You at Work: Thriving or Just Surviving?

Have you ever overheard yourself say things like:

“I’m too shy and withdrawn. If I were more extroverted, I’m sure I’d get promoted faster.”

or

“I’m candid and outgoing. That often gets me in trouble around here.”

or

“I love coming up with exciting new ideas for our team, but I rarely implement any of them. I’d be a better leader if I had more follow through.”

A job should never require that you to apologize for who you are.

All too often we don’t recognize that our unique talents and abilities may be better suited in a different career, so we accept work that isn’t a great fit for us. We tell ourselves that we’re adaptable and smart; if we work hard enough things will work out. We may feel that it’s necessary to “put up” with our job or work environment even if we don’t like it.

Unfortunately, when our work runs counter to our personality, our natural talents, or what we find most meaningful (a condition I call Career Chafe) – success is always a struggle. What’s worse, when our achievements fall short of our goals we are quick to assume that we are the problem.

But are we?

Consider this. If you plant a seed in the right environment – with the right amount of water, sunlight & nutrients – it will naturally thrive. In fact, it will grow and bloom almost effortlessly.

BUT, if you plant a seed and then deny it the right amount of water, light or nutrients, it will struggle to grow. It will struggle to survive.

Further, when we see that plant struggling, do we get upset and criticize the plant for not doing well? Of course not! We recognize that the conditions aren’t appropriate and we make adjustments – zeroing in on the right amount of sunlight, water, or nutrients until the plant is happily growing and thriving.

Unfortunately, at work, we often lay the blame on ourselves, and fail to notice that with some career adjustments, we too could be thriving.

When we stop apologizing for the way that we naturally are and, instead, make career decisions that actually leverage those qualities, we can evolve from simply “surviving” our workday to a career where we “thrive.”

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