There's a restlessness in employees across businesses and throughout the world. That restlessness is the result the employees' desire for a more positive work experience. It's also the yearning for meaningful, purposeful work. This malaise is reflected in global disengagement levels, dissatisfaction with corporate greed, and disappointingly low percentages of employees who have a purpose orientation.

The restless are getting cranky, and it's time to do something about it. It doesn't need to be a massive global effort, although that would be cool. Rather than wait for a rallying cry from the world's top business leaders, one that signals it's time to humanize the workplace, lead a rebellion in your own team.

Rebels at Work Fight for Happiness

The type of rebellion I'm talking about isn't a violent one. There are no pitch forks, no guns, and no opposition to conquer. Instead, I'm talking about a rebellion at work that focuses on helping employees find fulfillment. On the surface this sounds soft and inapplicable to business, but don't be fooled.

If you look below the surface, you'll find that leaders who help employees achieve fulfillment in their lives will discover something unexpected, a solution to the ailments that plague their business. Rebels at work are those who fight for the overall life satisfaction of employees. Their work is guided by the belief that great results come from fulfilled, satisfied, and dare I say it, deeply happy people. It is work that seeks, not the sort of happiness that comes from celebrating a momentous time, but a happiness that comes from within.

Martin Seligman concludes that there are three dimensions to happiness: The Pleasant Life, the Good Life, and the Meaningful Life. Together the three provide a holistic understanding of happiness that is individualistic and is derived from an emphasis on purpose.

Rebels are managers, clerks, CEOs, VPs, administrative assistants (who run the show anyways), Directors, analysts, or anyone who is no longer willing to settle for the mediocrity that has numbed our hearts and minds. Rebels at work fight for the three dimensions of happiness. Why? Because we want to feel again. We want the extraordinary to be part of our work product, our results. We want relationships that resonate. We want to belong to a community that means something to us. Then, when we go home at night, we want to leave work behind and take charge of our personal lives.

Finding Fulfillment

William Schiemann, CEO of Metrus Group, defines fulfillment, in his book Fulfilled! Critical Choices: Work, Home and Life, as "achieving one's dreams and creating a lifestyle that brings exceptional happiness and inner peace." The lifestyle Schiemann advocates is one that positively shapes your personal and professional worlds. It's a whole-life philosophy because fulfillment is necessary in both parts of your life.

The restless (or the rebels, whichever you prefer) can tap into the satisfying effects of fulfillment. It is an antidote to numbing mediocrity. Schiemann explains that there are three drivers of fulfillment: alignment, capabilities, and engagement.

Alignment is knowing your values and finding them congruent with your work world as well as your personal one. Capabilities help you grow the competencies, information, and resources available to you. Engagement is the elusive outcome, a holy grail, for organizations. It's when employees are committed to the cause and willing to do what it takes to advance it.

Get Some Fulfillment on You

To blow through the dissatisfying numbness choking most organizations, fulfilled people seek to spread their positivity. It's a sort of contagion, but for the good of all.

Schiemann recommends these tips to welcome the contagion into your world:

  • Develop a plan to know where you want to be in life. Go out five to ten years.
  • Stop chasing money. It puts people into a rut. Instead, chase purpose and meaning.
  • Take reasonable risks. Those who avoid risk often feel trapped and second guess life.
  • Build your network of friends and colleagues. "A vibrant network helps you find solutions to issues," says the Metrus Group CEO.

The CEO astutely observes that you control 60 percent of your life fulfillment. Does the way you spend your time reflect where you want to be as a person?

Rebels for Life

Business rebels aren't waging a war solely against outdated workplace beliefs. They are rebels waging a war for a more fulfilling life, one that integrates our personal and professional worlds.

When you create a deeply meaningful life for yourself and for those you lead, this is where you diverge from business as usual. You then begin to channel the any restlessness towards curiosity and away from ambivalence. You become a rebel everyone else wants to fight alongside.

Published on: Nov 30, 2016
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.