Don’t get me wrong; satisfaction is great. It’s comfortable. It’s rewarding. It’s bliss, really. Satisfaction is the ultimate goal in many cases. If I’m satisfied with my meal at a restaurant, I’ll become a loyal customer and go there all the time. If I have the best doctor in the world, I’ve hit satisfaction and there’s no reason to keep looking for a new doctor.
But, what about work, if that’s what we want to call it? I don’t just mean the job we do everyday. I’m talking about our work environment, our leadership and the culture at our organizations. I challenge the notion of simply getting to satisfaction in this realm. In this case, I believe that satisfaction is way overrated.
In the past six years, I’ve changed jobs six times and departments twice. I reached satisfaction in all of my previous five roles, achieving a state of total comfort. There wasn’t much left for me to learn and almost nothing that was challenging me in my career. So, I moved on. It would have been easy for me to stay in the same role and department forever. I might have been perfectly happy (highly doubtful but maybe…) but I knew that the only way to grow was to take a risk and make that next move into the scary unknown.
I wouldn’t be where I am today if I settled for satisfaction. There are plenty of reasons to be satisfied but not if someone is trying to grow their career. I hear people complain about their jobs and their situations all day, every day. Yet, I never see most of them do anything about it because even though they have complaints, they’re comfortable and satisfied to an extent. It can be terrifying to push ourselves out of our comfort zones but it is necessary in order to grow ourselves.
Some may have noticed that I didn’t say I changed organizations in the past six years. That is not necessary in order to step out of my comfort zone. I’ve been extremely fortunate that I’ve had the opportunities to challenge myself and push myself out of my comfort zone within my current organization. I’m still not satisfied or comfortable and that’s the best feeling in the world. It means I’m being challenged both personally and professionally.
To really find our passion and really make an impact in the world, we have to keep striving for better. It’s not just about a job role change. It’s about everything we do – every project we’re on, every committee we participate in and every change we’re trying to make in our organizations or maybe, in the world.
Don’t settle for satisfaction. It could possibly mean settling for less.
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