“Why are you so happy all the time?” This question comes up a lot while I’m at work, from people that have just met me, to people that have known me for months and say they’ve “never seen me mad.” I embrace it because it’s true. I am genuinely happy to be at work and to work with the team I do.
It wasn’t always this way though. I used to stress out so much about work, and it all peaked when I got an ulcer at 24. Doctors had told me stress was one of the possible causes of the ulcer, and it was confirmed once I moved on from that role and was able to recover. I realized then that this was not how I wanted to live my life. I started really soul searching, finding outlets, and thinking about what mattered to me. To keep perspective in my work-life, I came up with a few “work mantras” that I think of at the beginning of the week, and when I just need a reminder to keep going when things get hard.
You can’t control what comes up, but you can control your reaction.
Laura Fenamore wrote this in a Tiny Buddha article and after reading it, the phrase really stuck with me. Sometimes I’m given a project I did not expect or something comes up that is really unexpected. In moments like those, I always think- when I look back on this moment, what would I have wanted my reaction to be? If the work is coming to me anyway, I would rather look at it as an opportunity to learn than be negative about it and miss out on some of the good that could come of it. There’s always a good list of positives with every project whether it’s a time to learn or build relationships, I choose to look at the positive.
You are here for a reason.
I came up with this work mantra after making the decision to take my current job. I felt intimidated when I initially started, and thought of this whenever I felt as though I was not learning fast enough. It helped me to remember I was brought on for a reason, for my experience and training that I had that brought me to this point. It also helped me to keep in mind why I am there in the present moment. For me it was for new growth opportunities, new learning experiences and the opportunity to serve and help others. Sometimes I like to reflect on it and think about what my job is bringing me closer to, and what has come up for me because of it. It helps especially when times are hard to think through the reasons I choose to be there.
Be the light.
It sounds really cliché, but when times are busy or hard at work, I try to think of things that I can do to make the feeling around the office a little lighter. Whether it’s bringing in some chips and guacamole for a snack or just checking in with people to see how they are doing. When things get busy or hard, I’d rather leave work knowing I did my part to help others feel a little lighter and better about their day.
I am definitely far from perfect at all of these, and they are all ideals I try to work within, but when I do think of them and can keep the right perspective, they bring me peace. I have lived both sides, being constantly stressed about work, and relatively calm about work and these work mantras have made the difference for me. They have helped me to stay positive and think about my reasons for why I do what I do, which makes my day to day a little bit lighter.