Across the board, research on happiness and fulfillment reveals the critical importance of feeling like you are making an impact.
Does your work matter?
To feel fulfilled and find happiness at work, you need to be able to answer this question with a “yes.”
How to Find Fulfillment at Work
Depending on your role and where you work, it may be hard to feel like your work makes a difference. Thankfully, there are two easy solutions for this.
1. Ask yourself three questions.
Angela Duckworth’s Grit details three questions to ask yourself to increase your satisfaction in your job.
First, how does the work you’re already doing contribute to society?
Let’s say you work in marketing for a healthcare company and your goal is to sell more of a particular type of heart stent. You might be tempted to talk about your job in terms of increasing profits for your company or convincing doctors to recommend your stent. But what if you framed it more broadly? Instead, look at it as “my job is to save lives.”
Second, “how, in small ways, can you change your current work to enhance its connection to your core values?”
Duckworth cites a Google study where employees at Google spent some time making small changes to their work in the way they thought would make their work more meaningful and enjoyable. Six weeks later, the employees rated themselves and happier. Not only this, but their managers also rated them as happier and more effective.
Third, “Can you think of someone whose life inspires you to be a better person? Who? Why?”
While this question may not immediately allow you to find satisfaction in your job, spend some time thinking about it. Perhaps your role model embodies and demonstrates a value that you can bring to work.
2. Find a Way to Make an Impact OUTSIDE your work.
Sometimes your work can’t bring you fulfillment (or all the fulfillment you need). When that’s the case, figure out how you can gain fulfillment elsewhere. Whether it’s volunteering for a cause you believe in, writing a blog, crafting a book, undertaking a serious hobby, or even working a second job doing what you love, there are ways to make an impact outside of your work. There is never a better time to start.
To find fulfillment, you should think about how you want your life to be summed up in a sentence. What do you want that sentence to be? Then go after it.