We need to get beyond the "Do what makes you happy" mantra and find that which brings us joy. Not or get too deeply lost in semantics, but happiness comes and goes; joy tends to be deeper.
When was the last time you were absolutely joyful about the work you do?
Anything can make us happy every once in a while about work. Like pretzels:
What we really need is something beyond a once-in-a-while happiness moment at work. We need something that brings us continual joy about the work we do, who we do it with, or why we do it. Here are three ways to find that which brings you joy when it comes to what you do for a living:
1. Find your why
By now, I'm sure you've heard about Simon Sinek's very popular "Start With Why" talk. What he challenges companies to find, I challenge individuals to discover. Finding your why - why you do what you do - is crucial to finding work you love. Why do you wake up each morning? Why do you care about going to work somewhere? What is it that defines you, that you're passionate about, and that you love to share with others? Discovering this why - whether it's helping people help themselves, inspiring people to see things differently, or sharing a big idea with the world - can help you find work you're joyful about.
The beauty of a why is that it's cross-industry. A why can happen equally as well at a restaurant as it can at a school. Once you've found your why, you can then open up a job search that gets you excited and motivated because you have a chance to live your purpose on a daily basis.
2. Find your sweet spot
When it comes to skills and talents, each of us if equipped differently. But, we can be joyful about work if we're successful. Who doesn't like to succeed by meeting or exceeding goals, being recognized by our peers, or being rewarded for something we've done well? Success and the proper recognition of it can keep us joyful and on task.
So, spend time defining what you're great at. Maybe you can sell like no one else or you can crunch numbers like nobody's business or you are the best at designing T-shirts. Whatever your talent or skill is, find places to use that on a regular basis. The personal and external validation you receive can keep you joyful.
3. Find your people
Never overlook the power of community. I've known people who may not love the day-to-day work they do, but they're extremely joyful about work because of who they get to see on a daily basis. This kind of belonging and camaraderie can make us more productive, too. Liking the people we work around all day can be a huge boon to our happiness.
But do you know what doesn't make us increasingly joyful? Our salary. Once you hit a certain income level, increases don't have a major impact on your joy.
So, if you've found work that brings you joy, don't think the grass is going to be greener just because you'll earn 3% more. Especially if you've found your why, your sweet spot, and your people, celebrate where you are.
What about you?
How do you find joy at work? Or, if you've already found it, how did you go about it? And where do you work that brings you such joy?