I firmly believe that in work and in life you can choose to be happy.
I’m not suggesting that if you snap your fingers and yell ‘I choose to be happy!’ that your career troubles will fade away.
To be happier at work, you need to change the tiny choices that you make on a daily basis. And to do this, you must shift your mindset.
If you have a positive mindset, you will make more positive choices. You will choose focus over distraction and determination over lack of motivation. These choices will quickly compound, skyrocketing your success and happiness in your career.
To get started, here are 10 proven tips to develop a positive mindset today!
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1. Don’t dwell on your mistakes
There’s a saying that there are no mistakes – only lessons.
The workplace is full of lessons. Yet if you’re not actively learning from them, they’ll simply pass on by unnoticed. You might fall into the trap of making the same mistakes again and again.
When you get something wrong, recognise it and own up to it!
Rather than dwelling on the mistake, take the time to reflect on the lesson. If possible, fix your mistake and put a system in place to prevent making it again in the future.
Then pick yourself up and keep going.
2. Take initiative
Rather than waiting for the next opportunity to be handed to you, take initiative and seek out opportunities that excite you!
You can start by reflecting on what skills you would like to develop. Then look for opportunities aligned with those interests. A great opportunity will spark a feeling of excitement, and maybe a little nervousness right in your gut.
Taking consistent action on your professional development shows drive, initiative and passion. It’s also deeply satisfying and it will inevitably make you happier at work.
3. Choose to work with everyone
Cultivate the attitude that you can work with anyone. If you have a challenging relationship with a boss or colleague, shift your mindset to see each interaction as an opportunity to practise difficult conversations.
4. Celebrate the little wins
Rather than waiting to celebrate big milestones, intentionally look for little wins to celebrate every day.
Did you crush it in a meeting? Did your colleague go above and beyond to produce a high-quality piece of work? Is it just a beautiful day? Did you show up and put in the effort even though you were tired? These are all amazing reasons to celebrate!
Get a little happiness boost by talking about these little wins with your colleagues, writing them down somewhere visible or journaling about them.
5. Learn to love feedback
If fear of receiving feedback is undermining your happiness at work, it’s possible to shift your mindset from anxiety to appreciation.
The ability to openly receive and act on feedback is a skill. It takes time, reflection and courage to learn.
When you next receive a piece of constructive or negative feedback, accept it with gratitude. Yes, even if it feels like a punch in the gut! Write the feedback down and come back to reflect on it later. Have you heard this feedback before? Which parts of the feedback do you agree with? Make note of any useful lessons and then let the rest go.
6. Embrace challenges
When you feel overwhelmed, stretched or way out of your comfort zone, remind yourself that it’s okay for work to be hard sometimes.
It’s good be challenged. It means that your comfort zone is stretching and that your capabilities are growing.
Embracing challenges can be as simple as shifting your internal dialogue from ‘Why is work so hard?’ to ‘It’s okay for work to be hard’, or from ‘Why am I finding this difficult?’ to ‘It’s okay for me to find this difficult’.
Let the work be hard and keep going. Don't stop. Don’t blame yourself. Don’t complain. When you overcome the challenge, the satisfaction will be real! It will create a positive feedback loop that wires your brain to actually look forward to the next challenge.
With this growth mindset, imagine the big, scary and incredible things you’ll be able to achieve while keeping happy along the way!
7. Work to learn, not to earn
It’s important to know your worth and to be fairly paid. Yet constantly worrying about salary causes stress and is detrimental to your happiness at work.
To shift to a more positive mindset, instead of asking ‘How much should I be earning?’, ask yourself ‘How much can I be learning?’.
What do you want to be? What do you want to achieve in your career? What are the core skills that you need to get there? Now, look for opportunities to learn and practise those skills in your day-to-day work.
8. Stop competing with others
It’s scientifically proven that people naturally judge themselves in comparison to others. This is called social comparison theory. While a little friendly competition can be motivating, it can also be stressful. Social comparison is well known to cause many negative emotions, including dissatisfaction, inadequacy and guilt.
So, stop judging your skills and achievements against your colleagues. Stop comparing yourself with your peers on LinkedIn.
Instead, set meaningful goals for yourself and hold yourself accountable to them, while celebrating your progress every step along the way!
9. Practise gratitude daily
It’s easy to feel grateful for your job when you’ve received a big pay rise, a new promotion or an exciting opportunity. To be consistently happier at work, you need to find gratitude in the regular days, the quiet days and the challenging days, as well.
One way to cultivate gratitude is to begin each workday by writing down one thing that you’re grateful for. This simple act shifts your mindset from expectation to appreciation. Rather than longing for the next big thing, you can find satisfaction and happiness wherever you are right now in your career journey.
10. Remember your ‘why’
Instead of expecting others to motivate you at work, cultivate a strong internal motivation by getting in touch with your ‘why’.
This mindset shift is simple, yet also challenging.
Your ‘why’ is the reason that you fell in love with your career. It’s the person that you want to become and the impact that you want to have on the world. It’s what success means to you. Your ‘why’ is something that inspires you to do your best work, even when nobody is watching. It lights you up and gives you courage, fulfilment and purpose.
Finding your ‘why’ is a lifelong process. A great place to start is writing a personal mission statement. When you’re lacking motivation, rather than complain, look over your mission statement. Reflect on it as often as you need.
Remembering your ‘why’ will truly take your happiness at work to a whole new level.
I hope that these simple mindset shifts have inspired you to choose happiness for yourself at work. Implementing these shifts will cultivate a positive growth mindset. This mindset will lead you to make more small positive choices in your daily work.
Slowly, these seemingly small choices will become automatic. They’ll become habits. They’ll become a part of the way that you work and the way that you think. One tiny choice at a time, you’ll become the kind of person who shines with happiness and brightens the workplace around them.
Which mindset shifts will you implement in your career? Join the conversation below and let us know!