Think of a person you know who seems to have a job that perfectly fits them. You wonder: How did they find that? How did they find that unique fit for them, their lifestyle, and their individual strengths?
I’m going to tell you their secret: They didn’t find it, they built it. Little by little, they took the best of their job and made it the most of their job. They took the role they started in and molded it, day by day, to fit their strengths. We know that 73% of the American workforce believe they have the opportunity to modify their job to fit their strengths better, but only 18% say that they play to their strengths every day. So, while the majority of us know that we can mold our current roles – most people still don’t.
Here’s the simplest way to start: Spend a week in love with your work. Start with a blank pad of paper, make two columns, one labeled ‘Loved It’ one labeled ‘Loathed It’. Anytime over the week when you do an activity and you feel a sign of love (you look forward to it, time flies by, you’re in flow, you’re energized) write it down. Anytime you feel an aversion to an activity in your day (you procrastinate, push it off, time drags on while you’re doing it) write it down under the “loathe” column. Stay alert, be present, and take emotional stock of the week.
Then, deliberately fill your week with the activities you love. Use it as scaffolding to elevate how you spend your time, until gradually you’re doing more and more of what you love. It doesn’t need to be exponentially more – in fact, researchers at the Mayo Clinic found that doctors who spend just 20% of their time doing what they love have a far lower risk of burnout. And while there is a linear increase in burnout risk as the percentage point drops below 20%, there isn’t a commensurate decrease in burnout above 20%. Which means: a little love goes a long way.
To build a job that is the best expression of the best of you, spend a week in love with your work and tilt your job to those loves. You can be in the 18% who finds love-in-work.