When you arrived at work this morning, were you excited?
Did you wake up motivated and couldn’t sleep because you were so pumped to start your day? Do you love what you do? What about the people you work with – do they make your day better?
For those of you lucky enough to say YES to most of those questions, you understand what it feels like to work somewhere that matters with people that matter to you. For you, work is not merely a job, but rather a passion with purpose. You know what it feels like to be challenged, and to do fulfilling work. There is no 9-to-5 in your life. It’s doing whatever it takes to do great work, and helping your team succeed.
If you truly dislike your job, can you still do great work? I would say NO. Let me explain.
Recently, I had a heart-to-heart chat with a good friend about the company he works for. He really just wanted to vent about his situation. Being in a government town, unfortunately, these complaints are all too common. We went to school together, and I truly respect his intelligence, compassion for people and one day, when the time is right, I’ll look to hire him. I know what he is capable of. He has potential. Most people do. But for now, he’s a lion stuck in a cage and his boss is the circus trainer with a whip.
The point I’m getting at is – if you’re unhappy about your situation at work, it will negatively impact your ability to perform at your highest level. I would even go further and say that you can never really achieve your true potential when that misalignment exits. Even the most talented individuals will struggle in situations where they experience misalignment at work.
Misaligned companies, like cars out of alignment, can develop serious problems if not corrected quickly. They are hard to steer and don’t respond well to changes in direction. Organizations that succeed are aligned with their people and headed in the same direction at the same time. Alignment lets you not only focus on what matters to you, but also, what matters to your organization. That relentless focus is the seed that germinates great work.
What did Michael Jordan, Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Einstein (among many others) have in common? They had relentless focus. They believed in what they were doing and worked tremendously hard to perform better. Every. Single. Day.
If you’re misaligned with your organization, maybe consider looking for better opportunities elsewhere. It’s never an easy decision, but life is way too short to not be doing the best possible work you can do. I would like to leave you with one of my favorite quotes from Kahlil Gibran, “Work is love made visible. And if you cannot work with love but only with distaste, it is better that you should leave your work and sit at the gate of the temple and take alms of those who work with joy.” So, remember, don’t be a lion trapped in a cage. Some people, unfortunately, live their whole lives in cages with bars built from the choices others made.