The world of work is meant to make you as productive and engaged as possible. However, a whopping eight out of 10 people are simply coming to work for the paycheck. If you are a part of this majority, then you probably think of work as a transaction — you sell your time and your talent to your employer, and they pay you so you can buy things.
It's no wonder that anxiety is at an all-time high when we believe that work must entail suffering. One of the most ubiquitous constants in our lives, and especially our jobs, is something that is meant to be endured, not enjoyed.
But there's the good news: Two out of 10 of us are actually invigorated by our work. These are the people who feel resilient, creative, focused, collaborative, generous and open in their caeers. And although the majority view work as a means to an end, for this lucky minority work helps them become more of who they are. It helps them flourish.
So, how do you become one of these two out of 10 people?
Your strengths aren't necessarily just what you're good at. They are the things that strengthen you. What tasks make you feel energized while you're doing them? What activities make time pass quickly? Everyone is wired uniquely, but so many of us take our strengths for granted because we assume that the world shares them. Figure out what you lean into naturally, because it won't be the same for everyone.
Everyone tells you to take your strengths for granted and work on fixing your weaknesses; but they're wrong. And yes, if you focus on your weaknesses you will probably see growth – but it will be incremental. If you focus on your strengths, however, and you will grow exponentially.
We know from the research on engagement at work that people develop best in response to another human being, and that human being at work is often your boss. You may join a company for its perks and its mission, but how engaged and productive you are while you're there depends massively on who is running your team. When you're looking for a job, make sure you're also looking for a boss who will take an interest in you and be curious about what you can contribute to the organization.
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