The Secret Advantage Is Loving Your Job
While serving as the Director of Mental Training for the St. Louis Cardinals, Dr. Jason Selk helped the team win their first World Series in over 20 years, and in 2011 he assisted the Cardinals in the historic feat of winning their second World Championship in a six year period. Considered to be one of the nation’s premier performance coaches, Dr. Selk helps numerous well-known professional and Olympic athletes as well as Fortune 500 and Fortune 100 executives and organizations develop the mental toughness necessary for high-level success. In this article for Forbes, Dr. Selk explains how to “train your brain” to create personal job satisfaction:
Arguably, one of the biggest advantages you can have over your competition is actually enjoying what you do. Loving your job is not just an added bonus to success, but actually an important precursor. If you enjoy what you do, working at it is easier, and your motivation to improve is somewhat innate, rather than forced.
In a perfect world, each of us would have entered into a field that we have always been drawn to, and we would live happily ever after doing exactly what we have always envisioned. The reality, however, is that most if not all of us will find ourselves doing things that we didn’t exactly envision for ourselves.
Even if you’ve landed your dream job, there will always be aspects of it that are less than enjoyable. Success is driven by effort and process, and this process will come much easier if you enjoy it. The bumps in the road will seem less daunting, and the high points will be more appreciated.
The highly successful are outworking their competition. This added effort and productivity is essential. You will not reach levels of greatness if you do not work at it. Period. This work is not easy, but those who enjoy their jobs will be more motivated to put in the work.
Training Our Mind to Enjoy the Work
As a performance coach, I offer many tools geared toward increasing productivity and efficiency, but let’s tackle the other side of the coin. You can train your mind to have job satisfaction and enjoy what you do. Once you achieve this, you will be: (1) happier, (2) more productive, and (3) more successful.
Our thoughts, actions, and emotions all heavily influence one another. If someone thinks to himself in the car on the way to work, “I’m so lucky I get to come into work every day and do what I love,” he will likely be in a better mood to start the day, and his productivity will he higher. On the other hand, if someone thinks to himself, “Ugh, I’m dreading getting to work, and I can’t wait to be done with this day,” he will likely start the day in a bad and frustrated mood, and it will be a constant struggle to be productive.
Our thoughts influence our emotions, and our emotions shape our workplace behaviors–how we act at work and how we respond to job-related challenges.
We can’t control other people and our environment. But we can control our thoughts. We can CHOOSE our thoughts. This can work powerfully for us or against us. The mentally tough use their thoughts to their advantage.
Creating an Identity Statement
To be mentally tough, we need to develop and occupy a self-image that’s in harmony with our big goals. An identity statement helps to shape a strong self-image, which in turn produces the behaviors needed for goal achievement.
Written in the present tense, your identity statement begins with “I am” and includes positive adjectives that describe the characteristics of the person you need to be to achieve your goal(s).
To create your identity statement, first think about how successful you want to become in three priority areas. Next, identify one or two personal characteristics you need in order to achieve what you desire. Finally, put them together in an “I” statement. So, I am [characteristic]. I am [descriptors of success in each priority].
Here is an example. Let’s say your three priority areas are attitude/mood, finances, and work-life balance. Your identify statement might be: I am full of positive energy, I am making $200,000 a year, and I am available and inspiring to my kids.
Saying this upbeat identity statement every day will influence your self-image and motivate the behaviors you need to live up to your expectations. It will also help you enjoy the work you’re doing. Why? Because when we know that the tedious or difficult tasks we’re doing each day are moving us closer to the person we believe we are and can be, they become stepping stones we gladly traverse rather than obstacles we try to avoid.