Remote work is here to stay.
According to the BBC, more than half of US workers want a mix of home and office work, and in the UK, employers expect the proportion of home workers to double permanently in the post-pandemic environment. The growing pattern of remote work is similar in China—some experts predict a 60/40 split between onsite and remote work within ten years. Around the world, the global COVID-19 pandemic continues to blur the boundaries between life and career.
Google’s Chief Innovation Evangelist, Dr. Frederik G. Pferdt, recently stated, “The pandemic has been a catalyst for transformation, giving people worldwide a chance to unleash their creativity and experiment with new ways to live, learn, work, and play.” Yet, inequities in work-from-home arrangements persist, contributing to an additional rationale for aligning your purpose and career.
Decades of positive psychology research establishes the relationship between success, happiness, and authenticity. People who successfully direct their career and purpose — and live an authentic life — engage in five practices throughout their careers that fuel their success.
Self-aware people know who they are and how they relate to others. When a person is self-aware, their actions, emotions, and thoughts are aligned. Self-aware people are easy to identify. They listen more than they talk and ask for feedback. They are curious, humble, and treat themselves well. We recognize them as people who walk their talk.
At times, we become so caught up in family and work that we neglect introspection and reflection time. When attitudes, behaviors, and cognitions are aligned, confidence to express ideas increases. Self-aware leaders understand their motivations and are open to learning.
Let Purpose Thrive
Prosperous people engage in meaningful development by exploring the question of purpose. Purpose directs all of life’s significant activities. All are born with gifts that can be developed into talents applied in a range of human enterprises, including designing, coaching, teaching, and mentoring. Purpose provides a compass in life, what some refer to as “true north.” Purpose provides meaning and drives action.
Among authentic leaders, purpose emerges from activities that contribute to happiness. We achieve our purpose when the things we love become the things we do. A meaningful purpose connects you to others that demonstrate your unique strengths.
Be Open and Approachable
People who are approachable have successful careers, likely a result of being likable and open to others. When we say hello and welcome others, we create what all of us want from others and in life: open communication, trust, progress, community, and fun! Authentic leaders value diversity and work to create inclusion, belonging, and equity. They make others feel comfortable and are intentionally open with their body posture, eye contact, and smile. Self-aware leaders don’t find new ideas or people intimidating or scary. Instead, they demonstrate openness. When you meet someone who expresses genuine interest, you’re likely encountering a person generating success.
Directing and growing the significance of a career requires the development of meaningful connections. Connecting with others ties us to a higher purpose, and in turn, increases self-esteem. When we connect with others, we recognize the inherent worth of the individual and honor their dignity. That brings us closer to creating relationships based on trust, where all feel safe to express opinions and contribute to progress and goal attainment. Healthy habits help to build resilience that can nurture close relationships with others. People cannot be authentic on their own because authenticity is defined by how others see us. Authentic leaders develop relationships that invite and include others to contribute meaningfully.
A key to developing an authentic life and career is acknowledging our strengths and shortcomings and working on self-acceptance. When we possess a positive outlook and surround ourselves with other positive people, we increase our capacity to involve others in action.
Developing career and life significance is based on understanding others and not holding back on taking initiative. We risk leading a meaningful and purposeful life when we worry. Worrying can derail progress, making it necessary to understand the concerns that limit growth, development, and success. Authenticity cannot be a cover-up to hearing feedback and channeling it to improvement strategies. When we worry less, we open the doors for change, development, and growth.
The American writer Mark Twain observed, “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.” Leading an authentic life requires that we guide the significance of our careers today. How are you directing your significance?