The third element in a healthy relationship with work is Fulfillment.
Years ago, when I was still working in the staffing industry before I transitioned into coaching, I began to lead “Healing Your Relationship with Work” seminars covering the same principles I’m sharing with you today. When I started down this path, I was terrified and excited all at the same time. At the end of the first seminar, I had the most wonderful feeling. I felt whole; I felt complete, and truth be told, I had a warm and fuzzy feeling inside. It took me a while to recognize the feeling for what it was. It was Fulfillment. It took time to put a name to this feeling because I had hardly ever experienced Fulfillment in my professional career.
How good was that little taste of Fulfillment! To feel whole, to feel complete, to feel as if I had expressed the truth of myself. Add to that, my expression was heard and seen. This was a singular moment for me. That’s when I realized I needed to make my expression my life’s work. I realized that I deserved to feel fulfilled every day in my work. I decided that I would craft my life in such a way that I could give myself the gift of Fulfillment.
My experience of fulfillment is a feeling of wholeness. I felt whole and complete after that seminar. Today, when I give seminars, I still feel that same warm and fuzzy feeling of Fulfillment. When I coach clients, I feel fulfilled. And as I’m writing this, I am experiencing Fulfillment as well.
That is what Fulfillment looks like to me. Fulfillment looks and feels different to each of us. To incorporate fulfillment into our relationship with work, we need to do two things: 1) You must identify that which fulfills you and 2) you must find opportunities to integrate Fulfillment into your work.
Usually, you can find what fulfills you in the expression of your gifts and talents. I’ve done a lot of different jobs in my life. And while I would find bits and pieces of fulfillment within those jobs, they never made me feel whole. But when I sat in front of a group of people and gave voice to my thoughts, beliefs, and insights about broken relationships with work, I felt whole. Take a look at your gifts and talents and envision yourself sharing those talents. How does that make you feel? The answer to that question is your Fulfillment. For example, let’s say your gifts and talents lay in working with your hands such as a talent for sewing. Think about how you feel when you sew. What feelings come up? Is it a feeling of warmth? Is it a feeling of completeness? Does it just simply feel darn good? Understanding the feelings you get from expressing your gifts and talents will help you identify what will fulfill you.
Once you’ve identified what will fulfill you in your work, you can begin to look for ways to incorporate Fulfillment into your work. Remember. This is a journey. It’s not something that happens overnight. But you certainly can begin to start looking for ways to make changes. When you look at your current employment, you might realize that what you require to feel more fulfilled are a few simple tweaks and changes. However, you might be more like me and realize you need a complete career change. Regardless of the path you end up on, you owe it to yourself to know how you can have greater Fulfillment in your work.
You owe yourself the opportunity to be fulfilled by and through your work. You deserve that. When we are fulfilled by our work, those feelings of not wanting to get up in the morning, not wanting to go to work, disappear. We become engaged and enthralled and enthused by our work. Simply because it feels so good to be doing it. That is Fulfillment.
- Am I experiencing the level of Fulfillment that I need/want?
- What does Fulfillment look like/feel like for me? How do I know when I am experiencing it?
- Is it possible to create more Fulfillment in my current work situation?
o YES o NO
- If you answered yes, list five ways you can create more Fulfillment in your current work situation.
- If you answered no, list five new avenues to explore that will provide you with the experience of being fulfilled.
An element of a healthy relationship with work is to be adequately rewarded in a manner that works for you.
You deserve to be rewarded. Everyone does. And you deserve to be rewarded in a manner that works for you. So often we simply accept the type of reward that is given to us. We rarely spend time asking ourselves important questions about the reward. What do I need to feel rewarded? What type of reward makes me feel valued? What type of reward allows me to feel compensated for what I have given?
Reward is critical to a healthy relationship with work because it is the aspect of the relationship that tells us that the giving of our gifts and talents, our expression, has been seen, heard and received. Yes, there is joy and fulfillment in doing the work, but the second part of that equation is to receive a reward for it.
When we are correctly rewarded, meaning the reward matches our need, we feel seen, we feel heard, and we feel valued. Do not underestimate the power that bisseen, heard, and valued brings to bear upon your relationship with work, as well as to your overall sense of well-being.
Again, as we have done with the other elements of a healthy relationship with work, we need to do the work to identify the type of reward we need. We need to understand what will make us feel seen, heard and valued. We need to understand if that reward is money, or recognition, or acclaim, etc.? What is important to you? This is what you need to answer.
Next, you will need to identify ways to incorporate this reward into your work. This is a little different than our other elements. To incorporate the appropriate reward into your work often requires you to have what can be difficult conversations with employers and/or clients. But these conversations become much easier when you are confident in the fact that you deserve to have what you desire. The conversation becomes not so much a conversation about “asking for” something. Rather the conversation becomes one of stating facts. The question for your manager becomes “Can you meet this need?” You can see here how truly understanding what you need in a reward transforms difficult conversations into manageable ones.
Lastly, I want to address a pervasive falsehood swirling around the topic of reward. The falsehood maintains that reward is beneath us. That the act of giving should be its own reward, and we somehow need to rise above the childish and/or selfish need for reward. Poppycock! I completely disagree. Look, doing work we love is often a reward on its own. But let’s be real, we also have the need to receive. Why? We need to feel seen. We need to feel heard. This is a hard, cold fact that is so often denied and denigrated. I have seen clients make themselves miserable by attempting to negate their own need for reward.
This falsehood contributes to why we end up feeling so miserable at work and in our relationship with work. This falsehood does not give credence to your value. It does not hold your work, your creativity, any part of your gifts and talents as worthy of reward. It is part and parcel of the Time4Money Exchange that only rewards productivity in the way it deems appropriate. But hey, if the workplace can get you to believe that you shouldn’t want rewards that meet your needs, isn’t that nifty for them?
There is no shame in wanting to be rewarded for your work. It is part of the universal exchange; it is that “give and receive” of life. You give, and you receive. In fact, the more truthful we become about the type of rewards we need and desire, the easier it becomes to manifest this in our lives.
- Am I being rewarded in a matter that meets my needs?
- Am I negating and/or diminishing my desire for reward?
- List the type of reward(s) that would make me feel seen, heard and valued.
Work Serves You
The last element of a healthy relationship with work is something that truly rewrites the current paradigm of our relationship with work.
Throughout this entire book, we have been leading up to this point. This point where we accept the fact that work exists to serve us. We’ve discussed the True Nature of Work – that work should bring us joy, Fulfillment, be our avenue for Expression and our means of Reward. If all of this is happening, then work is serving us.
How do we know if work is serving us? Work serves us when we are deriving from it what we need. Essentially, work is intended to meet our needs and desires. When we looked at the components of a damaged relationship, we saw that our relationship with work has been practiced backward. We tend to serve the needs of the workplace, however, we have every right to have our need for creativity, inspiration, and gratification met through work.
- Work serves us when we have the lifestyle we desire.
- Work serves us when we are in alignment with it.
- Work serves us when it meets our needs.
- Work serves us when we use it as the pathway to share our gifts and talents.
I find most of my clients are challenged by this element. It requires a change in thinking about the existence and the purpose of work. For so long, decades and decades, work has been seen as a necessary evil, a means to obtaining the almighty dollar. Something we to do to get by. So I challenge you as you go through the rest of this book to think differently about work. Think about it from the perspective of what it can do for you. Think about it from the perspective of how you can use it to attain the lifestyle you desire. Think about it from the perspective that when it comes to work, you and you alone have the real power. It rests with you. As a result, you can make work be anything you want it to be. And when you believe this, and when you can act upon it; when you do that, work will work for you.
- Can I accept the concept that work should serve me?
- If not, why am I resisting this concept?