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How to be happy at work

how to be happy at work

I’ve been obsessed with one thing lately: feeling joy or finding it somewhere throughout my day.

I’m fortunate to have amazing family, friends, and colleagues in my life. But despite the blessings and good times, I can’t say I’ve always looked for joy. In fact, I never thought much about it. Joy was a nice-to-have.

Because I’m a type-A person and have always wanted to accomplish big things, I spent my pre-teen years to my early thirties working from a place of stress and feeling that, since I’ve chosen ambition and success, it means I have to make sacrifices and the process should be painful.

Sound familiar?

Sometimes this process would lead to results (I graduated with nearly a 4.0 from Syracuse University and landed a job in media after graduation). Woohoo! This grinding thing works.

Other times I’d deal with massive heartbreak and burnout. Why isn’t it working out for me?

Though I decided to make changes after my last burnout in December 2015, I still don’t have all the answers. But I’m prioritizing joy now every single day – more so in the past month than ever in my life.

I crave it.

And in moments when it feels easier to continue the grind, I remember this: I work best when work doesn’t feel like work – when I’m in the zone, energized, and am creating from a place of intention.

So no matter where you are with your work:

  • You don’t know what you want to do next and the suffocating feeling of that is too much, or

  • You know your mission but you’re not sure how to execute on it, or

  • You’ve been unemployed for what feels like forever and the job search is just demoralizing…

look for the joy within your current work or even outside it. That’s it.

Here’s why and how it will help you.

1) Joy Drives High Performance

I’ve been thinking about the impact joy has on our work for several weeks now, and as I sat down to write this article, I saw Marie Forleo released her latest video with Brendon Burchard.

Brendon Burchard, an author, and motivational speaker studied and interviewed some of the most successful people in the world to understand what drives their high performance. His findings?

The most successful people aren’t miserable, grinding at their desks all day. Instead, they find alignment in their life and they’re happy. Ultimately they work from a place of joy and strive to find their zone.

I was thrilled to hear this because, for the past year, this has been my focus – less grind, more alignment.  

So if you’re job searching and it sucks, what can you focus on to make your day better? And if you don’t know what it is that you want to do, what are the things that you do have clarity on in your life?

Tune into and focus on those experiences as they will help cut the negative loop we spiral into when we’re under stress and exhausted.

(2) Feeling Joy Feels Good, and That’s a Good Enough Reason to Seek It

I’ve been into the Jess Lively Show lately, a podcast that provides some extra motivation and inspiration.

Jess digs deep on what it means to feel in alignment, so I won’t go into crazy detail here. But my biggest takeaway is when we’re in that zone, in alignment, we take more powerful actions.

For example, imagine you’re really pissed that you have to juggle multiple side hustles. When will it end??

How are you showing up every day? I doubt it’s with a cheery smile on your face and ready to work. I know because I’m guilty of this exact same thing.

However, when you work to get in alignment and find joy, you’re focusing on the good stuff – the stuff that’s worth celebrating, even if managing multiple side hustles sucks. And what happens?

  • You have more energy. Feeling negative drains your energy, which ultimately leads to more negative feelings. I can’t imagine you’re taking some grand action from this place.

  • You show up differently. You put out more positive energy into the world and those actions lead to more fruitful results.

Do it for the joy. That’s it.

(3) Now here’s a challenge.

I’ll do this with you because I could always use more practice in living from a place of joy. (After all, these shifts don’t happen overnight.)

What experiences give you the most joy?

For me, it can be simple: stepping outside to get some air, hugging my 2-year old, or treating myself to a delicious meal. What is it for you?

Can you spend 5 minutes each day feeling joy and tapping into those experiences? After you do this, spend five minutes at the end of your day writing about it.

Just 5 minutes. Start this today and let us know how it goes in the comments below!

Belma McCaffrey

Author Belma McCaffrey

More posts by Belma McCaffrey

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