Many of the clients I deal with are not very happy in their work. And I find that is often because of the way they think and feel about the people they are working for. Whether you are an employee or you work for yourself, if you are not able to do your work with a joyful heart, then you are short-changing yourself.
And you are also short-changing the people who are paying you. Enjoyment-Performance Theory states that we tend to perform better at tasks that we enjoy. So if you are doing work that doesn’t feel joyful to you, then you are almost certainly not performing it particularly well – and that means you are not delivering full value to those paying you to do it. And they are entitled to full value, aren’t they? To get what they are paying for – a first-class job.
So, what can you do about it? After all, some bosses are just jerks, aren’t they – constantly on your case about some perceived failing or other, forever picking fault with how you work, and not providing the support you need to perform at your best. And that goes for clients too – whether they are your clients, or you employers. People like that just make our work miserable, don’t they?
Well, no, actually. Eleanor Roosevelt once said “No-one can make you feel inferior without your consent”, and I believe that holds true for any negative emotion. For you to feel miserable – or inferior, angry, sad, put-upon, or anything else – requires that you go along with it. You don’t have to – you can choose how you feel about anything you experience at work. You can view it as an unfair problem – or you can choose to see it as a challenge for your skills, an opportunity to manage the situation and make the most of it, to shine or to learn.
So when your boss or client comes nit-picking, welcome the feedback, and ask for more. And be genuinely open for more feedback. If the boss is just being picky, you’ll have the amusement of watching the confusion on their face as you invite more criticism. And if they genuinely think there’s a problem, they will feel heard and validated when you accept their feedback rather than meeting it with defensiveness or sullen indifference. Then just watch how your relationship with them improves – and so does your enjoyment (and performance) of your work.
Remember – you have to give permission before anyone can make you feel bad. And that means you get to decide whether to feel great about your work too – and that is very good news, definitely something to be thankful for!