Ever notice that one of the best motivators for doing something you have been procrastinating about is to find something you have to do that you want to do even less that the first thing? I ran into that situation again this morning. I think one of the best examples in my procrastination history has to do with studying. My apartment was never as clean as it was during exams. The clutter that had accumulated for 4 months all of a sudden became such a critical issue that I could not study in such an environment. The only solution was to clean before studying!
Sometimes we put off consciously thinking about our own happiness because it is easier to procrastinate than to face it down. I have been thinking about priorities a lot lately and ones I am sure you can relate to is happiness at work. How do we balance our need for security and income with a good workplace experience? Which takes priority if the workplace is unpleasant – money or sanity? There are so many factors to consider and even considering them takes energy. Energy we often do not have if we are negatively stressed. Then one day the tipping point comes and something, maybe even something which at the time seems insignificant, forces us to look at it. Which side of the tipping point are you on or are you balancing carefully on the point? Is fear weighing you down from beginning to explore your options or are you buoyed by a workplace that respects and nurtures you?
I have seen two people this week who look tired and sad even when they smile because of workplace unhappiness. Can you really see yourself in the mirror or is it time to ask someone who will tell you the truth about whether they think it is time for you to be creative in finding a good alternative to where you are working now? Harter, Schmidt, and Keyes in the book Flourishing: Positive Psychology and the Life Well-Lived (Keyes and Haidt) looked at aspects of well-being in the workplace for people and organizations to flourish. Aspects of their findings form the basis for a good thought-provoking self-assessment checklist.
In the workplace:
Do I know what is expected of me?
Do I have the tools and equipment I need to do what I should do?
Do I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day?
Does someone care about me?
Are my opinions respected?
Do my peers have high quality standards for their work?
Am I experiencing opportunities to learn and grow?
From the perspective of an employee, answering these questions can help you determine if energy should be focused on change if you are hurting or on appreciation for what you are living if you are happy.
From the perspective of a leader, how do you think your employees would answer these questions? Do they smile? Do they look tired even if they are smiling? Are they hurting or flourishing? What can you do about it?
For an organization to flourish the people who collectively comprise its soul must flourish.
Keyes, C. L. M. and J Haidt. Flourishing: Positive Psychology and the Life Well-Lived. Washington, D.C.: American Psychological Association, 2007.