This may be controversial, but as a 20-year career coaching veteran, I think one of the biggest mistakes people are making post-pandemic is they are overly focused on trying to pursue career happiness when in reality you should be focused on building career resilience.
Career Happiness Is Elusive. Building Career Resilience Will Give You Career Satisfaction.
There are three reasons why career happiness is very difficult to achieve. First, career happiness is a state of mind. So if you're sitting here and wondering, "How can I just be happier in my career today?" you can't. Instead, certain things need to happen that are going to make you stronger and more resilient, feel more in control, and give you more satisfaction.
Career satisfaction will make you feel happy.
The second reason you should quit trying to pursue career happiness is that it constantly evolves. It's like a moving target. The moment that you start to feel happy, the situation will change, or your circumstances will change. So it's not a one-and-done sort of thing. Many people struggle with the concept of "happiness," and say something like, "I was happy here and now I'm not. I'll never be able to achieve this." That's not true at all. Happiness is a constantly moving state.
The third reason you don't want to focus on career happiness is that it's different for every person. I coach people every day who tell me they tried something that worked for someone else, but they didn't get the same results, and now they feel bad about it—about themselves, their situation, etc. You can't compare someone else's success, someone else's perceived happiness, with your own ideas of success and happiness.
Career happiness just isn't the right thing to pursue for all three of these reasons.
So, what do you do instead? You focus on building up your career resilience. Why do you do that? Because the stronger you get, the more in control you will feel, and the more satisfied you will be with your career—and that will make you feel happy.
How To Build Career ResilienceBigstock
There are three things you need to build career resilience. First is the environment. You need to surround yourself with a community of people who are all focusing on career resilience as well. What happens is you end up learning from these people. In fact, they show you things you didn't know you needed to know. But also, candidly, you look around the room and you go, "These people aren't any better than me. I can do this." And that's going to give you motivation, which many people lack.
The second thing you're going to need is coaching. You're going to need people who have done this, who have hacks, who have tips, who have tricks, who are keeping up with the latest techniques, who can understand your particular situation and get you the advice you need. Think about all the people in your life you use when you can't get results on your own. They're essentially coaches. That's what you need right now to get you to the next level. If you think about it, coaching isn't a sign of weakness. It's the path to greatness, especially in things like sports. And this is no different. You're playing a sport here in your career.
The third thing that you're going to need is knowledge. Knowledge is power. Knowledge is the one thing nobody can take away from you. Employers can never take away your knowledge. That's your power. That's your value. That's your worth when it comes to work.
When you gain new insights, when you learn new things, it is going to make you much smarter. You're going to make more informed decisions, and you're going to take yourself from being an employee who feels like they don't have any power to an employee who realizes they're a business-of-one, and you want to be a partner with that employer. They're not any better than you. You want to partner up, and you want the mutual trust and respect that you deserve. But that only comes when you build up that resiliency.
I like to call people who build career resiliency "Workplace Renegades" because they get off the hamster treadmill, think for themselves, and learn how to take ownership of their carer using the right environment, the right community, the right education, the right courses and knowledge, and then the right coaching, the right support.
Good luck, and go get 'em!
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