Updated: May 26, 2020
If I asked you if you were happy at work, felt engaged, challenged and fully involved in your job – what would you say? The chances are that you would say ‘no’ since research shows that over half of the working population are unhappy with what they do. Just think about that for a moment, one in two of us would rather be somewhere else!
Given how much of our life work takes up and the knock-on effect that such dissatisfaction will have on our personal relationships, this is a very dim picture indeed. When we fail to ‘show up’ at work, we are also failing to ‘show up’ for life. We are checking out at key points in our day and our week, to the extent that we are failing to be truly alive.
Showing up is about bring our whole self to a situation. Our mind, our body and our energy. When we are fully present, we can take the time to observe deeply and get a much greater understanding of our situation. We can also learn to actively listen and stay grounded in the present moment when work pressure builds.
When we do a job we love, it’s easy to show up for work, putting our best foot forward, a smile on our face and enthusiasm into our tasks. We feel in sync with our work and enjoy the time we spend at it. The cost on our time and lifestyle is offset by the benefits we receive doing something we love.
When life is in sync in this way, we find everything is lighter, more enjoyable and easier to achieve. Stress is merely fleeting moments, that pass when we achieve our goals and we are able to see the benefits of bringing our whole self to the workplace.
Yet if we feel out of sync with our work, unappreciated and under-valued, its far harder to show up in that way. We find ourselves becoming resentful, disengaged and unwilling to do the tasks that our job requires of us. Whilst our instinct is to withdraw, perhaps become surly or simply check out, all that does is make a bad situation worse.
We can fall into misguided thinking, such as believing that when we fail to show up and when we become disengaged, we are hurting our employers. In reality the only person who gets hurt is ourselves.
Organisations rarely feel the benefits of such resistance and we create some very unhelpful habits in our working life that can have a corrosive effect on our personal lives. Resentment has a way of seeping into all of our interactions and leaving a bitter taste for others to swallow.
The importance of showing up for work is more about one’s own self esteem, than it is to do with the work situation we find ourselves in. If you are stuck in a job that is not satisfying or no longer suits you, not showing up for work will not change that fact, but it will certainly make it feel harder.
The benefits of showing up for work include:
Putting your best efforts into your work each and every day will help you to reach a level of satisfaction about your own skills and experience.
Having a healthy work ethic and maintaining good interpersonal relationships, even in a poor work climate, means that you can show up for interviews with prospective employers in a positive and engaging frame of mind
Showing up for work allows you to act with integrity, think clearly and navigate through difficult situations in a way that supports your long term growth and career goals.
Some simple ways you can show up for work, whatever your circumstances:
Smile. This is one of the simplest and easiest ways to build strong and effective relationships. Even if others around you are not given to smiling, greet everyone every day with a smile. You’ll find it’s contagious.
Be a problem solver – not a problem creator. Every time you come up with a difficult situation, take it as an opportunity to learn new skills and be creative. These are great life skills and will serve you well in any work setting.
Do what you do to the best of your ability. Even if your work is boring, or you have outgrown your role and are feeling undervalued, focus on what you can do, rather than allowing your ego to take you down the garden path of ‘should be doing this’ or ‘could be doing that’. The magic of doing what you can in the present moment is that you will get noticed for being a conscientious and reliable person. Great traits to get you promoted, or to demonstrate to a new employer.
Remember that the driver of your career is you, so taking the time to see the value in every day will help your real skills and abilities to shine through.
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