‘It’s a new dawn, It’s a new day, It’s a new life … and I’m feeling good’. Nina Simone captured the essence of positivity in her wonderful song.
Feeling good about yourself is something we all strive to achieve, and despite the pressures of today’s society and the consumerism of the western world, more of us are keen to find intrinsic feel good factors. Instead of buying and consuming more ‘things’ which give us a short term buzz but contribute little to our longterm wellbeing, we want to find it within ourselves.
Feeling good about yourself at work or when you work for yourself is key to being successful, to boosting your resilience and your ability to bounce back from difficult times. Plus feeling good will enable you to make changes, take difficult decisions or change direction.
If we don’t feel good about what we are doing then it can leave us feeling stuck or that we have to make some kind of radical change. It also has an effect on our performance and our health, leaving us tired, out of sorts and more susceptible to illness. However, by analysing the parts of our career where we are feeling good and identifying the parts we need to work on can help us recognise whether a work situation is redeemable or whether we do need to actually take control and make a change.
So what do you need to pay attention to?
Career Vision – Don’t let your future vision remain on autopilot – having a sense of where you are heading and how you want to live your life with work as an integral part of that plan is essential. Being able to explore new possibilities and experiences that contribute to where you want to be and choosing goals to create the future you desire.
- When was the last time you checked in with your vision?
- Are you moving towards it or have you drifted away?
- Are your goals stretching you?
Career Confidence – Career confidence is an interesting area, different to social confidence, it can take years to develop and can evaporate quickly if we experience a break in our career, a stressful work event or an unsupportive manager. When your confidence is high you feel joy and love for what you do, and the self belief that you are capable of anything.
- Is your career confidence increasing or decreasing?
- Are you able to stretch yourself and say yes to new things?
- Do you trust yourself to be successful?
Core strengths – You have many qualities and strengths but it is the ones you enjoy using in your work and that you know you are good at that form your core. These talents make you unique and have the potential to bring you great fulfilment – what could be better than using them everyday?
- What are you good at?
- What do you love and brings you pleasure?
- What makes you special?
Work values – Your values are what you believe is important. They are evident in the way you do things. Values can range from a belief in hard work or punctuality to deeper principles such as self-reliance, concern for others or harmony with the environment.
Knowing your values can help you decide how to apply your talents and build a fulfilling career. You will have a better sense of which types of work are right for you and which are not. Being true to your values makes you authentic and helps you stand out from the crowd. You become like a magnet, attracting people who hold similar values, whether they are employers, customers or colleagues.
- What are your core values?
- Are they being met in your current work?
Recognition – Being valued for what you do, getting positive feedback or simply recognising that you are being the best you can be can reinforce that feel good factor and boost your career confidence. Taking charge of your performance and seeking positive ways to learn how you can continually improve is important to a sense of growth.
- Are you developing ways to recognise your own achievements?
- Are you being the best you can be?
Passions and Interests – Loving what you do and feeling passion for your work or the way you work is so important. Cultivating your interests, the things that fascinate you, and making space for them in your life and work contributes significantly to your wellbeing. Maybe you’re passionate about what you do or maybe it’s the client group you work with or the sector you are in that gives you that spark.
- What do you love and how is integrated in your work?
- Can you find something you love at work every single day?
Personal Growth – Opportunities to learn new skills, gain new experiences, stretch yourself or do something you never imagined you could do can boost your confidence and enjoyment at work. To feel that whatever stage of life you can change, evolve and develop is energising.
- What opportunities in your work are there to grow and develop?
- When was the last time you did something that challenged you?
Be at your best – Just like a plant we need certain conditions in order to flourish. Knowing what enables you to be at your best, such as your working environment, types of colleagues, challenges, strengths you need to use, is essential to thriving. You can identify this when you think about times when you have been lost in the moment, when work doesn’t feel like work, and time just flies.
- Are you at your best at the moment? If not what is missing? If you are what is enabling that?
So now is the time to do a quick review of how good you feel about your career?
Create some space, find a calm environment, and work through all the areas to assess where you already ‘feel good’ and where you might need to direct some attention.
Now notice the patterns – It is really important to celebrate the areas where you are feeling good as well as noticing the areas where you may need to take action.
What can you do next to boost your feel good factor?
Decide where you would like to focus to increase your satisfaction and happiness, and identify actions you can take to make a difference to how you feel, for example, taking on a new project, asking a client for feedback, making time to develop your vision. Set yourself a timescale for achieving it and spend time visualising how you will feel when you achieve your actions to increase your motivation to succeed.
Top Tips to stay Feeling Good
Savour the moments when you are feeling good about what you do and just enjoying your work and ‘bank’ them rather than taking them for granted. You can access the moments you have banked when having a tough day, in order to reconnect with the good moments and positive feelings.
Take action if you realise that one of the areas is out of balance. Rather than wait for things to happen make a plan to change things if they are not contributing to your wellbeing.
Act as if you are feeling good and you soon will be. Smile and don’t let the negative thoughts bring you down. It may require extra effort to ‘act’ in a particular way but you will be surprised at how quickly your mood can change.
Care for yourself – there are always going to be tough days and on these days it’s important to look after yourself – book a massage, read a book, have an early night, slow down and relax. Enjoy simple pleasures.
Feeling good about what you do is worth striving for, and is achievable for everyone. As a very wise man once said’ Love what you do, and you’ll never work a day in your life.’
Join my FREE email challenge to become more confident at work in 5 days
If your inner critic is keeping your stuck, or you feel like an imposter at work, take part in my challenge to boost your confidence and achieve what you know you are capable of in your career!
First published in the Summer2014 Edition of Women in Trade Uk magazine