We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.
The Hopi Elders, Alice Walker, President Obama. They’ve all invoked these words to talk about the responsibility we all bear in creating the world we want to live in.
With respect to the day-job, it can seem like satisfaction is out of your hands. The pay, the corporate culture, the ascension up the corporate ladder…you can do your best to be a productive employee, but it’s hard to reconcile that feeling that the rewards, in some way, have to be bestowed upon you.
Here’s the thing. They don’t. The only thing you need to be happy at work, right now, is your own commitment to happiness.
The most important thing I learned after hopelessly butting-up against the corporate structure like a Roomba in a coat closet was that I didn’t have to change anything about my job in order to be happy. I had to change myself. And, the one thing, above all, that I had to commit to was my willingness to be the light.
Yes, this sounds impossibly new-agey, and perhaps even a little Poltergeist-y. I get it. “Being the light” means, to me, that my primary function was to hold myself to higher standard. Getting involved in the office gossip, allowing an innocuous email to send me into an emotional tailspin, carrying resentments that make moving freely as inconvenient as carrying a x-tra large garbage bag of tin cans on the subway are examples of how I went to the dark side. Once I made it my primary function to come out of the dark and be the light, my work-life changed.
Being the light involved a lot of checkin’ myself before I wrecked myself. I became a habitual inquirer. Whenever I felt the emotional tension risin’ (barometer gettin’ low-o), I asked myself what was going on. If any of the aforementioned conditions were satisfied, I had to let it go. I reminded myself that wasn’t what I was about…not anymore. No matter how crappy your work situation is…and it’s not crappy, by the way; you are not a teenage garbage picker in the slums of Mumbai…you can be the positive force. You can take a stand by being a better version of yourself.
So what takes you to the dark side? How can you commit to being the light? I want to know. Start the conversation in the comments below.