On July 4th, 1776 the thirteen American colonies declared independence from Great Britain. In that time, this was a radical idea. Most didn't believe that being separate from Britain was a realistic goal. When it happened, it was groundbreaking and began the birth of a nation that was created on the idea that anything is possible. We became self governing, with the Declaration of Independence articulating our founding values and beliefs on how we should operate.
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."
As a nation this is what we declared was most important. Ironically, we have somehow moved away from these principles when it comes to work. As radical as the idea that we couldn't emancipate from another country is the idea that we can all enjoy work and be fulfilled by it. Our founding Fathers were explicit that this was our right--do you agree?
Are you operating true to our country's principles when you think about your career? Here are 4 questions that you should ask yourself today as an American:
1. Life: Are you sacrificing your life for work, or are you integrating your life with work?
This question harkens back to our old definition of work: work is hard, work is sacrifice, and you should sacrifice your life for work. As a nation we are over-worked, burned out and sacrificing relationships and our health for the sake of work.
The new definition of work? Work should improve your life. It should energize you, give you purpose and improve your health. If your career is not doing this, you may want to re-think your life.
2. Liberty: Are you independent and in control of your day-to-day experience of work?
Liberty is defined as freedom from control, interference, obligation, and restriction. It is the power or right of doing, thinking and speaking according to choice. If you don't have this at work or in your career, you are not experiencing the type of freedom that our country envisioned. When it comes to our work lives, we are quick to sacrifice our liberty for a pay-check. If you don't take a stand for your independence and liberty at work, who will?
3. Pursuit of Happiness: Are you in the Zone on a regular basis at work? Do you have moments of bliss, bursts of energy and are happy when you think about your career?
Pursuit of happiness is an unalienable right, yet most people aren't happy at work. In fact 70% are disengaged with the work that they are doing. If the pursuit of happiness is a principle of our country, why don't we stand up for this more? Why is it that not being happy at work has become a cultural norm that is validated by phrases such as "TGIF"? Why is retirement seen as the golden hope? Think about it: if you aren't happy at work then you have given up on possibility and the American dream.
4. Why? Are you aligned with the principles of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness at work? Why or why not? What is the real reason?
If you are perfectly aligned with these values, how can you build on this to make even more of the impossible possible? Our culture is changing rapidly, and you are one of the key players in making it better. Please do more of what your doing.
If you are not aligned with these values, why are you denying yourself a right that was fought for and gifted to you as an American citizen? Maybe you don't believe you can create change, or maybe you are struggling. Either way, take some time to think about why you may not be getting the most out of your career. We live in a country that wants you to be the best you can be. Why would you not be the American you were born to be?