Whether you’re working on a passion project or something that feels more obligatory, it can feel difficult to bring our best selves to work each and every day.
Sometimes we view it as a tradeoff, where either work life gets all our energy or home life. We might often feel that we don’t have the energy to do our best at both.
Many people swear by positive thinking to get themselves through the day. Others take a more balanced approach, acknowledging that for all the good things that will happen in your work life, including growth and development, positive feedback, and feelings of meaning and purpose, negative things can happen as well, causing strained relationships, rejection, and feelings of being overwhelmed. When we have highs and lows at work, we frequently have highs and lows at home as well.
This is because our work life often mirrors our personal development, and since work is such a big part of our time and personal commitment, the things that we seek in our lives, we’ll often seek in the workplace. This could lead us to look for our jobs to offer us strong relationships, good and healthy environments, a sense of accomplishment, as well as purpose and meaning.
What Does it Mean to Flourish?
Flourish is a positive psychological approach that asks us to evaluate what’s good in our lives, as well as what we’re good at, and strengthen those things.
The PERMA Flourish model refers to a breakdown of well-being explained by Martin Seligman in his book Flourish: a Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-being. Flourish offers an approach to personal psychology and self-care that allows us to work toward personal development through a few different paths, depending on what we want to emphasize in our life.
So, let’s look at the PERMA model and how it can help you to accomplish your personal and work goals.
Positive Emotions are sometimes correlated with happiness. Others sometimes find it better to think of positive emotions as contentment, or even the sense that they’re moving in the right direction for their own growth.
However, for many entrepreneurs, Positive Emotions aren’t a primary end goal. Instead, it can be helpful to think of positive emotions as your gauge or your tracker. Those who exhibit a lot of positive emotions are perhaps better on track toward accomplishing their goals. They might indicate happiness with one’s direction, accomplishments, the work itself, or the relationships it brings.
In other words, positive emotions serve as a barometer to let us know how we feel about our work situations.
- Keep a brief daily journal to track your emotions on a scale. If something notable happens that affects your emotions, briefly write it down. This will help you to track what you do and don’t want from a workplace.
Engagement is extremely important when it comes to work, as it offers a measure of how captivated you are by your work, as well as how likely you are to keep going.
Engagement also measures how often you go into a state of flow. Flow refers to those times when you become completely absorbed in what you’re doing, so that you don’t notice time pass. Flow is the time to get some of your best work done when your focus is at its deepest. Some people experience losing a sense of their own self and personal needs in a state of flow, allowing the work itself to take on an almost meditative atmosphere in the workplace.
Addressing your personal engagement will increase your productivity. On the minor end of disengagement, you might find yourself becoming distracted in certain situations, and on the more major end of disengagement, you might realize that you’re in the wrong line of work or that you’re performing tasks that aren’t in your ideal repertory.
- If you find yourself feeling distracted or unable to concentrate, think about what’s happening that’s hurting your focus. Are you concerned about something? Can you overhear distracting noise, or do you find that you have habits that allow you to distract yourself?
- Do you find that you’re generally uninterested in your work? It’s important to focus on the positive here. What parts of your job interest you, inspire you, or keep you engaged? Is it possible to focus on these aspects more in the future?
Relationships are an important part of job and life satisfaction. This can translate to how often you feel supported, whether you feel you have access to that support, and whether you’re receiving the kind of support that’s useful to you.
Psychologists have also found that our satisfaction with relationships relies heavily on our ability to support others. We are often validated by our ability to support others, and how often others call on us for advice and help. This means that positively affecting the growth of others also positively affects our growth.
- Think about what kind of support you receive from your work. Are you utilizing support structures that your work has in place? Are there support structures you can participate in outside of work?
- Do you feel that you are supporting your peers? Do you wish to be more involved?
Meaningful lives are often rooted in the pursuit of a bigger goal or purpose. People who feel that their lives have meaning feel that there’s a point to the things they do. This also applies to our work. If we feel that our work is part of a bigger purpose, or that it has a point in its community, then we are more likely to work our best.
This doesn’t mean that your work should be your only sense of meaning or purpose. Sometimes the whole purpose of our work is something outside of the work itself. This is prevalent in side-hustle and day-job culture, where you have a job that you do to make money for your real passion, which in turn gives you feelings of meaning or purpose.
Many entrepreneurs find purpose simply in the act of being entrepreneurs. They enjoy growing a new business and understand the market that they grow their business in as something bigger that themselves.
- Consider what you do in your family life that gives you meaning. Is there a job that you could be doing or a goal that you could be pursuing that would allow you to feel that your actions have more purpose?
- Find ways that connect with the larger aspects of the things you care about. This doesn’t have to be at work. Sometimes you might connect with friends and family, or a community based around an activity you enjoy.
Accomplishments are the only part of the PERMA model that we are compelled to pursue for its own sake. You might have noticed that the other parts of the PERMA model necessarily interconnect, for example you might find that you nurture relationships while pursuing meaning. Accomplishments, on the other hand, are enjoyable purely for the sake of accomplishment.
This is the thought behind making a game of habit reforms and goal-setting. It’s sometimes easy, however, to undercut accomplishments, even when we achieve them, by not acknowledging them or belittling our successes.
- Modesty can be healthy, but don’t let it keep you from acknowledging your accomplishments.
- Set benchmarks and goals for big projects. The feeling of accomplishment that you get as you move through the goals will help you keep your momentum throughout the longer process.
Ultimately, what you see as your well-being is up to you. The Flourish model is there to offer you a framework for understanding and to increase your strengths at work.