Marshall Goldsmith, one of the leading executive coaches in the country, did a fascinating study on satisfaction and happiness at home and at work. There were over 3,000 respondents in professional positions, split almost evenly between the sexes. The results showed an extremely high correlation between people’s happiness and meaning at work and at home. Those who experience happiness and meaning at work tend also to experience them outside of work. Interesting to note, those who are miserable on the job are usually miserable at home.
I thought that those who spent time outside of work in activities that produced short-term satisfaction for them might score higher on overall satisfaction, but the results were different. Those who were more satisfied with life outside of work were the respondents who reported spending time on activities that produced both happiness and meaning.
A few more interesting takeaways from the research study:
- Reduce TV watching. It’s stimulating but doesn’t increase overall satisfaction with life – at work or home.
- Cut back on surfing the web for non-professional reasons. It’s negatively correlated with the experience of both happiness and meaning. Limit your exposure to the post- election Internet drama, as the second-hand stress being transferred to you is only going to increase your frustration.
- Spend time exercising and with people you love – respondents who did both had more satisfaction with life at work and at home.
- Challenge yourself. Feeling challenged is linked to greater satisfaction.
This research suggests that our experience of happiness has more to do with who we are than where we are. Rather than blaming our jobs for our negative work / life experience, it might be more productive to focus on our own self-awareness and mindset, two areas that are key to my Benatti Resiliency Model. I think we have to be proactive and ask ourselves, “What can I do to increase my experience of satisfaction and meaning at work?”
What are your strategies to spend time on activities that produce both meaning and happiness? Share them with us!