But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life. Remember that fanciful adage? The truth is that when we enter the workforce, “doing what you love” isn’t always an option. And, as we rise in the ranks and the pressures of life increase, many of us find ourselves in jobs (and careers) that we didn’t plan to have and certainly don’t love.

We evolved to seek, and feel, connection and meaning through our work. We’re all “makers” at heart — we love to create, to connect with others to solve problems, and to be a part of something bigger than ourselves. So finding our humanity in our work isn’t just possible. It should be a priority for all of us.

burnout

Burnout is the new black. Photo by Kinga Cichewicz

 

Instead, we work. And overwork. Yet we still can’t keep pace. The promise that technology will make our lives easier is salt in the wound as work increasingly creeps into our personal lives.

Cue self-doubt, frustration, exhaustion, and, eventually, apathy.


There are a lot of reasons why many of us are in an emotional crisis at work. But the biggy: bad bosses. A boss can make the difference between a job you hate and a job you love. So much so that most people don’t quit their jobs, they quit their bosses.

millennials collaborating at a business meeting
There’s more to work than just…work.

But no one sets out to be a bad boss. Most managers are working hard, balancing challenges and opportunities, and trying to care for their teams. They’ve likely been promoted to the role, but not given the tools, support, or training they need to succeed, and they feel like they’re failing.

 

millennials collaborating at a business meeting
Good bosses help us find meaning & purpose in our work.

There are lots of good managers. I’ve had several myself. Good bosses help their people find meaning and purpose in their work so they can live more inspired lives. They help us connect with others in service of something bigger than any single person. They make us feel valued, safe, understood, and worth investing in — very human things that give people the chance for joy and deep satisfaction in their work. These are among the things that good leadership can bring to the workplace.

And don’t overlook the multiplier effect: leaders who have the skills to bring people together make a positive impact on their organizations, but also their families, friends, and communities.

I founded Lead Belay because I believe that anyone with the will to grow and invest in themselves should have the chance to become a great leader. And giving as many people as possible this chance will help us keep, or regain, a big part of our humanity.


Rare in his breadth of experience in leadership development, Mike Kester has built several companies with great cultures and loyal clients. Lead Belay is his life’s passion and opportunity to make a positive impact on millions of lives.

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