This statement is as true today as it was Turkel wrote it in 1972 and like your parents and grandparents, you are searching for daily meaning, recognition and having a life.” Finding success in that search is about building your well-being on the job. We define well-being as “a state in which you can cope effectively with the events of your work and personal life; do work you find fulfilling and meaningful; have a sense of belonging and respect; and attend to your physical health. It is a choice and a dynamic process that requires your attention and action to support it in a balanced way.” Your well-being at work model is based on this definition and has six key elements.
Mindfulness (or awareness)
Mindfulness is the foundation of well-being. You must look at yourself, your attitudes and emotions objectively, because they define your actions. You cannot enhance your well-being without being aware of your surroundings, and how your actions and attitudes affect those around you.
realization (self-fulfillment or self-actualization)
realization is about reaching your full potential – being all that you can be, as a person and an employee. At work, self-fulfillment is driven by your values; a sense of meaning or purpose in your work; continuous learning; a sense of empowerment; and accountability.
Belonging and Connectedness
A feeling of belonging is an essential human need, and it does not happen by accident. Just because you work with someone, it does not automatically follow that you have a connection with that person. Belonging and connections must be nurtured so that there is shared understanding, purpose and respect.
Esteem and Recognition
It takes time and practice to develop esteem and recognition, and they can be ruined quickly. Esteem (both self- and the esteem of others) and recognition are based on your values, the way you live them; the choices you make; and your interactions with others.
Health and Physical Well-being
Being healthy or in a state of physical well-being is not just about the absence of illness or injury. It is about having the energy, stamina and resilience, both physically and emotionally, to do what you need to do at work and at home; and to pursue family, community and personal interests.
Courage is about heart, and it is essential to well-being. You show courage every day – it’s called daily living. It takes courage to get up and go to work; to stand by your values; and to find meaning in your work, even when it is boring. Courage is not about the absence of uncertainty. It is about the choices you make and the actions you take to support your well-being in an environment that seems to promote uncertainty and change.
Think of intentional well-being as your personal space, mindfulness is the foundation and courage is the roof. The walls are self-realization, belonging, esteem and health. You get to create that space to be whatever you want it to be. You can work on one wall or even a part of one wall. You can work on two walls or all the walls at once because they are connected and support your personal space. Remember, you will be working in the context of mindfulness and courage.
Guiding Principles of Well-being
Keep the following principles in mind as you learn about well-being; explore your options; and take steps to enhance and sustain your well-being at work.
You are responsible for your well-being. Your manager and co-workers can be helpful and supportive; however, you have overall responsibility for your well-being. No one, no matter how caring and close they are to you, can fix your well-being for you.
Well-being is a choice. You get to decide whether you will be a victim of your work or the creator of your well-being. You may not have the power to influence the decisions your employer makes; even so, you have the power to choose how you will respond to those decisions.
Well-being is not about ego. It is not about “me first.” It is about being authentic, contributing and caring. It is about finding balance in your life and meaning in your work.
Well-being is a dynamic, continuous process. You make it happen. Your well-being can flourish even in a harsh environment, if you nurture it.
Ponder This… Re-read Studs Turkel’s quote above. When was the last time you were astonished at work? What happened and what can you do to generate a sense of astonishment in your work today or this week?
Reference: Turkel, Studs, Working: People Talk About What They Do All Day and How They Feel About What They Do, New York, NY: New York times Company, 1972.