3 Actions To Take Now If Your Work Doesn’t Make You Happy

It was November 2014 and I was sitting on a barstool, peering out the window of Kinfolk Café onto the bustle that is Bourke St, Melbourne.  Waiting over the scent of my almond milk flat white, to meet a person that would fundamentally challenge my belief system on conventional business models and introduce me to a world where business was motivated by purpose and it’s ability to positively impact the lives of others.

That person was Carolyn Tate, an unknown kindred spirit who had agreed to share an hour of her life with a random stranger.  A random stranger in career limbo, adequately labeled a corporate refugee some months later. I was on the hunt for a new career path (after 16 years as a change and marketing professional) and I had no idea what that path looked like. I just new I wanted more meaning in my work, greater flexibility and the motivation to bounce out of bed each day.   Don’t get me wrong I didn’t begrudge my years in the corporate world, many of my closest friends and proudest achievements sat in those years. It had just run its course for me.

Carolyn and I sat at that bench like old friends reunited and shared stories of frustration with a business world that appeared to have lost its way, with a drive for dollars over community prosperity.  We spoke of the rise of the corporate refugee, a growing trend of well educated, talented professionals who were disenfranchised with their career choice.

That conversation led me on a journey that crossed suburbs, states and countries, connecting with Entrepreneurs who appeared to have found the holy grail of business, one would recommend another and the chain appeared endless.  These business owners were highly motivated, extremely passionate and driven by wanting to have a positive impact through their work. They collaborated to elevate each other as apposed to compete believing there was enough prosperity for everyone.

From Meneka Premkumar at The Common Good Store to Sheree Rubenstein at One Roof Melbourne or Jamie Green all the way up in Byron working on One Night Stand Sleepwear I was inspired, engaged and learning about business in a way I never envisaged possible.

This was where my leaping journey of exploration started and looking back over the past 2 years I realise that the most powerful thing you can do if your not happy in your career is own it and just start to take simple and positive action. It won’t be perfect, but clarity will come if you start doing. So if you are seeking to make a tweak or a leap in your career, to make your days at work happier, but you’re not sure where to start why not consider these 3 actions:

1. WORK YOUR PURPOSE

So you’re probably thinking I should of said find your purpose (otherwise referred to as your Why) but the idea of such a big aspiration may feel overwhelming and those of us who have been there know it’s a process of evolution that takes time to marinade. I suggest you work your purpose and see where it leads you knowing where you begin is not where you will end. Leverage the simple model created by Carolyn Tate in her book Conscious Marketing (refer to the diagram below). Gift yourself some uninterrupted headspace and write down what comes to you when you read the 4 bubbles. Revisit and refine your answers by coming back to them over a period of time. Share what you have come up with a trusted advisor and discuss the possibilities of what your combined answers represent. This is a great way to shine a light on what makes you happy.

2. REACH OUT

I speak to many career leapers who want to make a change but don’t have the confidence to ask anyone for help. I spent 6 months when I was considering my leap meeting with and reaching out to random strangers whose work inspired me to want to be better. Of over 100 people I reached out to in that time only 1 said NO. The old saying “if you don’t ask you don’t get” has proven itself time and time again. So start reaching out. Find 3 people who inspire you in the work they are doing and ask them for a coffee to share the catalyst for their career, what motivates them and what they’ve learnt along the way. They don’t have to be Richard Branson. There are so many people in local co-working spaces doing amazing things. Another option is to perhaps consider asking your work place whether they would support you in co-working for a day at a co-working space. This action has a dual benefit: you get to see what else is going on in the world of business, make new connections you wouldn’t generally come across in your day to day and take new ideas and perspectives back into your work place.

 3. WRITE A DREAMS LIST

As professionals we love a set of hard goals but perhaps its time to step away from the rigidity of goals and free your mind to get creative. Think about what’s possible without limitations or creating personal barriers. Grab a piece of paper draw a line down the middle and on the left side put the heading DREAMS. Write down all the dreams you have for yourself for the next 1 to 2 years. Then on the right side write down 1 action you can take now to move you closer to that dream. Then simply prioritise your actions by placing a number next to each one based on their ease of delivery and impact on projecting you forward. And there you have a simple plan to make a start and take positive action.

If you’re still feeling stuck and want to move past the overwhelm of where to begin join me and a group of like minds at the Leapers Ignite Master Class, July 7 at One Roof co-working space. Walk away with a plan that will empower you to take action with impact and a supportive peer network that you can collaborate with on your career evolution. Places are strictly limited to 15 with early bird tickets on sale now.