“Feel in control and satisfied”

At an all-time high of worker dissatisfaction, plenty of people are having a good time.
Yes, despite idiot bosses, demanding clients and unrealistic expectations, some people say they love their work and know where they’re headed.
It didn’t come easy. These people did a lot of soul searching. And based on discussions with those who feel in control and more satisfied, I’d say they have five things in common:
1. They really know their strengths, interests and values.
You’ve heard it a million times–that you need to know yourself. But if you’re one of the dissatisfied, odds are you don’t. Try answering these three key questions without hemming and hawing:
– What are the six things you’re great at doing and love to do?
– What activities and subjects interest you most?
– What matters to you most?
Knowing this is the foundation for feeling content.
2. They work on changing their very nature.
It’s in your nature not to want to change the way you do things. Change is inconvenient and risky. One Midwest worker told me: “Whenever our company announced a change, we’d congregate and moan and groan. ‘Can you believe they’re making us do this?’ echoed through the company like a cheerleading chant.
“One day I decided not to get dragged into that. Instead, I decided to consider what the company was saying and why.” That simple shift in thinking made it easier for him to evaluate the change and become adaptable and nimble instead of cranky and resistant.
“For the first time in a long time, I felt in control instead of being controlled,” he said.
3. They imagine what they want and create it.
Because they know themselves, they play around with the idea of creating their ideal. They design a picture of it.
One manager wrote a job description for a new position that helped his company solve a daunting problem it was facing. He described to his boss how his strengths and know-how made him the perfect candidate for this position that didn’t exist. He also made it clear that family was important. So in creating the position, he made sure there were no more calls at 3 in the morning by setting up a contingency team to handle emergencies five days a week.
Another worker envisioned her ideal, then slowly built a small business on the side and took courses that will allow her to leave her job at the end of the year. She’ll offer a service that utilizes her strengths and interests and encompasses the lifestyle she wants.
4. They take advantage of the moment.
Instead of being annoyed about the chaos around them, they say to themselves, “What can I do to make the most of this?”
Since they know their strengths, they can evaluate where those strengths are most needed at their company or elsewhere in the world. They see their strengths, interests and knowledge as a marketable commodity and go about the process of reinventing and repackaging themselves so they will continue to be valuable.
5. They are idealistic realists.
Sure, they want to be happy. But they realize:
– there is no easy path
– they won’t be happy all the time
– that when you choose one thing, you sacrifice something else
So they think through the steps they’ll need to take to get what they want. They ask themselves: Am I willing to do that?
They contemplate the implications their choices will have on their life. For example, a woman came to me recently to decide if she should get her MBA. It meant less time with her family, giving up TV and spending money that would have gone into savings. But she felt the choice would fulfill her in other ways.
She knows it won’t be easy. She’s clear on the sacrifices. But she knows herself and what she wants and is having a good time getting there. You can too.

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Talking about workin’ for a living with WGRR hosts Janeen Coyle and Chris O’Brien.