How to Thrive at Work
At certain stages in our career we'll have jobs in which we seem to flourish and thoroughly enjoy - the good times; when we work in a flow state and literally seem to fly.
However, there are other times when it is a real drag, when we question why we are doing what we are doing and feel that we we are dragging ourselves through the day to day.
For some of us this is a big red flag saying that where we are and what we are doing is no longer working for us - that it's time for a change.
This happened to me and it took me 3 years to realise that the constant feeling of being stuck and stagnant was not going to disappear - that I needed to make a career change.
This was most definitely the right choice and is for many of clients as they experience burn out, lack of purpose, boredom and know that there is someone more out there for them. If this sounds familiar then find out more about how career coaching can help you discover what you really want to do.
What if I don't want to leave?
For a lot of people there is not the need for a full career transformation or company switch. We therefore focus on relighting their career fire and discover what helps them to thrive at work.
I always start with the most important piece - their self-care/compassion - whatever you want to call it - you come first - your health; mental and physical is absolutely paramount to your thriving and feeling in balance.
I often combine this with the main pillars of resilience so let's take a quick checklist to see what needs more attention to help us thrive.
Sleep & Rest
It's this classic top tip which we all know we need more of. Sleep is essential, when we are deprived of it we are experiencing torture due to the negative effects and impacts of lack of sleep on our brains and bodies.
If you are regularly missing out on sleep or getting poor sleep then consider making your bedroom a haven for sleep - dark, cool, relaxing. Banish the devices and the screens and create a bedtime routine which you will stick to.
Dr Mathew Walker is an expert in sleep and how to get more of it - if this is your Achilles Heel then I highly recommend reading and listening to all he has to advise.
The element of rest is really key here too - take your holidays and do not work whilst you have a day off!!
Have downtime to recover especially after a busy or emotionally draining period of time.
Nutrition & Hydration
Another very simple pillar yet one we tend to take for granted especially when we are tired or feeling stressed. Invariably we will opt for the sugary and quick fix for energy when we feel depleted.
This is when we see our will power evaporate as we have just one more coffee or biscuit. There is not easy fix to this one either folks as it is about making healthy choices for you. I'm not talking about fad diets but sound nutritional advice and ensuring you are hydrated with water rather than caffeine or booze.
Keeley Nicholas and Pam Clark at Emporium of Health are the experts in how to create the best eating plans for your needs as they look at the areas where you are deficient, your lifestyle and what you need to do to regain your energy.
No need to run a marathon folks - just a little bit of movement each day is key to regaining our mojo, keeping us supple and healthy.
We have not evolved to be sat down all day, unfortunately our lives are becoming more and more sedentary with technology (Alexa) working from home remits and the types of jobs we do.
Find ways to build in more movement to your day - whether that's a work out, a walk for your commute (real or pretend) or taking the stairs rather than the lift or escalator.
It's even more beneficial if that exercise can be done outside, surrounded by nature! Being in natural surroundings has a very calming effect on us and enables us to tap into our natural, circadian rhythms which in turn helps us sleep better - see how it is all linked!
And laughter. Even in the darkest times I have been fortunate to have friends and family crack a joke - it makes the pain more bearable, allows you take a step back and reassess the situation and helps us to bond.
Just like you schedule in appointments consider scheduling in fun - not in a weird calculated way but to ensure that you are having it.
Become invested in your hobbies, rediscover things from years ago or try something new. These don't have to break the bank - consider what would bring you joy and go out and do it!
Be strict with your schedule and yourself so that you are making time for yourself, even if that means saying no to others.
Our support networks are absolutely crucial for our survival and always have been. Now the focus in more on positive mental health rather than actual survival so I encourage you to surround yourself with people who feed your soul with positivity.
If you are struggling to find specific support for a poor mental health condition then check out MIND - a wealth of easy to understand information, resources and advice on what to do and how to help yourself as well as others.
What about work?
As you begin to create your thrive toolkit we can now turn our focus onto thriving at work rather than merely surviving.
Have A Purpose
Now this is the clincher for me when it comes to thriving at work - having a purpose is absolutely key as we need to know our why and that what we are doing has value.
That value has to align with our own values so we buy into it and believe in what we are doing.
Unsurprisingly - this is the one that most of us struggle to find as we often get bogged down in our day to day tasks.
If you are struggling to find your purpose then have a read of last week's article to help you find and create your purpose.
Have a Plan
Ideally start with your life - what do you want this to look like, to have in it - what do you want to do?
This will therefore, provide a direction and aim for your career. - perhaps a promotion, working in for a particular organisation or in a specific sector.
Ensure that this is your plan - not your bosses', or what one of your parents really wanted to do - it has to work for you and your life. Your career facilitates your life not the other way around so ask yourself "Where do I want to be in 12 months time?"
This is the biggest obstacle that clients come to me with - they no longer see or find value in what they do. It may have been that they never did and now there is a gaping hole in their work and motivation.
Ask yourself "What can I do right now to bring value to my team / this project / company / work?"
Top Tip - it is often the simplest intervention or suggestion and invariably draws on your specific skills and strengths which people admire and want more of.
Once you have identified this and you are indeed adding value by doing it you then should take the next step and ensure that people are aware of this.
As cringey as it may be you need to demonstrate your value. This is not about ego - this is focused on you getting the recognition, reward and opportunities that come from adding value.
Have regular 1 to 1's with your boss or manager, follow up with an email summary, ask for help to expand on what you are doing, tell people about it and get them involved if you can.
If you are creating a thriving way of working then chances are others will want in on that which will only enhance what you are creating.
By establishing your 'thrive basics' you can then go on and flourish further and if you need help then you know who to call - email@example.com