It is common for my clients to discuss how changes at work impact them, even when employment is not a focus of our coaching work. Changes at work seem to be the norm in many employment settings. They can take the form of systemic reorganization, new technology, staff turnover, company growth, new policies . . . you name it. Change can be stressful, especially if it is outside of your control. When change seems to be the norm rather than the exception, the stress and uncertainty can lower your job satisfaction. By anchoring yourself in your purpose and being intentional with your activities, interactions, and self-care, you can create work fulfillment even in the midst of change. Here’s how.
Anchor yourself in your purpose(s).
Be mindful of why you are in your current position and what you hope to get out of it. Fill in the blank to this sentence “I work here because _____.” List all the reasons that come to mind, such as “I value the mission statement of this company, I can develop skills, it pays the bills, I like my co-workers, the hours are flexible, I get to use my training” etc. Keep this list with you to remind yourself of the good reasons that you are working in your current position.
Review this list to take advantage of opportunities that align with your purposes and needs. For example, if one of the reasons on your list is “for recognition,” then look for opportunities that allow you to lead, spearhead a project, be a presenter, or represent your team.
Align your activities with your passions and goals.
Similar to finding opportunities that support your purpose, engage in activities and look for opportunities that support your goals and/or passions. If you are passionate about training, for example, then seek opportunities to train others. When you can, play to your strengths so that you will feel good about yourself and your contribution. Do you have goals for yourself such as advancement, learning a skill, or increasing your leadership? Make sure that you are spending your time and energy doing activities that help you reach your goals as much as possible. When it makes sense, ask for opportunities that are aligned with your passions and goals, and decline those that are not. In general, choose tasks that energize you, stretch you, or propel you forward.
Cultivate positive relationships.
Especially during times of change, office morale can be compromised. I encourage clients to spend as much time as they can interacting with people who energize them – and to spend less time engaging people who contribute to their pessimism, anxiety, or frustration. Determine who the people are at work that energize, motivate, or encourage you. Be intentional in cultivating relationships with those people. Spend time with positive people whom you admire to learn from them. Consider finding a mentor in your organization.
Another way to cultivate positive relationships is to be positive yourself. If you are experiencing stress and uncertainty in your work environment, so are your co-workers. Make sure that you are doing what you can to contribute to positive interactions, whether through words or encouragement, smiling, or acknowledging a co-worker’s contribution. Furthermore, contribute to positive relationships by minimizing negativity. Set boundaries for yourself around negative interactions in whatever way makes sense in your situation – walking away, shifting focus, or verbally discouraging negativity, for example.
Access your social support outside work in addition to cultivating positive relationships at work. If you would like additional support, work with a coach. We specialize in goal setting and personal fulfillment.
Engage in self-care practices.
Engage in self-care at work and outside of work. The more balanced and positive your overall life, the more satisfying your work experience can be. At work, stay hydrated, eat well to keep your blood sugar stable, take breaks, and take moments to yourself to breathe deeply. Make a list of positives in your life or things for which you are grateful. Keep this list handy to refer to at work to remind yourself of the good in your life that extends beyond work. Outside of work, continue to tend to basic physical needs like healthy eating, rest, and exercise, but also find ways to put a smile on your face every day, whether through a hobby or passion, an interaction with a loved one, a comedy, or nature. I strongly encourage my clients to create balance in their overall lives when any one area of their lives is challenging. This balance creates a strong foundation to help you thrive through whatever challenges you face.
You, alone, may not be able to do much about the changes in the structure, people, or other circumstances of your workplace, but you can do something about yourself. Connect with your purpose, set goals for yourself to focus on your own development, align activities to your passions and goals, interact positively, and take very good care of yourself at work and outside of work. Through your own intentional contributions your work life will become increasingly more fulfilling.