True success has more to do with how ‘happy you are when you are alive’ than ‘how much money you left behind’
Kevin works at a reputable organisation and earns a handsome living, his bosses love him, and are always citing him as a model employee to the newcomers. Some would call him successful. But does Kevin think so?
An idea so abstract that pinning down a particular definition of success is near impossible. To each their own. It is, however, the most sought-after aspiration for everyone, no doubt. Be it an employee or an entrepreneur, who doesn’t want the taste of success?
But with the work-life balance coming under the scanner during the recent and ongoing pandemic, the individual ideas of measuring success have also been honed under pressure. Fat paychecks, high-performing bonuses, or the lure of plush cabins are no longer the perks the talent pool is solely interested in. While fair compensation is non-debatable, today’s workforce is seeking much more in terms of job satisfaction, meaningful contribution to work and society, and personal life gratification. The question now begs – what must the corporate world, driven primarily by revenues, must do to balance it out with the new age ideas of success?
Mind over Matter
To be successful at work, employees maximise their efforts in a constant endeavour to get the best performance reviews, ensuring they are not left behind in the rat race. As individuals, we have always learned that the more money you have, the more successful you are considered, and hence we spend our lives chasing salary hikes, incentives, or promotions.
If the power of money was so encompassing, why is the wave of ‘The Great Resignation’ engulfing the corporate reality today? Even with higher salaries than usual, greater opportunity across domains, and the promise of financial perks, employers are still finding it a task to retain talent. The workforce that has tasted the possibilities of working from home or anywhere is actively exploring avenues beyond monetary rewards to prioritise their comfort, mental health, and happiness. As hustle culture takes a backseat, both corporate and employees need to deliberate on the new meaning of success in today’s world.
To appeal to such a talent pool will require measures beyond the traditional ones. To start, organisations must start including employee satisfaction as a key metric success metric, instead of defining achievements through traditional winning metrics, such as revenues, profits, process efficiency, or shareholder value. Instating mindful leadership that is aware of its impact on its employees and the larger society, can in turn propagate improved interpersonal relationships at work, elevate performance, job satisfaction and motivation, significantly reduce stress, and facilitate better leadership development and employee engagement. If organisations prioritise employee well-being and listen to their needs, they will reap the rewards through increased productivity, directly contributing to the monetary growth of organisations as well.
On a personal level, in the pursuit of success, most people end up compromising on desires and principles that make them happy. True success has more to do with how ‘happy you are when you are alive’ than ‘how much money you left behind’. A change in mindset along with some simple practices can go a long way in ensuring happiness and success at the workplace.
Imagine if all stakeholders at your workplace always spoke their minds? People always get more motivated when provided with the freedom to be true to themselves and align what they do with what they think. With all their focus on trying to create a better version of themselves, there is no need for unnecessary and even unhealthy competition with anyone, the drive to improve their performance comes from within.
A positive atmosphere can induce positive thoughts and actions, hence people should work to be more tolerant, patient, supportive, and helpful in the workplace, thereby stimulating personal growth. Employees should also take out the time for hobbies, an important dynamic of the work-life balance, that should be promoted by all employers. On a professional front, they should keep aiming for constant evolution through active learning to avoid stagnancy in work. Both organisations and employees should also strive to incorporate contributions to society in their everyday culture, as an important component of mindfulness and sustainability.
Ultimately being physically, mentally, socially, and spiritually fit is what provides true happiness, and in turn, success, in today’s fast-paced disease-ridden world. Maybe if we work towards incorporating a healthy & nurturing work environment, people like Kevin would surely consider themselves to be successful.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.
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