Everyone, fundamentally, wants to be the best they can be, and to ensure that they are able to make the most of their careers. We all desire to be high-earners, with plenty of responsibility, and professional clout. And many people will toil for years, under pretty intense circumstances, to realize their professional dreams.
It would be a mistake, though, to measure the success of professional life solely by how much money you bring home, and how high up you are in the company, however.
Perhaps just as important is that you are able to find some meaning in your work, so that going through the daily routine leaves you a better and more capable person in some fundamental ways, not just a wealthier one. And if you happen to be struggling at the office — as we all do from time to time — this is perhaps all the more important.
Here are a few tips for getting more meaning out of your job, whatever that job may be
Treat the bad days as training
Everyone has bad days sometimes, and this is just as true professionally as it is personally.
Sometimes, you will just wake up on the wrong side of the bed. Your coffee won’t work its magic. Your boss, or coworkers, or clients will be unreasonable. Your garage door will break, and the garage door service won’t be able to stop by for a couple of days. Things, in general, will just not seem great or fulfilling.
A good thing to do during these days, is to view all of the hardship as training, in the spirit of ancient Stoic philosophers such as Epictetus, who argued that we should view hardship in life the same way we would view a tough young wrestling opponent. That is — we are being trained to become better, harder, and more resilient.
Keep an eye out for hidden opportunities
Every day you go to work, you should be developing future opportunities or useful skills, in one way or another. And this is often not as straightforward and obvious as it would seem.
If you work in a marketing job, you are likely developing a rich knowledge of SEO. Could you leverage this knowledge to create a potentially fruitful side-hustle? Or maybe you could volunteer for on-the-job training in a particular area. Or maybe you could ask to adopt blogging duties, in order to improve your web writing skills.
There are innumerable ways to find and nurture hidden opportunities at work. Be on the lookout for some.
Adopt a responsibility-oriented mindset
One of the key dividing lines between some of the most successful entrepreneurs of all time, and some of the least, is that the most successful virtually always adopt a strong responsibility-oriented mindset.
That is, they take responsibility for everything that happens to them professionally.
When you take responsibility in this way, instead of playing blame games — even if you’re in a bad situation that wasn’t your fault — you empower yourself. By taking responsibility, you automatically define something as being within your ability to manage.
This, of course, makes work and life a lot more fruitful and meaningful.