Do you know what gives you joy?
When was the last time you felt joyful?
As busy leaders, we’re constantly juggling priorities and curating never-ending lists of things to do. What if that to-do list was filled with things that actually gave you joy?
It might sound impossible, but focusing your time on what gives you joy could have benefits that go beyond simply feeling happier.
Consider your answers to the following questions to help you figure out which tasks are truly worth your time:
What activities do you always look forward to doing?
Think about the tasks you’ve completed in the last few months. Which ones did you actually look forward to doing?
Perhaps you love the thrill of delivering a great presentation. Or the cut-and-thrust of a successful stakeholder negotiation. Maybe it’s when you get to focus on recognising and rewarding your people that you feel happy and energised.
Whatever they were, make a quick list of them.
Is there a common thread in those activities?
Now, look at your list of activities, is there a common thread across them all?
Do you feel most joyful when you’re able to display empathy, or is it the thrill of owning the room in a meeting?
Which of your strengths do the tasks you enjoy utilise?
Usually, the activities we find enjoyable are the ones that make good use of our strengths – or highlight strengths we didn’t even know we had. Most of us have multiple strengths, so it may be that some seemingly opposite tasks both give us joy.
Do you find equal joy in tasks that use any of your strengths, a particular combination, or is it just one strength that you enjoy putting to great use?
The other element that determines how much you enjoy a task is your personal values, so make a note of which tasks appeal to your values.
What do you see yourself doing in ten years’ time?
What’s your ideal future?
Depending on what you want and where you are in your career, you may want to be doing the same job but feeling happier and more fulfilled, or you might want to be heading up a FTSE 500 company (assuming you’re not already!).
Whatever vision of the future makes you feel joyful, write it down.
Looking at your ideal future, what do you need to do to achieve it? Are there qualifications you need to obtain, more experience, or additional skills?
Can you leverage what you love doing right now to get you where you want to be in the future?
When my clients have a long-term goal in mind, this is one crucial question that is often overlooked. Almost everyone has some idea of how to get where they want to be. Sometimes they believe it has to involve long hours, sacrifices, or compromising.
While those things are an occasional necessity, it’s incredible how many people overlook the power that comes from leveraging what you love doing.
What if you could achieve what you wanted while doing what you love?
While it might sound unrealistic, consider these two questions:
- How do you feel when you’re working hard on tasks and projects that don’t excite you or bring you joy? Over time, how does taking on more of these tasks and projects affect your motivation and even your mental health?
- In contrast, how do you feel when your time is taken up with mostly tasks and projects that bring you joy? Over time, how does taking on more of these tasks affect your motivation and mental health?
It’s unrealistic to expect your career and your personal life to be sunshine and roses all of the time, but by actively choosing to focus most of your time on what gives you joy and not what drains you, you’ll have the necessary resilience to weather the harder times.
Plus, by consistently playing to your unique strengths, you’re developing your personal brand – which can help you build your career.
Read what my online community says about what brings them joy over on the Ad Florem Facebook Page.
Learn how to better understand what will bring you joy
What gives us joy is usually closely linked to our personal values and our strengths. But what if you don’t know what those are? It can be hard to identify that common thread of what gives you joy.
My new online programme Find the Real You is now open for bookings and starts 28th October 2019.
In the programme, I’ll be helping you discover your strengths and your values. With a limited number of spaces available, they will be offered on a first come first served basis.
Andrea helps you focus on leading yourself first, so you can be a great leader. Start getting your regular dose of leadership tips and inspiration with the ‘Leadership Breather’ – encouraging you to give yourself a breather and take 5 minutes for you.