The Simple Answer to Being Happier At Work

All of the self-help books, seminars, and courses can be dumbed down into one single goal: Be happier. So why is it that most of us are stuck in miserable, life-sucking jobs with no end in sight? Despite their simplicity, happiness and fulfillment at work aren’t as easy as Justin Timberlake makes it look.

Happy Barista at Coffee Counter

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Coming out of college, I grabbed the first job that fell into my lap. I didn’t think much about where it would lead me, but it was a great paying gig that anyone in my position would be envious of. So I blindly moved to a new city and started grinding away.

Looking back, I can vividly remember being miserable at work for weeks on end.

After snoozing for the 5th time, I would roll out of bed, already dreading the upcoming day. Then once at work, I would endlessly check social media for a glimpse of an alternate reality that I could escape to.

After a full day of work, I would finally make it home. But it didn’t end there; I would still be prepping for the next day, texting my clients, and answering emails way past dinnertime.

My 9-to-5 was closer to a 6-10 (6AM to 10 PM that is). And while that’s okay with a job you enjoy, it’s kryptonite when you’re doing work you hate.

Why aren’t we happy?

Much of how we work today has drastically changed from how it used to be.

My guess is that you are probably…

…texting your boss more than you are sending her faxes.

…coming “home from work” and still working from home.

…sending more emails from your phone than your computer.

This increase of access from work to home has blended our fundamental definition of “work”.

Work becomes part of our home life; our home life becomes part of work. Passion and purpose become blended together like a sorbet of life. And it can be an incredible thing because as Simon Sinek says, it’s how we achieve true work-life balance.

So as these personal and professional boundaries blur together, what we do for work matters more and more.

Heck, if we are going to be spending the better part of our lives texting our boss at 7pm while trying to feed the cat and take the dog for a walk, we better freaking like doing it.

There is no such thing as work-life balance anymore – it’s just called “life” now.

It all intertwines into one giant messy clump.

And this “on-call culture” is just how things have become. There’s not really a way of avoiding it unless you want to be a potato farmer in the middle of Montana. And my guess is that this probably isn’t your calling (but if it is, then that’s awesome too).

Potato Farmer Holding Potatoes

The Most Important Question (MIQ)

Despite the changes in how we work, I still believe that we have never lived in a better time. There are more opportunities than ever, and most are at the end of our fingertips and a 16’ LED screen.

But in order to capitalize on these opportunities, you have to be willing to do a bit of internal digging. You have to be deeply interested in answering some of life’s most important questions.

The good news is that there are fundamental questions that, when answered, can make a drastic improvement on your life.

These questions are what I call the MIQs: the Most Important Questions.

Why do I call them this?

Well, when we are unhappy with our current circumstances, no less than 645,832 questions pop into our heads on a daily basis:

Should I quit and find another job?

What am I doing wrong?

Why do I deserve this?

Why can’t I drive a Rolls Royce to work every day like Grant Cardone?

And so on and so forth…you get the picture.

To eliminate a lot of this noise, it’s far better (and easier) to focus on just one question that has the power to answer all the other smaller questions. 

So if you are searching for the simple answer to be happier at work, the most important question you need to answer for yourself is…

 

What’s important to me?”

 

While this MIQ might be simple, it’s not always easy to answer, let alone apply.

You see, figuring out what’s important to you is a process of self-discovery.

It’s about spending time deeply thinking, and uncovering layers of stories and B.S. that we’ve told ourselves for years to discover the real, true answer.

Too often we get caught up living someone else’s version of success and focusing on things that don’t matter to us.

Once you realize what’s important to you, however, you can start to prioritize those things and forget about the other useless crap. 

How to figure out what’s important to you

Okay, so now you are probably thinking: Okay Scott, I want to answer the question, I just don’t know how.

In order to do this, I use what’s called The 3 Step Prioritization Process.

This process is a simple way to figure out what’s truly important to you and what’s not.

But rather than belabor the point in this blog post, if you want to learn how to go through this exercise for yourself, enter your contact information below and I’ll send you the process plus a free workbook.

What happens next…

By answering this MIQ, I honestly believe that you can turn a job into a career, and a career into a calling.

When I first went through this analysis, I was miserable in my job. Through it, I realized that I was focusing on all the wrong things.

I started putting more focus on my personal and professional development, improved the relationships I had with coworkers, and sought out better productivity tools and resources.

Despite being in the same job, I had more clarity and confidence than ever. I knew where I was headed and ignored all the crap that didn’t matter (even though it was still there).

You can do this too.

By going through the exercises in the free workbook, you can identify what matters the most to you. This is just the first crucial step in the process of building a great career.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.