At some point throughout your work life, you may find yourself dealing with a situation where you feel like the passion has waned or that you’re struggling to find meaning in your career.
I can tell you from my own experience that when it happened to me, it was devastating.
It led to a bout of anxiety and depression, and I knew that if I hoped to find my way out of the nightmare I was living through, it was going to require some serious soul searching on my part. The answer to my dilemma came when I realized that I needed to better align myself and my work by embracing authenticity. I had lost my purpose, and the work I was doing felt meaningless.
Cheyenne Bennett, a leadership and talent coach at Compass Point in Bethlehem, who teaches self-awareness, communication, and healthy conflict skills to business leaders, agrees, “I’ve done a lot of research on employee engagement, and it’s all about the alignment you have between your per-sonal “why” and your work. If you are doing work that you believe fulfills your life’s purpose and you can contribute to your job as your true and best self, then you are just overall happier.”
The more enlightened companies today are also discovering that by nourishing a culture where their employees feel appreciated for the value they bring to the organization; the results can be quite significant. Leaders who understand and practice empathy, vulnerability, creativity, and authenticity with those they lead understand these powerful attractants drive employee engagement, allowing innovation to flourish, which adds to the bottom line.
The days of businesses run by leaders who choose fear over hope, deceptiveness over authenticity, or cynicism over creativity are over. “Leaders need to model the behavior they want from their em-ployees. If they are vulnerable and honest in the fact that they make mistakes too, then the team can feel the same,” added Cheyenne.
We’ve all been fed a steady diet in movies and books featuring scenarios showing us how unin-formed bosses conduct themselves in the workplace. Under this new paradigm, authenticity is not just some new buzzword that you throw on to your company’s mission statement and hope it gets adopted. It’s an approach that’s been gaining serious momentum for years.
While Cheyenne believes influential leaders do set the tone for the atmosphere inside the business, there’s still work that can be done to help those who seek the tools needed to stay engaged. She adds, “I found that the concept of “meaningful work” is the biggest predictor of engagement—the degree to which you find your actual work significant, the degree to which your work creates meaning for you in your life, and the degree to which you feel your work makes a positive contri-bution in the world. What this means is that the more you feel a state of significance or positive meaning in your work, the more you will have an internal commitment to your work and display engagement behaviors.”
These changes will not manifest overnight. You have to commit to putting in the work because it’s an ongoing, ever-evolving process. Cheyenne believes that one of the biggest roadblocks to per-sonal growth is fear and adds this, “Fear is easily the biggest one. Fear of looking stupid. Fear of losing your job. Fear of others around you thinking you’re weird. But, if we can all agree that this is the way we want to do things, then we are better able to let go of these fears.”
We should all strive to find our passion in our profession and work for a company or business that’s willing to invest in our overall mental health and well-being. If you currently don’t find your-self working for a company that promotes this culture, that’s okay. You can still look for ways to live your truth and embrace authenticity.
Don’t get discouraged by letting the noise of other’s opinions drown out your inner voice. The se-cret to finding happiness at work is to have the courage to become the person you were meant to be. And the best part is, it’s never too late.