I’ve talked extensively in this blog about how to move forward at work, how to make a good impression, how to dress for success, and how to avoid shooting yourself in the foot.
But, I’m not sure we’ve yet talked about how to find happiness at work. I'm not talking about finding your soul mate -- although that does happen. I'm referring to a sense of gratitude about your job and actually feeling valued in the workplace -- being happy.
What do you think about this topic? Is it anything you are interested in, or do you believe it’s even possible? Do you think you could never be happy in your current job? Would you have to go off and live your deepest dream to be truly happy and fulfilled?
Personally, I’d say the biggest obstacle to work satisfaction is not uncaring bosses and corporations, not long hours or low pay, and not repetitive or dull work.
It’s your attitude, plain and simple.
According to Srikumar S. Rao, author of Happiness at Work: Be Resilient, Motivated, and Successful -- No Matter What, the biggest obstacle to happiness is peoples' belief that they are the prisoner of circumstance, powerless before the things that happen to them. This is also what’s known as a victim mentality.
One of Rao’s tips for happiness is practicing what he calls, “extreme resilience.” I like both the phrase, and the concept.
See if it resonates with you ... Rao defines it as the ability to recover quickly from adversity. "You spend much time in needless, fruitless self-recrimination and blaming others," he writes.
Whether self-directed or flung outward onto others, this creates a no-win attitude that will quickly sour your relationship with your job, your manager or co-workers, and even with yourself.
Rao also recommends not labeling events and experiences as either “good” or “bad.”
Here’s another tip from Rao that I completely agree with and personally tell those I coach: Find passion in yourself first.
If you are dependent on something outside of yourself to give you a passion for life, what will happen when that outer something changes in ways you don’t prefer, or disappears entirely?
Instead of identifying with your job title, take a deeper look at who you are and what it is about your work that makes you happy. For instance, don’t think of yourself as a Human Resources Manager. Identify yourself as someone who helps other employees provide for their families, take advantage of their benefits and save for the future.
To read more of Rao’s happiness tips, check out this article on Forbes.com, "10 Steps to Happiness at Work."