Doing difficult things often makes us happy at work
My husband Chris and I recently joined a local sailing club and bought a sailing dinghy. Whilst I’m a landlubber with absolutely no sailing experience, Chris has some, although he had to get that experience out from the back of his locker (and dust it off). But we felt inspired to take up an activity that we can do together, will keep us active and has a social element too.
We’ve now sailed the boat four times; three of them in races. As well as being challenged by my lack of sailing experience I also found that I was seriously challenged by a lack of strength and fitness. And Chris has dug deep to retrieve his sailing experience, but found that our new boat was going take a bit longer to get used to than he thought. We didn’t even finish two of the three races we’ve entered so far. But in the other one we were proud to cross the finish line in last place having been lapped twice by faster sailors.
All this got me thinking about overcoming challenges and doing difficult things both at work and away from work. Despite the difficulty of learning to sail, and a small dose of beginners embarrassment, I am really enjoying learning to sail.
Why? Well, iOpener’s work of 13+ years in developing people has shown us that doing difficult things often makes us happy at work. And our research backs that up. Our data gathered from over 50,000 working people from around the world shows that employees with the highest levels of Happiness at Work overcome 27% more challenges. And in her book, Happiness at Work, iOpener’s founder and Chair Jessica Pryce-Jones says:
“Challenges, particularly ones you feel in control of and that you feel supported in, actually contribute a huge amount to your levels of happiness at work”.
Is my new-found pastime contributing to my happiness? Yes. Am I in control? Mostly yes. I can control when I sail, how long I sail for, what I am setting out to achieve each time we venture onto the lake and the maintenance of the boat. Do I feel supported? Absolutely yes, by my sailing partner and by the sailing club members who generously offer practical help. And I can sign up for really good quality sailing training too.
So when something difficult comes along, take control, get support and you’ll be able to hoist the sails quickly and compete with the best.
Call us for a chat about how we can support you to do this.