Use Your Talents and Strengths In Your Career

You no longer have to continue your Dream Job Search because you have found that perfect  outlet for your creative self-expression that satisfies your physical needs, by using your inborn talents and skills, promoting social support satisfying your emotional desires, and making meaningful contributions, according to a 2010 American Psychological Association (APA) “Culture and Self-Expression” study.

Looking at it a little deeper, a great job provides all of your needs and increases your ability to meet those needs with greater ease and abundance, allowing you to live a long healthy, happy,  and abundant life. However, is that really and truly a reality for you now?

A dream job uses your talents working from your strengths and further develops those strengths, doing work you enjoy, and the overall enjoyment you derive from your work increases, and lastly, makes a meaningful positive contribution to others, and that contribution increases over time, and is the keys to happiness, found a 2018 University of California Berkeley “The Four Keys to Happiness at Work” research .

A dream job sets a high standard for genuine fulfillment, and it balances the logical, practical, emotional, and spiritual sides of you, that is sustainable, harmonious, mutually supportive of each other, and mentally and physically healthy.  But, wait a minute, you just realized you were really dreaming and finding that perfect career is not reality!  Well, not yet, anyway.

Let’s just imagine a life where you have the perfect job:  You are doing what you were meant to do, learning new things all the time, and facing exciting challenges, while your co-workers treat you with respect.  You begin each day looking forward to work and come home pleased with what you have accomplished in your work.  Is this far from present reality?

If burnout, stress, anxiety, and dissatisfaction are common feelings for you, as apparently stress is for 1/3 of Americans in the workplace, according to a 2013 survey by the American Psychological Association (APA) “Coping With Stress at Work”, it may be time to re-evaluate your occupation.  This survey also found that 69 percent of American employees admitted to struggling with concentration as a result of unresolved stress.

Work and Dream Alignment

passion in career

Career wellness translates into life wellness and can be defined as engaging in work that provides personal satisfaction and enrichment, and that’s consistent with your values, goals, and lifestyle, and it is a holistic integration of physical, mental, and spiritual well-being, fueling the body, engaging the mind, and nurturing the spirit, found a 2017 The Canadian Veterinary Journal (NIH) study.

That link between career satisfaction and life satisfaction can not be denied.  Unsurprisingly, individuals who are unhappy in life are less likely to find satisfying work.  A 2010 “Psychologists Search For Secret of Happiness at Work” meta-analysis published in British Psychology Society reviewed 223 studies that examined the link between job satisfaction and life satisfaction.

The psychologists concluded that people who are predisposed to be happy and satisfied in life in general are more likely to be happy and satisfied in their work.  They noted that individuals who are generally unhappy in life and seek satisfaction in their work likely will not find it.  Want another example.  According to an 2017 Oregon State University “Maintaining an Active Sex Life May Lead to Improved Job Satisfaction, Engagement in Work” study, maintaining a healthy sex life at home boosts employees’ job satisfaction and engagement at the office, underscoring the value of a strong work-life balance.

So, there is a fine balance between a happy life determining happy work, especially if you are enjoying personal relationships outside of work, according to a 2019 Harvard Business Review “To Be Happier at Work, Invest More in Your Relationships” and the opposite is just as true.  After sleep, we spend most of our time at work.  So, ask yourself if your work motivates you and lets you use your abilities to their full potential, since you spends most of your awake time doing it?  Also, are you aligned with your dreams and passions?

If you are aligned with your passions at work, you will have a good energy level that sustains you throughout the day, and you will enjoy your work.  And, you will be much happier.  However, if you aren’t experiencing some joy, satisfaction and enrichment, you’ll find going to work and staying motivated, very challenging, unhealthy, and it could be time to take a serious look at how your spend most of your waking hours.

According to a Press Room National Survey conducted for CareerBuilder in 2013, only 32 percent of college grads landed jobs actually related to their career or chosen field. Doesn’t it make more sense and worth taking the risk of doing something you love versus doing something that feels safe?

Protecting your career wellness may mean making big changes, like moving to another job, or going back for additional education or training, so you can apply for a higher position, or an entirely new career.  But, sometimes just small steps help in big ways.

Re-Evaluate Your Career and Re-Energize Your Work Life

happy-healthy-employees relationships
Happy Healthy Employees Relationships

Mindfulness on the job.  Mindfulness involves developing an international awareness that’s open and accepting, and allows you to respond, rather than just react to situations.  Research supports that mindfulness can increase on-the-job resiliency, improves effectiveness and safety, and assures one’s health and well being.

The American Psychological Association (APA) in their 2012 “What Are the Benefits of Mindfulness?” study summed up the benefits of mindful meditation this way: Reduced ruminations, stress reduction, boost to working memory, focus, less emotional activity, more cognitive flexibility, and relationship satisfaction. Others benefits include immune functioning, improvements to well-being, self-insight, morality, intuition, fear modulation, reduction in psychological distress, and increase in information processing speed.

Reduced ruminations, 2008 ResearchGate study published in Cognitive Therapy and Research journal; reduces stress, per a 2010 Journal of Consulting Clinical Psychology (NIH) study; boosts working memory, per a 2016 Frontiers In Psychology (NIH) study; increases focus, 2009 ResearchGate study published in the journal of Consciousness and Cognition; less emotional reactivity, per a 2011 Semantic Scholar study; more cognitive flexibility, per a 2013 Clinical Psychology Review (NIH) study; cognitive flexibility, another 2011 Semantic Scholar study published in Psychotherapy; relationship satisfaction, 2015 “Bridging the Sciences of Mindfulness and Romantic Relationships” study published in Sage Journal; mindfulness skills, 2008 ResearchGate study published in Personality and Individual Differences.

Yet another study on better immune functioning, per a 2004 Journal of Psychosomatic Research (NIH) study; improvement to well being, per a 2008 Journal of Behavioral Medicine (NIH) study; reduces psychological distress, per a 2006 ResearchGate study published in Cognitive and Behavioral Practice; fear modulation, per a 2020 University of Southern Denmark Faculty of Health Sciences study; increases self-insight, per a 2017 Frontiers In Psychology (NIH) study; strengthens intuition, per a EOC Institute study on intuition; increases morality, per a 2016 ResearchGate study published in Counseling and Values; mental processing speed of information, per a 2010 ResearchGate study published in Consciousness and Cognition. The following simple steps can help you incorporate mindfulness into each workday:

  • Quiet your inner voice. Take ten slow breaths and concentrate on the air moving in and out of your lungs.  The City Of Hope (1) has a very good 15-minute deep breathing exercise.
  • There are also a phone apps for that too, such as HEADSPACE and MINDFULISE, according to a 2015 JMIR MHealth and UHealth (NIH) study, which can help you quickly ease into mindfulness and calmness.
deep-breathing-for-relaxing-and concentration
Deep Breathing For Relaxing and Concentration

Self-Care In The Workplace.  According to the World Health Organization (WHO), self-care is,

What people do for themselves to establish and maintain health, and to prevent and deal with illness.

If you want to improve overall employee wellbeing, you need to bring self-care into your office as a HR professional.  Many self-care and self-healing tools are low cost and can significantly and positively affect employee’s work environment.

All of us, not only leaders, can promote self-care and positively reduce sick leave and absenteeism, by creating an environment where employees thrive.

A great benefits program is another way to keep employees happy and motivated, according to one 2005 APA “The Benefits of Frequent Positive Affect: Does Happiness Lead to Success?” study.  The study showed that a happy positive attitude benefited not only the employees but the organization too.  According to the 2016 Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement survey conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), close to half of the employees surveyed rated supervisor’s respect for their ideas as highly important to job satisfaction.

The SHRM emphasizes constructive feedback and open communication in the workplace as one way to encourage respect amongst employers and employees.  In short, working a job where you feel disrespected, undervalued, and underappreciated will likely cause you to feel dissatisfied with your work.  You may want to read a book we stumbled on by Sandra Thomas, “Transferring. Nurses’ Stress and Anger Steps Toward Healing”, for some great ideas.

positive mindset-attitude
positive mindset attitude

Cultivate a Positive mindset in a Dream Job Search. Leadership and job performance expert Tim and Brian Kight of Focus 3 explains that,

One of the distinguishing characteristics of successful people is not only their ability to develop a positive, productive mindset, but also to sustain it.

You’ll find a lot of power in keeping yourself positive, and remembering every event’s outcome is tempered by your response to it.  The Kight’s formulated the importance of a person’s, or, “R factors,” this way: E + R = O:

An event plus many responses equals the outcome, which will either be positive and healthy, or negative and harmful, depending on what your response is.  In others words, events happen and we can’t control them, but we CAN control how we respond to them!

According to the researchers at the Mayo Clinic 2020 “Positive Thinking: Stop Negative Self-Talk to Reduce Stress” study, positive thinking can increase your lifespan, reduce rates of depression and levels of distress, give you greater resistance to the common cold, improve your overall psychological and physical well-being, improve your cardiovascular health and protect you from cardiovascular disease, and help you build coping skills to keep you afloat during challenging times.

Positive thinking and positive emotion “broaden and build” our resources and skills, and open us up to possibilities, according to a 2011 American Psychology (NIH) study.  The broaden-and-build theory suggests that multiple, discrete positive emotions are essential elements of optimal functioning.

As such, the capacities to experience joy, interest, contentment, and love might be construed as fundamental human strengths that yield multiple, interrelated benefits.  Having a positive mindset is also particularly important in leadership roles.

Know Your Purpose and Do It With Pride

A 2009 ResearchGate study published in the journal of Organizational Behavior, rests on the idea that leaders with a positive self-concept about themselves are more actively engaged and to perform at a high level, he or she is also more able to influence and attract positive followers toward a more positive mindset through role modeling and normative influence.

Purpose, Pleasure and Pride. According to a National Geographic “World’s Happiest Places” study, author and founder of “Blue Zones”, and author of “Blue Zones of Happiness,” Dan Buettner, who has researched happiness and longevity, says purpose, pleasure, and pride are vitally important to a long happy life at work and at home.  Buettner said

Instead of seeing a long, healthy life as a goal that required discipline, effort, and a prescribed routine, people in the blue zones found it occurred almost naturally; it flowed from their surroundings as a lifestyle

One example he gave is Costa Rica.  According to Buettner, the absolutes basics of happiness are a person needs, something to do, someone to love, something to give, and something to look forward to.  If we can design our job or career to increase each of these, we can stack the deck in our favor of an ideal fulfilling work-life balance, because you will have discovered how to deal with stress in your work.  Here are some ideas in doing that:

Make a best friend at work.  One of the most powerful contributors to work satisfaction and productivity is having a close friend at work.  According to a 2018 Gallop Pole “Why We Need Best Friends At Work” survey, having a good friend at work equals performance.  Per Gallop, for example, women who strongly agree they have a best friend at work are more than twice as likely, or 63 percent, to be engaged compared with the women who say otherwise, or 29 percent. Some studies suggest that because friends work better together than acquaintances, and a best friend can just make work more engaging and fun.

Ways Of Getting Your Dream Job

Seek a job that fits you.  As a Hungarian Psychologist, and the originator of the “concept of flow” and co-founder of “positive psychology”, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, in a Positive Psychology “8 Ways To Create Flow According to Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi” research, advises,

finding a job that engages your natural talents and gives you constant positive feedback, is a sure way to build happiness.

A 2016 American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine (NIH) study exploring the connection between positive psychology and physical health, found that using positive psychological traits like talents, interests, and strengths of character are desirable and positive emotions, life satisfaction, optimism, life purpose, social support, are prospectively associated with good health measured in a variety of ways.

According to an older 2003 Gallop pole “Investing In Strengths” survey, people who use their strengths and talents that something comes naturally and can be enhanced through practice, every day are six times more likely to be engaged on the job.  Gallup’s data also showed that simply learning their strengths makes employees 7.8 percent more productive, and teams that focus on strengths every day have 12.5 percent greater productivity.

The Perfect Dream Job For Health

Hide not your talents, they for use were made,
What’s a sundial in the shade?

— Benjamin Franklin

Your talent is God’s gift to you. What you do with it is your gift back to God.

— Leo Buscaglia

Consider your work hours.  Research shows that people who commute an hour each way, would need an additional 40 percent of their monthly wage to be satisfied with their life as people that walk to work, besides how it’s physically effecting your health.

One study published in the 2012 American Journal of Preventive Medicine “Long Commutes May be Hazardous to Health” study, on commuters in Texas metropolitan areas found that individuals with longer commutes, around 15 miles, were less physically active, more likely to be obese, and more likely to have unhealthy waist sizes.

The same study showed a commute that was just 10 miles long was associated with high blood pressure.  However, per another 2018 Reuters study, people who physically commute to work by walking or cycling, actually had lower risk of heart attack and stroke.  If a long commute is effecting your work pleasure, intentionally use that commute time for enjoyment by listening to music, or positive audio books.

Happy, Healthy, Friendly, Working Relationships

Have some family pictures like your spouse or children, or a pleasing relaxing nature scene displayed, or live plants, and lots of natural light. Research, like a 2017 International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (NIH) study confirms that visuals triggers and bringing nature into the workspace can have a huge impact on motivational behavior and reduce stress and anxiety.

Your workplace design should be a major requirement when you’re involved in a Dream Job Search.  One 2014 University of Exeter “Why Plants in the Office Make Us More Productive” study showed plants in the office significantly increased workplace satisfaction, self-reported levels of concentration, and perceived air quality.

A Space Place “A Study of the Effects of the Indoor Environment On Human Function” study found that workers with better window views of nature and natural sunlight, perform better and are more productive than their peers with worse views.

Research, like a 2016 BMC study published in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, also shows walking around for 5 minutes of every hour of work time is beneficial mentally and physically by boosting mood while reducing fatigue.  Use cool tone colors like blue and green in your work area which studies show are calming, found a 1998 Elsevier “Task Type, Posters, And Workspace Color On Mood, Satisfaction, And Performance” study.

Don’t settle for what is reality now, keep self-motivated to work toward what you want, by increasing your skills and knowledge, and research and discover the positives and benefits that can be in your future, if you pursue them now.

a-happy-healthy-fulfilling-dream career
A Happy Healthy Fulfilling Dream Career

Weigh these important questions: Can you do it?  Will it work? Is it worth it?  And if the answers are all “yes’ to these questions, you are self motivated, according to Psychologist Scot Geller in his 2015 “The Psychology of Self-Motivation” study.

Self-evaluation. A 2010 University of Illinois “Will We Succeed? The Science of Self-Motivation” study found that one way you can help yourself is asking yourself whether you can perform a certain task, or self-talk, generally do better on the task, than those who tell themselves that they will do better.  It seems by asking yourself whether you can do something, summons motivation to actually do the task.

Avoid overworking yourself.  Overwork and related stress is directly linked to a cognitive decline, according to a 2015 “Long Working Hours and Cognitive Function: The Whitehall II Study” study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology.  Find a work/family/life balance that will keep you motivated and happy, both at work and away.

Take breaks. At work take your assigned breaks and get out of your office or area you work in, and take a short walk outside, even if it’s only in the parking lot, just to change things up, and give yourself a chance to get centered again.  According to a 2016 Harvard Medical School “Need a Quick Brain Boost? Take a Walk” study, even just a short walk is associated with a reduced risk of depression and anxiety, and there is mounting evidence that it slows cognitive decline and may reduce the risk of dementia.

Healthy Deep Breathing Self-Centering Out In Nature

Following the concept of “blue zone” happiness in your work/life in the food you eat, according to Dr. John P Higgins, Cardiologist and M.B.A., professor of medicine at the McGovern Medical School at University of Texas, in a “Want to Live a Longer Life? Get into the ‘Blue Zone'” study.  In the Blue zones, it seemed, the healthy choices weren’t the deliberate choices, it was the unavoidable choices.  Grains, greens, beans, and fish, which many studies have linked to healthy, long lives, were the least expensive and most accessible foods in these places.

Time-honored traditional cooking. Residents used time-honored recipes to make food tasty, and their kitchens were set up to allow fast and easy preparation.  When friends and neighbors got together, they often shared the same healthy meals as part of their regular social activities.

For energy, strength, endurance, and concentration, eat fresh well-balanced nutritious foods at least once every day and keep healthy snacks at work such as raw nuts, seeds, and fresh fruits and cut-up veggies, per the USDA Dietary Guidelines For Americans 2015-2020.

For meals eat fresh, organic, well-balanced nutrient-dense foods,  such as grass-fed finished lean meats, fresh, organic, free-range finished poultry, grass-fed finished dairy and eggs (A); fresh cold-water or wild-caught fish and seafood (A); fresh organic fruits, vegetables, raw nuts, and edible flower seeds (A).

You should also include organic whole grains and complex carbohydrates, natural fermented foods, fresh organic herbs and spices, and antioxidant drinks, infused water, and fruit and veggie smoothies (A).  Avoid eating high starch or high saturated fatty foods, or fast foods, and processed grains and meats, or overeating, at work because they will all make you tired and put your brain in neutral.

fresh Superfood Maca root

Supplement with Maca. Supplement your diet daily with a natural organic, high in nutrition, Adaptogen Super Food called Peruvian Maca (A), to assure you are getting sufficient nutrition to maintain physical and mental wellness, have the ability to cope with stress and job demands and deadlines, make sure your mood, learning, and memory is enhanced, and you have the sufficient energy to perform your task effectively and at a high level.  You can read more about this healing plant and all its benefits by reading this article What Is In Maca Root?

Set goals.  Setting goals gives you something to look forward to, and a framework for accomplishing those goals.  Setting goals is linked to self-confidence, motivation, autonomy, and higher achievement, according to a 2006 Sage Journals study published in Association of Psychological Science Journal.

A Dominican University “Goals Research Summary” study showed when people wrote down their goals, they were significantly more successful in achieving them than those who formulated outcomes in their heads.  Set small, written, doable goals, and commit to those goals for a period of no less than 66 days, because it takes that long to break or make a habit.

Enjoy Work and A Healthy Lifestyle

A healthy lifestyle, mentally, emotionally, and physically, helps you maintain balance, and more efficiently handle the effects of stress and anxiety in your work and at home.

Incredible Healthy Nutrient-Dense Variety Of Food

Pursuing a job or a career you are passionate about, will help you maintain that overall balance with health and well being more easily.  No job or career is perfect, but overcoming the challenges of a job or career you love and enjoy, is far better than being miserable, or dealing with problems in a job or career you despise.

Remember, maintaining a positive attitude is the key.  A positive attitude doesn’t solve all the world’s problems, but it can assist you in finding the opportunities in the challenges you face.

Take Action and Set a S.M.A.R.T. Goal

Your road to career wellness begins when you take action.  Start by setting S.M.A.R.T. career goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time bound, per a East Madison study.

Set one small goal at a time, may be one for each day, for a 66-day period, because it takes an average of 66 days to break an old habit and replace it with a healthier habit, according to the 2012 British Journal of General Practice (NIH) study.  A couple of suggestions are just take a minute before and after work, to just breathe, focusing only on the breathing, to center yourself, and become more mindful of the present moment.

Per a 2017 Frontiers In Psychology (NIH) study slow breathing may trigger body relaxation responses and benefit both physical and mental health.  And, take ten minutes a day journaling how you feel about your work or career, so that you can gage where you are, and where you want to be, per a 2018 PsycCentral “The Health Benefits of Journaling” study.

In some cases, career wellness requires big changes, but may be for you, simple steps can bring you back to the real reason you are where you are in your job or career in the first place, and you might rekindle that original excitement and joy.  You may even surprise yourself, and in the meantime, you have at least determined what is a dream job in your own mind.  For more information on occupational well being, read this article “How To Find Jobs Online”.

We hope you’ve found Dream Job Search informative and it’s helpful to you.  We’re sure you have questions, so please ask them below. Let us hear from you with your comments too.

(A)  Follow these links for more information, more documented studies, and to purchase all these incredible nutrient-dense foods that will help you in remaining healthy and thriving in your dream career.

(1)  City of Hope Video