January is the time for resolutions and new starts and one of the things I really want to work on over 2019 is my happiness, specifically around my career. For me this means gaining more pleasure and satisfaction from my role and allowing myself to take on new challenges while still maintaining all important balance.
With this in mind I spent some time over the winter holidays looking into the amazing work of Sonja Lyubomivsky and her view of what determines happiness. Sonja's thesis is that a significant portion of our happiness is inherited - you all know the eternal optimist in your family, the glass half full type of person. If like me you are not a naturally optimistic person then your next option is to change your circumstances, but in reality getting the next promotion, going on holiday, finding the perfect life partner only really gives you a short term happiness lift due to our innate hedonic adaption. This is because changes in circumstances become the new normal and you are then striving for the new hit to ever improve your happiness. Instead of spending inordinate amounts of time focused on your circumstances Sonja instead suggests that changing your mindset will have the greatest impact on your personal fulfillment.
So with that great advice in mind I've been thinking about what I can do to help me change my mindset at work and that's when I learnt that optimism is one of the strongest predictors of future happiness. Combining Sonja's view on mindset and my new found knowledge about optimism I decided that I needed something to bring the two together and that's when I hit on the idea of a work vision statement. The idea is to bring together my work values and my unique set of skills into a single statement that will help guide my work over 2019 in an optimistic way. I hope that it will also allow me to make better, more proactive, choices based on my personal values and a longer term vision.
It all sounded so simple until I started trying to write the vision statement. After scouring the internet for advice and a few false starts I did finally came up with a method to write my vision statement but it wasn't a quick or easy process. This technique worked for me, as a very structured person, and consequently might not not work for everyone. It's important that the journey is yours to make and to acknowledge that it can take weeks to come up with something even slightly coherent.
Creating your work vision statement
Be as brave as possible - you don't need to be 100% competent in all the skills you mention but aim high. Think outside the box and imagine the best version of yourself.
Don't forget about your environment - the culture of an organisation is just as important as the work you do so make sure you specify the right fit for you.
Check-in with your values - make sure that the vision aligns with your work values.
Narrow your choices - I used the structure below to provide a context for narrowing my options into a statement format. I can't remember exactly where it is from but it may have been from one of the excellent CityCV interview presentation.
Visualize your future - after you are happy with an initial draft read it out loud and then close your eyes and visualize who that person is. I'm not a very spiritual person but over 2018 I've started using visualization and it has become an important tool for me in checking in and manifesting changes.
Communicate with optimism - check your vision statement with your nearest and dearest, see how they react and think about any changes you might like to make. After you are happy with your vision manifest it with purpose through communication. I plan to place it on my desk and also have it on the wall of my bedroom.
When to use your work vision statement
Obviously I'm early into this process but I plan to make sure, as I did with my work values, that I fully live my work vision statement. With this in mind I plan to remind myself of it on Sunday evenings and again on Monday mornings just after I get into work. I also think the work vision statement will be useful in tricky situations where checking in with my work values just isn't enough. I also plan to use it to give me confidence before any difficult meetings or when I'm heading towards #overwhelm.
So what is my work vision statement - it's quite simple really but feel alongside my work values it will provide me with the right guidance to make more optimistic choices that meet my goal of a happier 2019.
I, Rebekah Bostan will use my skills of innovation and stakeholder engagement and my passion for customer satisfaction and strategic linking to develop best in class data driven solutions while working in an environment that allows me to find balance.
All opinions are solely my own and do not express the views or opinions of my employer.