When your alarm wakes you up on a work day, how do you feel? Sure, it may depend on what you did the night before, when you went to bed, which day of the week it is and how busy you've been, but what's your overwhelming thought?
I have recently started working with a client company where I am leading international calls and video conferences that start at 2.30am, with maybe an average of two to three of those per week. When I told some of my friends they thought I was crazy. "Why would you get up at 2.30am to go to work?", they said. Well, the short answer is that I am doing work I love, with great people and where what I am doing gives me a great sense of achievement and pleasure because I am helping people change their lives and impact their futures while generating meaningful business outcomes. And actually, although I can work from my home office, in order to be ready for a video conference, I have to get up at 1.30am to shower, make a cup of tea, check my emails so I have the most up to date information in advance of our session and then connect to the video conference. So not only do I get to start work at 2.30am, but I also have my alarm wake me an hour before at a time when many people are just heading to bed.
You may think it's crazy, but it's not necessarily wrong! I think it's exceptionally difficult to find a job that is a 100% perfect match for you. There's always a downside to any role, be it location, hours, type of work, pay, rewards and benefits, travel from home, etc. So, although in a perfect world I wouldn't start my day at 1.30am each day, I do because - on balance - this is meaningful work I love doing with great people and in good locations, including my home office.
If you're thinking I might be a little smug in sharing how much I love what I do, then let's turn our attention over to you. Here's an activity to try. Before you go to bed, place some paper and a pen or pencil within easy reach. Then, every day when your alarm goes off, write down how you feel. Try to avoid simply writing "tired" and aim for descriptive words that explain your sentiment about heading into work that day. Do this for a week and at the end of that time, review your responses.
If the majority of them are positive, congratulations, it's likely that you're in a job that you like and you are happy with the trade off in getting up to head into work. On the other hand, if the majority of responses are negative, things aren't looking so good for you and you may want to reconsider your current role.
Ask yourself questions like, does it give you the right challenges? Is the company culture working for you? Do you like the people there? Has the work become routine? What would good look like for you? Which job would make getting up more palatable? Which one feature would you change?
If the responses are in the middle of the road and you can't tell, extend the period from a week to a month and see how things look at the end of the period. Having a longer duration of responses to review will give you more opportunities to see key trends and avoid one particular event (e.g. a specific deadline, a key meeting) from giving you an outcome that is not truly reflective of your situation.
If you're then thinking about how you can make a change for the better, you can modify the experiment to include the following. As well as writing down how you feel each morning, add another entry each day where you include what would make how you feel better (or even better, if you already have a positive response).
Then, at the end of your week or month, not only will you have a good understanding of how you feel, but you'll also have some great insights into how you could improve your own situation. And in doing so, you might decide that it's worth getting up at 1.30am for a job you love.
And if you're still no further forward in understanding what motivates you and how you could shape your current role into one you truly love, or find a new role that fits you perfectly, get in touch for a coaching session and we'll figure it out together. You only get one life and it's too short to not love what you do. Be empowered to make your life amazing!
Rob Whitfield is the CEO and Founder of One Brit, No Bull, a coaching and corporate training company based in Los Angeles and operating worldwide. Rob can be contacted here or on (+1) 518 9NO BULL.
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As well as being an experienced management consultant and energetic public speaker, Rob Whitfield is a certified Trainer of Neuro-Linguistic Programming, a certified Master Coach and a certified Master Practitioner of Hypnotherapy and Time Line Therapy. No Bull.