Every day we see so many people wasting away in jobs that they don’t enjoy, don’t get satisfaction from and do not value beyond the income they bring in. We watch as people fill their days endlessly seeking that satisfaction but miss the mark. They focus on what they want right now, using the money they earn is soul-sucking job to chase frivolities and amusements, and end their days still unsatisfied and unhappy. Perhaps this even describes us right now, constantly searching for what is missing; the reason why we still feel empty and unfulfilled.
Each of us are given individual interests, passions and abilities that run deeper than what we think we want right now. If you want to find satisfaction in your work and your life, what you choose to do and fill your life with should be a reflection of yourself and who you are. Your work should be filtered through or an expression of the person you are, something that runs through you.
You will be most satisfied if your daily work is borne of your heart.
There is space in this world for all of our individual characters. Your quirks, likes and dislikes, skills, passions and talents help build the diversity of our world that gives it richness and depth. Each of us should do our individual part in helping to ensure our vast and various collective needs are met. We’re not all potters or painters or chefs or writers, and you can imagine what would happen if we were. No one will do your work quite the way you do, either. There is space here for you.
People will tend to respond better to your work if they sense it comes from your heart and is deeply genuine. With as much fake, phony emptiness as we find out in the world, people are hungry for authenticity, truth and substance. We all get tired of lies and half-truths, and of people who want to take advantage of us by selling us a facade. Refuse to add to a culture built up around nothingness. Give us your honest, true self, and offer us something real. We need you.
Authenticity helps you to find and connect with ‘your’ people. This is true throughout all of your life, not just in adulthood when you’re trying to forge a pathway to your life goals. When you’re in school, being yourself may or may not make you very popular, but it will most be the most likely way to connect you to true friends. When you’re a young adult, being yourself may bring you to your soul mate. When you’re trying to build a business or become a highly skilled artist or find your calling in life, being authentic, being yourself, will lead you and connect you with people that resonate with and understand you. This is invaluable because your shared experience will enrich and help improve your own work and theirs.
If you want to be satisfied in your work, don’t do things that run counter to your own values. Sometimes we get caught up in things with good intentions. We might take a certain job because we need the money right now to help reach some personal goal, or simply to keep food on the table. Often though, we find that there are things about our work that run counter to our personal values. Whether small things that give us slight discomfort or more substantial issues that we feel deeply conflicted about, we’re all put in a position where we have to make exceptions to our standards at some point.
When you start feeling as though you’re compromising your values, even by degrees, this should give you cause to stop and reflect. You should never be thinking, ‘this just isn’t me’. That prick you feel in your spirit is something that you should pay attention to. Living counter to your values not only carries consequences for you personally, but can also create consequences for society at large.
I once tried a internet marketing course that taught me to add to the internet landfill by creating rubbish supporting sites, full of unresearched and poorly written information designed purely to fill pages. Now, I believe that words are powerful and I normally choose to speak with integrity. Setting up these ‘harmless’ websites full of information that wasn’t ever intended to be read by anyone made me very uncomfortable. While I made an effort not to be blatantly dishonest or misleading, publishing sloppy information still felt careless and shady to me. I left the course eventually, and since then, I have seen the cumulative effect of such disregard in publishing information. We can all see that these days, good, solid information can be difficult to find on the internet. This devaluing and waste of potential good is a direct result of the exact same type of careless and irresponsible use of the written word.
Obviously, I’m speaking from a highly idealistic point of view here. The truth is, life is seldom so straightforward that we have the freedom to simply state ‘I won’t do this because it doesn’t align with all of my values’, or we risk not having what we need to survive. I recognise this. It is still important to consider the impacts of living inside and outside of our value systems. When you are working towards your own life goals, insofar as you have the power to, endeavour to be aligned with your own standards.
Sometimes being authentic, being your true self, requires you to do things you don’t necessarily enjoy. This is because we work with a bigger picture in mind. If, for example, your family is a high priority for you, you will doubtless find that there are aspects of caring for your family that you dislike. I highly value nurturing my babies, but I’m not necessarily a fan of changing their diapers. You may value hard work and self discipline and as such it is a value you need to align to, even though you it may at times be unpleasant. So being aligned with your true values is not always about doing what you ‘want’. Authenticity runs beyond mere momentary desires and gratifications, and at times runs in direct opposition to them.
Similarly, we don’t always have the luxury of being able to work steadily towards all of our goals in life. We sometimes find ourselves in situations where we have to do what we can to make ends meet, and everything else fits into the cracks, if at all. I never want to downplay that, and in such a case you may be doing work you dislike but you are still working towards a very high and worthy goal indeed, and that is to take care of your loved ones.
Values based living is all about living in authenticity. You are defining your path in life by the things that really matter to you, not the distractions and lures of what society tells you to pursue. At times this is a difficult practice and it certainly requires self discipline. You may occasionally say no to things that would bring you momentary happiness, or yes to things that bring you brief displeasure. Remember, living according to your values is a life-guiding wisdom that will bring you lasting satisfaction.