Ever feel as if you have no control over your life? This is when you may feel you are a victim of circumstance, either at work or at home. It’s an awful time because you can feel helpless and powerless.
It may seem impossible to get out of this condition, yet it’s imperative for your sanity and overall wellbeing that you do. Taking back control means you no longer give your power away because you are stronger in who you are no matter the situation.
When you are in charge of your career and life, you are actively making things happen. You are not waiting for opportunity to knock, but instead doing the knocking yourself and fully engaging when those doors open.
It means springing back up when you get knocked down. It means using negative feedback to fuel your improvement. It means embracing the gift of resilience and understanding that your ability to continually get back up is an indicator of just how strong you are.
To have more control requires taking responsibility for your condition and doing the behavioral things necessary to maintain control. It means developing habits that help you bring your best self to your workplace and your life.
In a new book titled Are You Fully Charged?, author Tom Rath draws on recent research in health, psychology and economics pointing to specific changes you can make to take more command of your life.
Rath suggests you stop pursuing happiness and instead create meaning in your career, seek out more positive interactions in your relationships, and make deliberate, positive choices to improve your physical and mental health. By focusing on these three areas, he says you will be fully charged and at your best for work and life.
Three key conditions are necessary to be fully charged:
Meaning – Do something to benefit others. Ultimately, satisfaction in your career is not about money or status, but about the meaning it brings to your life. Being fully charged requires finding the nexus of your strengths, your interests, and what is needed in the world. Don’t let money or job title trump meaning.
Interactions – Create far more positive than negative moments with others. Research shows we need three to five positive interactions to outweigh every negative exchange. Invest in the wellbeing of the people around you and this will pay greater dividends than anything you do for yourself alone.
Energy – Make choices to improve your mental and physical health. Recognize that every time you put something in your mouth, you either add to or deplete your energy tank. Eat more fruits and vegetables, and fewer refined carbohydrates. Incorporate more movement by seeking the equivalent of 10,000 steps each day. And get more sleep each night.
The biggest changes for daily wellbeing begin with small steps. Don’t try to alter all your habits at once, but instead seek out little things you can do each day that will pay off in the long run. Here are some suggestions:
- Ensure that your life is meaningful by asking the hard questions with regard to how you spend your day. Is this the life that uses your talents in a meaningful way?
- Stop the upward comparison. After a certain level of income ($70,000 or so), once you reach basic financial security, making more money is unlikely to produce greater levels of happiness.
- Ask yourself how you can best combine your expertise and passion with something the world needs. Then figure out how to bring that to your life.
- Seek out opportunities to interact with co-workers by choosing to talk to them face-to-face rather than sending yet another email. Rather than updating your Facebook page, call your friend and have a real-time conversation. Better yet, set a date to see them in person.
- Give others the gift of your attention. Listen fully and allow the speaker to finish before responding. Keep your cellphone out of sight so you are truly present with the other person.
- If you must make an assumption, assume that others have the best intent. Look to find the good in others before anything else.
- Rather than eat a sugary breakfast that may bring about a quick rush and subsequent crash, begin each day with a nutritious meal that provides continual energy throughout the day.
- Find ways to incorporate regular exercise into every day with the goal of 10,000 steps or an equivalent amount of exercise. At first you may find this makes you more tired, but after a few weeks, you’ll be more energized than ever before.
- Get yourself to bed each night early enough to get 7 to 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep. K. Anders Ericsson’s landmark studies regarding elite performers, found that they not only had 10,000 hours of deliberate practice, but also, on average, slept 8-and-a-half hours each night.
Finally, recruiting a partner in this effort will help not only provide you with support as you navigate these new behaviors, but will likely ensure that you stick to it and are successful over the long run.
Energizing your career and life in these ways will lead to greater satisfaction and wellbeing. Invest in yourself so you can be your best at work and home.