The first H within H.E.A.L.T.H.Y careerTM is for HEART. HEART captures our need to feel connected to our jobs and the companies we work for. We should be able to see a little of our own priorities and values in theirs. Awareness of our HEART also helps us to make decisions and gives us a guiding light when we’re feeling lost. In this post we’ll look at why it’s so important at an individual level.
By understanding fundamentally what drives you, what lights you up and what you’re good at, you can plough all your energies into activities and projects where you will be operating at your absolute best. Who wouldn’t want that?!
What is a H.E.A.L.T.H.Y careerTM?
A H.E.A.L.T.H.Y careerTM is a campaign focused on reducing the levels of burn-out, imposter syndrome and superwoman syndrome that we see around us today. As individuals we all deserve to have a fulfilling, rewarding career which improves our health, not deteriorates it. As businesses, cultivating an environment which offers a H.E.A.L.T.H.Y careerTM will only do good things to your bottom line.
The first H is for HEART. HEART captures our need to feel connected to our jobs and the companies we work for. We should be able to see a little of our own priorities and values in theirs.
Everyone has a different sense of what that is for them and how deep that needs to go, but at some level in order to really thrive and enjoy our work, we need to feel that our jobs and that the business that we are part of reflect our own priorities of what it is to be a good human.
We’ve all seen the uncomfortable moment when a new colleague acts in a way that isn’t ‘the norm’ within the culture of the company. It creates that awkward pause when everyone holds their breath just for a couple of seconds to see what happens next.
That sort of challenge isn’t always a bad thing but it demonstrates clearly that there is a culture and a set of values within every business. How closely they align to your own is different for each person. What we do know, is that when there is a cultural mis-match, tension, hostility, stress and disagreement usually follow.
Don’t just take my word for it….
The Harvard Business School has also championed the critical role that the culture and values of businesses play in the wider society and the power that companies hold to be a force for positive change and good in our world. They have even developed a course on Shared Values which teaches how to create positive social impact in ways that also drive business success.
So there is general agreement that the HEART of the business is important to both individuals and employers alike.
Why does HEART deserve such a focus?
Every single day we have thousands of decisions to make; some tiny, some huge, but the way that we make the decision to turn left or right, or even to stop or go back, is by taking lots of inputs and information and considering the outcomes of each option.
Our HEART should be shouting loudly at this point; highlighting our values, beliefs, routines, dreams and fears. The quickest way to stress, worry, depression and unhappiness is to make decisions that go against the core of what makes us…us. That’s not to say that questioning our beliefs or our fears isn’t valuable and being open to challenges certainly pushes our boundaries and allows us to grow. But for us to really feel content, fulfilled and excited by life we need to stay faithful to our HEART.
Heed the warning!
You know in your ‘gut’ when a decision doesn’t feel right, even if you can’t pin down why. Sometimes you feel that you have very little choice and your hand is forced, so you have to go with it. While you may be able to push through that discomfort for small decisions, it can have bigger consequences if this approach creeps into significant, life-altering decisions.
There is also the warning that if it becomes a habit to push through and not really listen to your HEART, then those ‘gut’ messages become fainter and fainter, until you can’t hear them anymore and your decisions are made by your friends, your culture, your family or your workplace and not really by you.
We all hear the stories of the highly ‘successful’ people who reached the top only to realise that they were unhappy. It was a lonely place that didn’t seem to ‘fit’ with what they had imagined. Usually this is because they have become disconnected from their HEART, following what they have been told to do by outside influences rather than considering how it fits with their own wants and needs.
You can imagine how that reaches out into your career. By understanding what drives you, what lights you up and what you’re good at you can plough all your energies into activities and projects where you will be operating at your absolute best. When you enjoy what you do, you automatically do your best and give it your full attention and efforts. You feel energised and your company gets the best of you. Win-Win!
When you start to dig into this, remember that nothing of what you find is bad. That’s important. This isn’t intended to show you your faults and highlight how awful you (think) you are! The point is awareness. By understanding what your internal priorities are, you can narrow the field in terms of the types of companies that you feel you’d thrive in. You can look for tangible things in a business that you know you respond well to and that you believe in too. What are a company’s recruitment and retention practises? How do they reward and recognise achievements? How do they communicate? Can you find practical examples of them living their values? It will all help you find your HEART as part of a H.E.A.L.T.H.Y career.
We have ways to help you work this out within our courses and our one-to-one sessions. It’s actually a lot of fun to spend some time thinking only of yourself and reflecting on a few specific questions, with a pencil in hand.