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It’s A Wonderful Life

This classic movie was on TV on Christmas Eve. Of course it’s on every day in December, but my wife and I watched it that night. I noticed something I had missed before. As you may recall, Clarence, Angel 2nd Class, was assigned to go to earth to help George Bailey. Clarence asked, “Why are you sending me to help this man. Is he sick?”

The head angel replied, “Oh no, it worse than that. He’s discouraged.”

At this time of the year a good many people, like George, are discouraged. Many are discouraged about work. According to the 2017 Global Workplace report from Gallup, only 31.9% of U.S. workers are engaged in their jobs. Engaged employees are defined as those “involved in, enthusiastic about and committed to their work.” Over 50% said they were planning to change jobs next year.

Popular Reasons

A few of the popular reasons for why people say they get discouraged at work are: dealing with a difficult boss, feeling underpaid, not feeling challenged or over burdened with busy work. Rather than attempting to prescribe a series of steps or tactical fixes to solve these issues, I’d like you to consider a simpler approach.

A national survey of 27,000 people conducted by the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago said that there’s one characteristic that’s far and away the most likely to make a job satisfying. This article began by listing the most satisfying careers. Some of the top ones were: clergy, physical therapists, firefighters, education administrators, painters, sculptors, teachers or authors.

OK, most of us are not one of those. Plus we all know or have heard of people in these professions who are not having a wonderful career, and many more in other more profit-focused careers who love what they do.

One Characteristic

The survey article concluded, “If you don’t feel your work is helping others in some way chances are good, it won’t make you truly happy. The most satisfied people are those who view their jobs as giving to others.” It is not your work. It is how you look at your work.

Journal Entry:
I often asked to consult with that once-upon-a-time effective and encouraging leader who is now discouraged and ineffective. When we begin, many will place blame on some of the popular reasons mentioned earlier. Environment often can have some negative impact. But then I ask her or him, “What are your main goals in your work each day?” When their answer is about job responsibilities, numbers, metrics or financials and they don’t talk about how they serve customers, help teammates or support employees, I know that a change of their heart goal is needed more than a change of their job role.

How do you look at your work each day? Is there anything you’d like to view differently to experience a more wonderful leadership and life in 2018?


When you’re in a Slump,
you’re not in for much fun.
Un-slumping yourself
is not easily done.
― Dr. Seuss, author, Oh, The Places You’ll Go!

Job fit is a moving target. With all the changes in our work world today, holding on to your perfect job is like pushing Jell-O up hill. So take your eyes off your job title, look for some real problems and fix them good. ― Michael Alan Tate, consultant, writer

The best leaders are clear. They continually light the way, and in the process, let each person know that what they do makes a difference. The best test as a leader is: Do those served grow as persons; do they become healthier, wiser, freer, more autonomous, more likely themselves to become leaders? ― Robert K. Greenleaf, author and founder of the modern Servant leadership movement

And indeed, some who are last will be first, and some who are first will be last. ― Luke , physician, disciple of Jesus Christ, The Book of Luke 13:30, NIV Bible

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