Some people choose a certain career path in life, as they feel that it is their calling. They are naturally gifted in their field and have a passion for what they do. In psychology, this is referred to as self-actualisation. Self-actualised people strive to achieve their highest potential and find meaning in their work. They love what they do and experience great joy in performing their roles. In respect of ILSPA’s Members, they can find their work interesting and rewarding and recognise that they make a significant contribution to their legal departments.
What if you don’t feel like this though? What if your heart is not in it and you don’t know what to do? One solution is to find a new job, of course, but there are ways in which you can change your mindset to feel more positive about your role.
There is a quote which goes, “If a job’s worth doing, do it well”, which means that you should only make a commitment to a role if you do it wholeheartedly. This is an enlightening statement. It helps us to question whether we are doing the best we can at work. Considering we spend a lot of our lives at work, it makes sense to take this on board.
During the presidency of John F. Kennedy, he visited the NASA space centre and came across a janitor cleaning the building. Mr Kennedy asked the janitor what he was doing, and he responded, “I’m helping to put a man on the moon!” In essence, he was seeing the bigger picture and understood that everyone has an important role to play, no matter how big or small. The janitor took great pride in his work and led a happy life because of it.
Imagine if we could operate with this mindset in any job we had, whether we worked as an office junior who does the photocopying and sorting of the post or were a PA to the top lawyers of an international firm. Whatever your role, you can make a vital contribution to your organisation and find enjoyment in what you do.
Here are some practical tips on how you can find joy in your role:
Remember why you’re there
It can be easy to lose sight of why we are in a certain profession, especially if we are not enjoying it. Look back to when you started your job and what it took for you to get there. You might have taken a Legal Secretary course or gained a law degree. If so, remember how good it felt to achieve your goal and how that enabled you to secure your role. Think back to how happy you were when you were successful in your interview and got the job! Reminding ourselves of why we are in a certain position can help us to see the bigger picture, feel more positive and gain motivation.
Learn new skills
Learning something new can be fun and exciting. You could improve your skills in an area which you know you could do better in or advance your skills in an area of work which you love. An online course could be studied at home in your own time, or you could attend a class if you would like to meet new people who have a shared interest. Not only will this widen your professional expertise, but it will freshen your outlook and could lead to career advancement. Employers are very favourable to those who take this kind of initiative. ILSPA Members are eligible for discounts on courses through the Student and Member area of our website. There is also a wide range of courses available through Reed.co.uk. We encourage our Members to undertake continuing professional development through our CPD programme. CPD enhances the professional and personal skills of Legal Secretaries and PAs and, therefore, the quality of their work.
Having confidence in your skills will not only enable you to do your job better, but it can also open up a pathway to helping others. Why not offer to help your colleagues or boss with areas of their work they are struggling with? Rather than waiting to be asked, take the initiative. You might have expertise in different areas than they do. You can offer to take over something, or you can share your knowledge. Kindness goes a long way. It makes people feel supported, it makes you feel good, and it creates a happier and healthier working environment. When we focus on our own problems, we forget that others have their daily challenges too. We can feel better through helping others.
Make a list of your accomplishments
Within any role we perform, we gain accomplishments. Make a list of the things you have achieved at work and how they made you feel, however small. Go a step further and note down how your input made a positive contribution to your company. Sometimes we can get stuck in negative thought patterns and forget all the wonderful things that we have done in our daily working lives. Making a list will remind you of the positive experiences you have had in your role. Save it on your computer so you can add and refer to it when needed.
Connect with positive people
The people around us can influence how we feel sometimes. These people can be colleagues at work or friends and family. It is easy to recognise the ones who make us feel good. They will be encouraging, supportive and inspiring. We naturally want to be respected for who we are and have our unique qualities and talents recognised. Self-confidence is known to grow from this, and it enables us to perform better in life. Try to distance yourself from anyone who brings you down or lowers your self-esteem, in or out of work. If you are in a toxic environment, then remove yourself. Spend time with people who uplift you and bring you joy. Make new connections if necessary – look for the positive qualities in people which lead to a happy and fulfilling life.
Keep a journal
Track your progress by writing down your thoughts and feelings each day. Similar to listing your accomplishments, this will enable you to see things clearly by recognising the positive parts of your day. You can also identify the areas which you do not enjoy. These areas can then be improved. It is human nature to focus on the negative, as it forms part of our basic survival instinct. However, making small changes can help us to reprogram our thoughts, which in turn affects our behaviour. Set a goal in your journal to find joy in your role. If you commit to it, you will achieve it.