When you wake up each morning, are you excited to make a workplace impact?
If you are like most people, you wake up, go to work, and perform the same task you performed the day before…and the day before that. You finish your work for the day, go home and enjoy a few hours of time to yourself, then wake up the next morning and repeat.
This is the culture that we often find in the workplace today. You are hired to perform a certain task, you learn a specific skill, and you perform that skill day in and day out. That is what you get paid to do. In return, you are compensated with a paycheck equal to the value your skill and productivity add to the company.
This system is designed to have employees who do not have to make the important decisions. Those are reserved for the managers and bosses of the company, the people making more money.
But what if you want your ideas heard or have a desire to move up within the company? What if you want to make a lasting workplace impact?
Do me a favor and take a moment to think back on the first day you started your job. Were you excited? Were you motivated to learn as much as you could and eager to make a workplace impact?
Now try to pinpoint the exact moment when you starting becoming unfulfilled. You probably won’t be able to. Slowly, over time, your desire to learn and grow, to share your unique ideas and give your emotional input have been replaced with keeping your head down and doing what you are told. You have become part of a system where employees are easily trainable to do only their specific tasks, but this also makes you easily replaceable.
So what can you do to get that feeling and motivation back? To start adding fulfillment to your life rather than losing it?
Seth Godin says it well in his book Linchpin: Are You Indispensable?:
“We seek out experiences and products that deliver more value, more connection, and more experience, and change us for the better.
The only way to get what you’re worth is to stand out, to exert emotional labor, to be seen as indispensable, and to produce interactions that organizations and people care deeply about.”
So what is a good way to deliver more value, more connection, and produce interactions organizations and people care about?
I recently had the pleasure of hearing Erin Dertouzos (Chief People Officer at Quartet Health) speak at Thrival Festival, an annual event based in Pittsburgh designed to explore, innovate, and discuss new technologies and how they affect the workplace.
Erin shared her story during the panel titled “Headspace in the Workplace: Mental Health & Our Unsustainable Work Culture”. Erin shared how she had a difficult upbringing: a story of being raised by alcoholic parents, and how she was anxious sharing who she was and what she had to offer.
She spoke of how she one day decided to make a difference in her workplace. She chose to embrace her experiences, appreciate the hardships that made her who she is and to make it a priority to focus on helping others in the workplace embrace their flaws and learn to use them to make the world a better place.
Erin makes it a point to share her own personal story with everyone she works with. Through her openness and honesty, she has found that employees follow her example. Instead of hiding their flaws and not being completely honest in the workplace in fear that they may be shunned or passed over for growth opportunities, they feel motivated and comfortable to pour everything they are into the work they do. They flourish in their position where they may have otherwise kept their head down and only offered a portion of what they had to offer the company.
“Great bosses and world-class organizations hire motivated people, set high expectations, and give their people room to become remarkable.” – Seth Godin
Erin is an excellent example of giving people room to become remarkable.
So tomorrow, instead of waking up, going to work and completing the same tasks you do day in and day out, consider what you can do to make a workplace impact. Think of ways you can improve your co-workers day, ways you can deliver more value and more connection to your company. Most importantly, think of ways to improve yourself and always be striving to learn and improve.