One aspect of health I think a lot of people forget about is their career. You might be asking yourself, what does my career have to do with my health? Well, way more than you might think. There are many aspects of health and well being that are tied to your career or vocation.
Currently, you might just have a “job.” By this I mean, you go into work, you punch the clock, perform your duties, and then leave. You may even be great at what you do, but on the inside you are miserable. It’s possible you are even in a job where you don’t even like what you are doing. There are lots of people out there who merely have a job. But, having a “vocation” is what you really want.
Those individuals that have a vocation, or vocational calling will be more likely to succeed in their work. They will be happier and healthier individuals, overall. If we remain in jobs we hate, we cause our bodies unwanted and unneeded stress. When our bodies are stressed our immune system is weakened (after prolonged periods of time) and we become more susceptible to sickness. Additionally, we end our days feeling drained and lack the desire for physical activity, often. Although, I do believe you can be dissatisfied in your job and be very active physically – in fact, I encourage it.
I believe that our overall happiness is vitally important to our health. Additionally, our health suffers as a result. Brendan Brazier in his book Thrive states, “Stressed people do not burn body fat as fuel as efficiently as do those who are not stressed.” As a result we have a lack of energy and our bodies don’t operate as efficiently as they could be.
Stress is also linked to one of the leading causes of illness, so why would you remind in a job that is taking a toll on your health? I know a lot of people will say that their job is secure or that they have to provide for their family. Aside from the fact that simply isn’t true these days, what good is having a secure job if it brings you misery and affects your well being at home and your overall health? It’s only a matter of time too before your body just can’t take the stress anymore and begins to break down and sickness sets in.
Stress can also lead to adrenal fatigue, which can lead to all sorts of health related issues. The most noticeable problem though will be a lack of energy. The adrenal glands control our energy levels, amount other things. Most of the recommendations to overcome adrenal failure involve diet, but many do not. Some suggestions are, getting more sleep, exercising, eliminating negative people in our life, and laughing. I would venture to say that you could throw in worthwhile career in there as well.
There is no reason you can’t be working in a job you love, and I truly believe that by doing so you will be a happier and healthier person. For the past several months I have been doing a lot of reading, including Dan Miller’s 48 Days to the Work you Love and No More Monday’s, Gary Vaynerchuk’s Crush It as well as other blogs and success stories of people who have stepped out in faith and pursued the career of their dreams.
I recently underwent career counseling with Kent Julian of Live it Forward and something he said was so simple, yet made so much sense to me. At the time I was working a job where I was good at what I did but hated the job itself, and to an extent did not like some of the work. But, Kent said it was like I was writing with my left hand (I am right handed). I can perform the job just fine, but it’s difficult, painful and the work that comes from it is not the best it could be. When working with your right hand, you are in a job you are passionate about, it’s where your best work will be performed and the place you will be most successful. Think about the richest people in the world. Do you think Steve Jobs or Bill Gates hated computers? Hell no! They loved computers and were passionate about the work the produced.
I firmly believe that our work will directly affect our overall health. I am currently into day three of self-employment and loving every minute of it. I have slept until 8 a.m. all three mornings (and woken up naturally without an alarm) and have been feeling more energized as a result of not waking up at 6 a.m. I am currently working on drumming up clients for design and web work, focusing on blogging more and working on a startup business selling raw snack foods and energy bars. I love the work I am doing now, and I firmly believe I will be successful because I am able to pour myself into what I am doing.
If you are currently feeling beat down by your job and have been thinking about making a career change or even going into business for yourself, I HIGHLY recommend you read the books mentioned above. I also suggest career counseling with Kent. It was a life changing experience for me. For the longest time fear had gripped me and kept me from moving forward, but Kent inspired me to go for what I really wanted since I was a little kid. Although you may think the career coaching is expensive, I assure you his fees are 1/3 the cost of other career coaches out there. If you decide to use his services, be sure to tell him I sent you. I promise, it will be well worth the investment.
I will also leave you with a few tips on how to pursue work that will bring joy and good health into your life.
Define where you are going – Figure out where you want to go. Make sure the work you pursue lines up with your passions and skill sets. Don’t settle for another job doing the same thing you currently do. For the longest time I continued to seek out jobs doing the exact same thing I used to do, but for a different company. Narrowing things down also helps with your job hunt. You won’t waste time applying for jobs that are not even a good fit.
Figure out your strengths – Take some strength finding assessments such as DISC and StrengthsFinder 2.0. They will help you figure out your strong points. To some it may be a surprise; to others it will confirm what affirm what you already know. Use this to encourage you and guide you in the type of work that will help you pursue a vocational calling.
Plan ahead – Work hard to plan your career move, especially if you will be going into business for yourself. You will want to have a good bit of money saved up before starting. Or build your business on top of your current job until you get to a point you can leave.
Ignore the road blocks – Just because you encounter a hindrance to your pursuit doesn’t mean you aren’t called to that. Years ago when trying to start up my photography business full time I gave up because I couldn’t get private health insurance. In hindsight, that was the dumbest thing I ever did. I know that if I pursued that diligently I would have succeeded and insurance would not have been a big deal. I could have easily saved money to pay for expenses that came up. Accept the challenges ahead of you, and don’t back down just because things get difficult. This is probably the most important piece of advice I can give.
Work with a career coach – This was the best thing I ever did. Working with Kent helped define my strengths and figure out what type of work I should be doing. Career coaching basically put a supped up engine and gave me the traction needed to go roaring off into the right direction. I’m happier than I have ever been before.
Read, read, read – Get inspired by what others have done. It’s the main thing that is keeping me going right now in my business pursuits. Anything you want to learn now days can be found in a book, e-book, or blog. So, get to reading and start dreaming up your big career change. There is no reason you shouldn’t be happy in your work.
Be Proactive – This is VERY important, especially when seeking out clients or a new job. Before the last job I held, I spent five years off and on looking for new work, and it took me that long to finally find something. The reason why it took so long is that I wasn’t proactive. There is no way you are going to differentiate yourself by firing off resume after resume. You have to create what Kent Julian describes as Top of Mind Awareness. You want the person doing the hiring to see your name at least three times. This means you have to do a lot more than just sending a resume. You have to make phone calls, send letters, write emails, etc. Do whatever it takes to bring your name to the top. Also, do your best to get the name of the person making the actual decision (and contact them). It my take a little work to find this information, but chances are if you try hard enough you will find it. This diligence will be seen by the person making the hiring decision. Lately I have hard a lot of horror stories in the news about people who have been out of work for over a year. Well, chances are they are not being very proactive in their job hunt.