I ran across an article recently on “Rules for Inspiring Passion in the Workplace.” Ironically rules have brought us to the point we are now! 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM work days, a Monday-Friday mentality, and a work ethic that excludes leisure. The only rules that inspire passion are those that people break! Leisureology is innovative; it requires us to break down barriers and shift the way we think about the workplace. Its ok for work to be a sweatshop – but only if it’s a sweatshop by choice. We put in the long hours because we are passionate about what we’re doing.
A sticking point is that we sometimes don’t know what we’re enthusiastic about – or, we do know, but we think it and work are mutually exclusive. To combat this, it is important to stop and assess your own strengths and goals. A helpful tool is the “Values in Action Inventory of Strength,” developed by Dr.’s Christopher Peterson and Martin Seligman. This resource measures your top 24 character strengths. You’re thinking, “This guy is talking about leisure and now wants me to take a test!” Well, yes. But it only takes about 20 minutes of easy clicking (multiple choice), and you’ll get a surprisingly accurate list of your top 24 strengths. Gaining a keen awareness of your character strengths will help you understand how you can better enjoy each and every workday.
Employees Lacking Motivation?Paul Marchildon, an experienced Leisureologist, can work with you and your team to increase productivity by incorporating leisure into the workplace.
When you do have that list, concentrate on the top five. The focus is not going to be on the lowest strengths. Number 24 for me was humility; it is my lowest strength. I was shocked. No one else was. So, after taking my inventory, it’s not about working on my humility and trying to get it to a mid-level strength. It’s about focusing and leveraging those five that are strongest so I can consciously apply them in my work.
When you know your strengths and have a feel for what excites and ignites your passion, then you can begin incorporating that into your work. If, for instance, your top character strength is curiosity, you will benefit from incorporating more research and experimentation into your role. For example, if you are responsible for client service, spend a day in your client’s shoes. Offer to “carry the bag” for a day. That one day of research and experimentation will leverage your curiosity, and amazing results will ensue. By aligning your daily job functions with your top character strengths you begin to crowd out the unpleasant or less favored aspects of your job. Often times a small change in your daily routine can result in drastic changes to your overall satisfaction at work.
So if you haven’t already, it’s time to find out your ranking for each of the 24 character strengths and how you can leverage them to enhance the enjoyment you get out of each and every day. By understanding where your strengths and weaknesses lie, you can focus on making the best of who you are. Think of each of your assets as a muscle – my leadership and bravery traits are like my bulging biceps, while my prudence and humility have about as much strength as my pinky toe. An awareness and understanding of your different personality “muscles” is key to making small changes in the workplace that will impact your overall job satisfaction and make room for passion.