Personal Growth

Creating Fulfillment Through Work

Smiling professional at desk
Smiling professional at desk

The average American spends over 90,000 hours of their life at work. If the majority of those hours are draining and unfulfilling it indicates a misalignment with inner motivations. Whether you are in a career that you love or one that you would rather leave, the integration of intentional behaviors offers a springboard to greater fulfillment.

Below are four strategies that can be used to align your working hours to your personal development goals. These suggestions will help you find more value, purpose, and satisfaction in your job.

Create A Personal Mission Statement

What are your individual values? Which character qualities do you want to embody? How do you want to behave, regardless of circumstances? Who do you want to help? What is your unique superpower? Set aside 15 or more minutes to write down your answers and from them, create a personal mission statement. This statement should reflect your principles, vision, and purpose. In essence, it should define your “true north.” A mission statement does not have to be complicated or long but it does need to reflect the characteristics that you want to embody across all domains. Once you have clarified your personal intention, reframe your professional space into a venue for its practice.

Review these personal mission statements to get your creative juices flowing:

Maya Angelou: "My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor and some style.”

Oprah Winfrey: “To be a teacher and to be known for inspiring my students to be more than they thought they could be.”

Denise Morrison, CEO of Campbell Soup Company: “To serve as a leader, live a balanced life, and apply ethical principles to make a significant difference.”

Expand Gratitude

The human tendency toward negativity may have survival roots, but psychologically it is a death sentence. Nowhere is this more true than at work where negativity can spread like wildfire, burning connections as quickly as it does satisfaction. Instead of fixating on the challenges of your professional environment, actively expand gratitude for the aspects that are rewarding. Do you like the projects, hours, people, view, paycheck, benefits, flexibility, or culture? Pay attention to areas that you love and muse on them more frequently.

To systematically enhance gratitude, you may find it helpful to employ a modification of Dr. Martin Seligman’s “Three Good Things” exercise at the conclusion of your workday. This deceptively simple exercise has been found to positively impact life satisfaction and decrease depression scores. Before closing out your workday, write down three things that went well and why. For example, “I was able to eat lunch outside because my office has a beautiful outdoor terrace,” or “My cat sat in my lap as I worked from home because my job is flexible and I can work anywhere.” There is no right or wrong way to perform this exercise, just write down your answers and do it consistently.

Focus On Helping Others

Serving others has been found to create more satisfaction than focusing primarily on oneself. This does not mean that you have to forego healthy competition or advancement but it does suggest that showing genuine interest and care in others is good for you as well as them. Train yourself to listen, value, and respect those with whom you spend your day.

There are numerous other ways that you can show care for your coworkers. Surprise the office with bagels, suggest a monthly theme day, practice intentional listening, remember birthdays, support work-family balance, practice random acts of kindness, integrate wellness rituals, bring in homemade treats, smile, laugh, and acknowledge other’s successes. As you transfer your attention from making yourself content to creating an environment in which others can be happy, you will ironically experience greater personal fulfillment.

Enhance Your Skill Set

A crucial part of work satisfaction is the continued expansion of skills. When we stop learning, we lose the ability to solve problems creatively, provide novel solutions, and fully engage with our work. Run an inventory on yourself. What areas would you like to improve upon? What things push you just out of your comfort zone? Would it be more beneficial to learn hard skills that directly relate to your job or soft skills that help you effectively relate to others? Once you determine areas of potential growth, create a plan to cultivate new skills. Sign up for a course, listen to a related podcast, read a book, or watch a YouTube video to jumpstart learning.

Your job is more than simply a solitary contribution to a company. It is a large part of your personal development. Even if your current job is not ideal, you can still find greater satisfaction in it. As you implement personal values, intentionally focus on positives, serve others, and cultivate new skills, you will spontaneously find more meaning and fulfillment in each day.


Manifest success by learning to access a state of flow in Success Without Struggle, a five-part series with Deepak Chopra, available now on the Chopra App.