.  Interestingly, when they make conscious decisions to change this behavior, not only do they lose the weight, they gain energy and focus.  This additional energy capital can be shared at work as well at home, so it becomes a win-win situation for all involved.

Corporations and businesses of all types are beginning to understand the benefits to  be had when individuals take a proactive role in their own well-being.  It can lower healthcare costs and increase productivity due to reduced absenteeism, to name just a couple.  Many corporations are introducing wellness programs that encourage employees to take an active role in their own preventative healthcare.

Like any change, this will take time.  But again, as with any change, it starts with the smallest steps.  It’s a great thing to have a job you love.  It gives you a great sense of satisfaction and accomplishment.  But if you really love it, or even just like it a lot, don’t forget yourself.  The examples above are just a couple of ideas.  There isThan endless number of ways you can take care of yourself during the day. It’s up to you.

Engage in a little self-care during the day–without any guilt.  You’ll be surprised at how much better you feel, and how much more you can contribute, both personally and professionally.  It’s truly a win-win situation for all, and hopefully the wave of the future.


Satisfaction Calling

I think it is safe to say that there are few things more inspiring than watching the Olympic games.   It’s not just the pomp and circumstance, although that is fun.   It’s not just the events themselves, even though they are exciting.   I watch the games more for the back-story—to find out what motivates the athletes to focus on a single goal with laser intensity.

In a recent interview, Missy Franklin was asked why she wasn’t as interested in pursuing endorsement contracts as other athletes.  Her answer was simple.  She swims for the love of the sport.  She loves the feeling of being part of team, and of being a part of something greater than herself.  It was obvious that this young woman is not swimming for the financial reward, although that will certainly follow.  Swimming for her is a means to an end.   It helps her to connect with others and work together to achieve a common goal—the advancement of the team itself.  She can’t imagine doing anything else.

It would seem that swimming is indeed more of a calling for Missy than a job.   That is the thing that distinguishes her from “just a swimmer” and puts her in the class of Olympian.  When what we do is that important to us, when we would do it even without thought of monetary reward—that is a calling.  And answering a calling almost always ensures a truly fulfilling life.

In his book Authentic Happiness, author Martin Seligman describes three classifications for how we view what we do for a living.  The first is to have a job.  A simple, no-nonsense job we do in order to pay the bills.  The job itself may not be that simple.  It could be anything from a barista to a CEO.  But if the reason you go to work is simply to pay the bills and cover living expenses, if that is all you get out of what you put into your work day, then it is a just a job.  And that is usually the least fulfilling way to make a living.

The next level is to have a career.  This one is near and dear to my heart, because I spent twenty-six years working on a career.  At this level, you are not just working for the money.  It helps, but it’s not the real motivation that sends you to the office each morning.  The draw for a career is climbing the ladder.  Getting that promotion, enjoying that private office. Helping the team flourish is a way to meet the challenge of working your way up the organizational chart.  Those are the types of goals and rewards that motivate career-minded people.

The problem with a career is that once you have achieved your goals, once there is no higher title or bigger office to aspire to, then there is not as much to work for.  This is the point where career individuals become less effective in their job and face professional alienation.  There are ways to put the spark back in your work and reignite your passion for your career, but that requires a mind shift when it comes to re-defining rewards.  Many people who reach this level never take that step.  They simply allow what had been a very fulfilling professional life to become more of a job.  They let go of their passion.   They become stale.

Not everyone is lucky enough to have a calling.  A calling is something you do because you love it—you cannot imagine not doing it.  It doesn’t always bring monetary gain or security, although I doubt anyone complains when it does.  Fulfilling a calling answers a deep-seated desire, usually involving service of some type.  A nun is a perfect example of one who answers a calling.

That is not to say that callings don’t exist in the business world—they do.  I know people in the corporate world who can’t imagine not doing what they do.  It simply isn’t an option for them.  They enjoy going to work, and come home energized from a full day, not drained and exhausted.  That’s a pretty good clue that you have followed a calling.

I also know people with two jobs.  One pays the bills, and one feeds their souls.

Whether it takes one job or two, these are the people who are the happiest, the most satisfied when it comes to enjoying a rich life experience.   When someone feels they are making a difference in the lives of others, when they are lifted out of themselves and feel part of something greater–that is a calling.  And that is truly satisfying.

So how do you view your work?  Are you just paying the bills?  Would you like to change that? Are you excited to get to work every morning?  How about rekindling your passion for your career?

Remember, it may just be a job but how you view it, what you take away from it, and what it gives back, is completely up to you.