Seeking balance in your daily experience is natural for anyone who wants to lead a happy life. Your decisions create the environment you’re a part of. When work is a large focus of your life, making your relationship with it as healthy as possible contributes directly to the balance you can achieve. 

When I resigned from my finance career, I had to ask myself what exactly is work. The lines were totally blurred. Essentially, you may have a job you get paid for which is work and many other things are work too. Simply engaging in a mental or physical activity is work. 

I share this because as you go through this you may find that in some areas of your life you relate in a healthy way to work and in others in an unhealthy way. This is encouraging because it shows you that no matter how  it may be going (say at your job) you can draw upon skills you already use successfully in other areas of your life. 

So, with this in mind, contemplate what are a few areas of work for you  – whether it’s a job, a hobby, exercise, cooking. Pick one and do a check against the following criteria to get a sense of how well it’s going.

1. Clear on the Higher Purpose

When you’re engaged in your work, you know exactly why you’re doing it. It’s aligned with who you want to be in life and the impact you want to have on others. You know that you’re not connected with your why when there’s a lack of motivation, a subtle sense of dissatisfaction, and/ or an uneasiness in the overall experience. 

2. Set Personal Expectations with Your Work

You’ve set your own criteria for how you’ll know you’ve done a good job. This would be how you do the work and the choices that lead to it. This could include things like maintaining a positive mind, the amount of space it takes in your life, how you interact with others, the way you manage others. It’s very clear in your mind. 

3. Demonstrate a Caring Attitude Toward Yourself and Others

You’re on the right track when you’re doing the work and feel cared for personally and are naturally caring for others. This can be tricky. Many times, you can over-invest yourself into something for the benefit of others. This is actually not caring this is self-cherishing which is painful. Instead, switch your lens out. Act in a way you’d want others to model. 

4. Empower Others to Do Their Best

Step into the shoes of the people around you. Look back at yourself. What do they hear from you? If things are going well, they hear encouragement, respect, and confidence in their potential. They see you giving them ownership to solve their own problems rather than giving them answers or doing their work for them. In your heart, you feel enthusiasm. 

5. Turn Problems into Opportunities

You say “oh yes” over “oh no” when faced with challenges. You know this is an opportunity to improve something – whether it’s yourself, the process, the result, the relationships. It’s a kind head’s up to do differently. You’re able to step back and not take things as personally. And, your first response is to move forward to a solution. You see the gift in what you’ve been handed. 

Checking in regularly on how you relate to work is a healthy thing. It helps you stay in balance, shift as needed, and move forward in a positive way. And, when it’s going well, it’s a time to celebrate yourself and be grateful. 

Your Turn: Check one area of work against all 5 signs. If it’s going well, really notice and enjoy that. You can even see how it might apply well in other areas of your life. If it’s not going well, step back. Ask yourself what ways you can shift this experience to be more positive. 

I’d love to hear how it felt to have criteria to measure your experience against. Please share in the comments. 

If you see others struggling with how they relate to work, please kindly pass this note along to them.